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The Observer

Rumours of an exit strategy

Our regular online round-up of the world press week

Bulent Yusuf
Sunday January 19, 2003

If there's one thing about being a despotic dictator, it's that you're never
far from the international headlines. Saddam Hussein, for one, delivered a
belligerent speech to mark the anniversary of the 1991 Gulf war which, The
Guardian reflected, offered "not the slightest hint he would back down in
the face of intensifying US and British military pressure". This came just
one day after the discovery of undeclared rocket warheads by Hans Blix's
team of UN weapons inspectors, which made for a double disappointment to
those in the region hoping that whispers of Saudi plans for an Iraqi coup
could yet convince Saddam to go into exile.
Speculation has also been rife about the fate of President Mugabe.
Newspapers in both Zimbabwe and South Africa buzzed last week with
excitement at the prospect of a bloodless exit after rumours of a
power-sharing deal between the ruling Zanu-PF and the Movement for
Democratic Change being struck, in exchange for granting the 79-year old
tyrant immunity from prosecution.

An editorial in Harare's Daily News argued that there were politicians in
Mugabe's own party, who "along with ordinary citizens reeling from the food
shortages created largely by Mugabe's politics, are secretly convinced he
ought to step down". The paper argued that "If Mugabe's record had been one
of having dragged the country out of poverty, given the people three full
meals a day, brought them a health delivery system which could mitigate the
ravages of HIV/Aids and stabilised the life expectancy, people would not
need to debate his future."

But predictably enough, the Government mouth organ The Daily Herald was
quick to deny that anybody in Zimbabwe beyond a few "dirty malcontents"
could have any interest in this "hoax". Dr David Nyekorach-Matsanga -
reporting from London on what he calls his "voluntary job of defending
Zimbabwe abroad" - launched into an extraordinary attack on the British
media for fabricating the story: "What a travesty of journalism! And what
has become of this world of the Queen? Is the end of the world nearing?
Where will it end? Are there any more intelligent journalists left in
Britain?"

Well, we like to think so. But I digress, and so does Mr.
Nyekorach-Matsanga: "The most worrying factor is that most of these
so-called undercover journalists are gays who hate President Mugabe. It has
also been revealed that most of the opposition members are being
sexually-abused by these high flying undercover journalists who are paying
up to 500 per night for sexual therapy that they can't have in Britain."

Back on planet Earth, newspapers in South Africa were offering more sensible
commentary. According to The Star, the fact that an exit strategy is even
being discussed is a hint that Mugabe is losing key allies: "Without the
support of the army, Mugabe is helpless. In fact, his prolonged stay may in
part be blamed on the army that has so far given him its unqualified
support. The proposal - also we are told endorsed by the defence force chief
General Vitalis Zvinavashe - is the clearest message to Mugabe that his time
is up."

But any such deal would also raise difficult moral dilemmas for Zimbabwe's
opposition, argued The Natal Witness: "the MDC might well have to suspend
moral values and the principle of retributive justice, much as amnesty had
to be granted to violators of human rights (on both sides of the political
divide) in South Africa in order to bring about the transition from
apartheid to a democratic order."

Elsewhere in the world, The Montreal Gazette wondered if allowing Mugabe to
go into exile would prove easier said than done. "It might be difficult to
make the deal stick. When it starts operating, the International Criminal
Court would deal with louts like Mugabe, and he'd certainly make a tempting
target if he ever left the safety of Harare." Repugnant as it sounds, the
urge to prosecute him must be resisted, so as not to "discourage any other
wavering tyrants from making similar offers."

Saddam, are you listening? It might not be too late to take that holiday.

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Independent (UK)

Cricketers may play to empty stadiums in Zimbabwe
By Basildon Peta Southern Africa Correspondent
19 January 2003


English and Australian cricketers may have to play their World Cup matches
against Zimbabwe in near-empty stadiums next month, as police block
protesters who have threatened to disrupt the games.

Zimbabwe's police authorities fear "troublemakers masquerading as cricket
fans" will attempt to gain admission to the grounds in Harare and Bulawayo,
but sources said they would be kept away. Teargas and riot gear have been
imported to quell disturbances in the six World Cup matches scheduled in
Zimbabwe from 10 February, and the army will also be on standby to help deal
with unrest.

Tickets for cricket matches featuring England and India were reported last
week to have sold out within hours of their release. Some police officials
suspect that many of the tickets were bought by protesters intending to
cause disruption inside the stadiums.

A coalition of groups opposed to President Robert Mugabe, the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA), has vowed to hold protests around the
matches. NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku hinted that demonstrators might seek
to occupy the grounds before the matches.

"You can't stage international events in Zimbabwe, because Robert Mugabe's
government is not part of the civilised world," said Mr Madhuku, an activist
who has been jailed several times. Those who wanted to lend legitimacy to
the regime by playing cricket in Zimbabwe "could be in for big surprises",
he added.

And Welshman Ncube, secretary general of the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, said: "It's a shame that there are people who believe
Zimbabwe is a safe country in which to play World Cup cricket while
ordinary, peace-loving Zimbabweans are subjected to daily terror and
starvation by a regime which must surely rank as the worst ever to run an
African country."

Adding heat to the issue is Mr Mugabe's surprising passion for cricket,
which mystifies his former comrades in the liberation struggle. Although the
sport is played mainly by the white community, which he despises, he
regularly attends matches.

His critics, including British and Australian leaders, have called for a
boycott of the matches. In reply, he accused them of mixing sport with
politics and dismissed the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, as a
"product of genetically modified criminals".
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Mugabe steps up terror ahead of World Cup

Andrew Meldrum in Harare
Sunday January 19, 2003
The Observer

State torture and unwarranted arrests have increased dramatically in
Zimbabwe in the past week, highlighting a drastic decline in the country's
security that should force the International Cricket Council to re-think the
six World Cup matches planned for next month, opposition leaders claimed
last night.
Prominent Zimbabwean journalists who have attacked the ICC for not getting
firm guarantees from President Robert Mugabe's government that international
reporters will be able to freely cover the cricket tournament, now believe
many may be denied entry into the country at all.

As food riots pointed up the increasingly volatile situation, the government
stepped up violent repression in an effort to hamper the organisation of
major anti-Mugabe demonstrations it believes are being planned to coincide
with the World Cup matches.

In the past week police arrested and tortured two opposition members of
parliament, held the mayor of Harare in jail for 48 hours before releasing
him without charges and detained and beat more than a dozen others.

Opposition member of parliament Job Sikhala wept in court last Friday as he
described electric shock torture on his genitals and prolonged beatings
inflicted by police. Opposition MP Paul Madzore was also beaten in police
custody last week.

Opposition leaders now say the impending cricket matches are actually
causing the Mugabe government to step up the violence.

'The World Cup authorities must know that they bear the responsibility for
the current terrorisation of Zimbabweans by the Mugabe regime in a last
ditch effort to silence its critics,' said Welshman Ncube, secretary-general
of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Paul Themba Nyathi, MDC spokesman, told The Observer, 'the Mugabe regime is
increasing its violence to try to stamp out any opposition before the
cricket matches. This does not bode well for the World Cup. It underlines th
e increasing security risks to both players and supporters. The ICC cannot
afford to ignore such ominous developments.'

Iden Wetherell, editor of the Zimbabwe Independent, said: 'It is shocking
that the ICC is proceeding as if nothing is amiss. They have no assurances
that journalists will be able to report freely on what they see in Zimbabwe.
It is against the interests of a free press and the fair play cricket is
supposed to stand for.'

The deterioration of Zimbabwe's security comes as famine grips the country,
threatening an estimated two-thirds of the country's 12 million people.

In response, top members of Mugabe's own party, Zanu-PF, have suggested
Mugabe step down to allow a coalition government to rescue the country's
rapidly declining economy, restore the rule of law and prepare the way for
free and fair elections.
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New York Times

Reports of Zimbabwe Coup Plot Are Denied
By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE




 HARARE, Zimbabwe, Jan. 18 (Agence France-Presse) - A top official in
Zimbabwe's governing party who was reported this week to be behind a plan to
oust President Robert Mugabe says no such plan exists, a newspaper reported
today.
"There is no vacancy for a president in this country," Emmerson Mnangagwa,
the speaker of Parliament, told the newspaper of the governing Zimbabwe
African National Union-Patriotic Front.
Reports by local and international news organizations said that Mr.
Mnangagwa and the commander of the Zimbabwe defense forces, Gen. Vitalis
Zvinavashe, were behind plans to force Mr. Mugabe out of office.
Mr. Mnangagwa told The People's Voice that the British government and the
Movement for Democratic Change, an opposition group, were trying to divide
the governing party, adding that he and General Zvinavashe were the targets
of hostile news organizations.
The news media has "always attacked me because I am a strong and dedicated
cadre" of the party, said Mr. Mnangagwa. General Zvinavashe has also denied
being behind any plot to oust Mr. Mugabe.
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Mugabe nephews seize settlers' farms
By Philip Sherwell
LONDON SUNDAY TELEGRAPH


     HARARE, Zimbabwe - Two nephews of Robert Mugabe have seized former
white-owned farms from so-called war veterans in the latest rift between the
Zimbabwean president's regime and his militant shock troops.
     Robert and Patrick Zhuwau have evicted the settlers from several
properties in the Mugabe family home district of Zvimba, about 50 miles west
of the capital, Harare, war veterans said yesterday.
     The properties previously had been appropriated from their white owners
three years ago when Mr. Mugabe unleashed pro-government mobs, including war
veterans, at the start of his land-grab policy.
     The Zhuwau brothers, who did not respond to reporters' calls, are the
sons of Sabina Mugabe, the president's fiery older sister and a member of
Parliament from his ruling ZANU-PF party. The Sunday Telegraph reported last
year that as part of her campaign against white farmers, she had threatened
to seize property from Terry Ford, a landowner killed by settlers last
March.
     Other relatives of the president are also reported to have displaced
settlers from farms in the district.
     The seizures have infuriated the war veterans, who complained that the
nephews and other family members had taken no part in the "fight for land."
They had only come "to reap where others have sown," said Juliet Govha, the
war veterans' leader in the area.
     "That is very unfair, and we do not think President Mugabe is aware of
what they are doing."
     Relations between the settlers and the government have deteriorated
dramatically as the economy has collapsed. War veterans have led major food
riots in Bulawayo and Harare this month.
     In rural areas, there have been earlier cases of settlers claiming that
they had been displaced from farms by senior figures in the military and the
Mugabe regime.
     "It's like thieves falling out," said a displaced white farmer who did
not want to be identified, referring to the split between Mr. Mugabe and
some of his most militant supporters.
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The photographs taken at Avenues Clinic, acquired from ZWNEWS

From Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA), 16 January

A travesty of justice - victims of assault jailed and charged

CHRA's Chief Executive Office Farai Barnabas Mangodza (31),
Information Officer Jameson Gadzirayi (23), Executive Committee Member
Joseph Rose (38) and Kuwadzana resident, Richard Mudekwe (22) were
arrested by police on Tuesday night in Kuwadzana. The four CHRA
workers went to Kuwadzana as a follow-up trip to a meeting on Tuesday
morning with ZESN (Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network) where we
discussed strategies for the forthcoming Kuwadzana by-election. They
did not hold any meeting. After driving around they stopped at
Kuwadzana 5 centre where they were surrounded by youth militiamen and
abducted to a building nearby which belongs to council but has been
commandeered by the militia. They were then beaten for approximately
two hours with a variety of instruments including batons, sjamboks and
bricks on their backs, buttocks, thighs and feet. Eventually they were
'rescued' by police only to be detained for the night. When they were
taken to Law and Order at Central, the officer at L&O said that there
were no charges that could be laid against the four and they were
taken back to Kuwadzana. They were eventually charged under the
Miscellaneous Offences Act with 'behaviour likely to cause a breach of
the peace' and released after signing admissions of guilt and paying
$5 000 each. We decided that they needed to get medical attention; it
was better to sign the admissions and get them out of police custody
than let them spend another night in the barbaric and inhuman
conditions in the cell (where the previous night some 30-odd prisoners
shared a cell about 10 sq metres with no room to sit let alone lie
down!). We subsequently took them to Avenues Clinic to be examined by
a doctor and to take photos of their injuries. Fortunately the four
did not suffer any major injuries and they are now resting at home.

It is absolutely iniquitous that the police did not attempt to arrest
the perpetrators of this violence, which can only confirm our
suspicions that the beatings were carried out with the acquiescence of
the police and the state. In addition to the personal injuries, over
$10 000 was stolen and shared amongst the thugs while we have yet to
recover two cell phones and shoes belonging to the four. The fact that
the police then proceeded to hold and attempt to charge the four
without any attempt to provide medical care or to notify the families
of the four is beyond the bounds of human behaviour. We shall be
meeting with our lawyers to consider our responses to this attack and
the police response. This is part of the ongoing attempt by the regime
to silence civic activists working for democracy in Harare and
Zimbabwe. We have also learnt that Mayor Mudzuri has been threatened
with re-arrest since his release on Monday.

Thank you to the many friends in Zimbabwe and elsewhere who have
phoned to express solidarity and sympathy for the four. We would
remind everyone that this is not an isolated occurrence and that such
events are a daily reality for many Zimbabweans who are at the mercy
of arbitrary violence perpetrated by para-military thugs paid for and
sanctioned by the Mugabe regime and ignored by a morally corrupt and
compliant police force that have betrayed the basic tenets of their
so-called charter.


Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
     e-mail:
chraadvo@ecoweb.co.zw, chra@ecoweb.co.zw
     Tel: 091-249430
     Visit the CHRA fact sheet at:
    
http://www.kubatana.net/html/sectors/com002.asp

    

    
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S.Africa Accepts Zimbabwe Assurance After Moyo Slur

Reuters


      Jan. 19
      - By Jodie Ginsberg

      JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (Reuters) - South Africa said Sunday it had
accepted a reassurance from Zimbabwe that vitriolic remarks made by a
minister were not intended as a slur on South Africa's president or people.

      Diplomatic relations between South Africa and its northern neighbor
Zimbabwe took a knock this week after Zimbabwe Information Minister Jonathan
Moyo reportedly called South Africans "filthy" and "uncouth."

      Foreign affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa told Reuters that South
Africa had requested an explanation for the comments attributed to Moyo -- a
highly formal step that suggested the countries' previously cordial
relationship was under threat.

      The diplomatic hiccup emerged just months before South Africa meets
Australia and Nigeria to decide whether to readmit Zimbabwe to the
Commonwealth. It was suspended last year after allegations that its
presidential election had been rigged.

      "We have noted and accepted the reassurance in as far as it relates to
President Mbeki, the government and the people of South Africa," Mamoepa
said.

      Moyo's furious tirade, reported in Zimbabwe's state-owned Herald
newspaper, took place after South Africa's Sunday Times last week published
an expose after following the minister on what it called an extravagant
spending spree in South Africa.

      The report of his allegedly lavish lifestyle was published at a time
when millions of people in Zimbabwe face starvation as the country slips
deeper into political and economic crisis.

      The Herald said Moyo expressed the belief that the newspaper report
showed South Africa was not a worthy holiday destination.

      "I have always had a nagging feeling that for all their propensity to
liberal values and civilized norms, these people are dirty. In fact, they
are filthy and recklessly uncouth," it reported him as saying in an article
published Tuesday.

      ZIMBABWE SUPPORTS MBEKI

      Mamoepa said Zimbabwe responded to South Africa's demand for
information in a statement, forwarded to Reuters by South Africa's foreign
affairs department, that sought to distance the government from Moyo's
remarks.

      Zimbabwe's foreign ministry said it was concerned about inferences
that Moyo's remarks meant to cast aspersions on South African President
Thabo Mbeki.

      "Nothing could be further from the truth," the ministry said in the
statement. "His criticism and anger was not directed at the people of South
Africa nor indeed...President Mbeki. It was directed only at the Sunday
Times journalists concerned."

      The statement continued: "The ministry wishes to assure our brothers
and sisters in South Africa ... that ... the Zimbabwe government respects
and supports the role and efforts of President Mbeki to bring about the dawn
of a new Africa and is happy and confident that he has the attributes to
fulfil his role and achieve his dream."

      Zimbabwe has come under attack from several Western powers and local
opposition, who condemned Robert Mugabe's election as president in 2002 as
fraudulent, saying the polls were rigged.

      The European Union and United States have imposed targeted sanctions
on Mugabe and his associates that include bans on travel and spending.
Zimbabwe has also been suspended from the Commonwealth.

      But South Africa has so far chosen a softer approach -- lobbying,
along with Nigeria, against a full suspension, and asking the Commonwealth
to give Zimbabwe until March this year to comply with conditions for
readmission.

      South Africa said Sunday that Mbeki would meet British Prime Minister
Tony Blair next month to discuss issues including Africa, but Mbeki's
spokesman said the meeting was not being held to discuss Zimbabwe
specifically.

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Reuters

      19 Jan 2003 14:39 GMT

      Hussain says team split on Zimbabwe

      ADELAIDE, Australia (Reuters) - England's players are committed to
playing their World Cup match in Zimbabwe next month but are wrestling with
their consciences over conditions in the African country, according to
captain Nasser Hussain.
      "I sat in my hotel room last night watching CNN (cable television
news)...and what I saw was very difficult to take in," Hussain told
reporters in Adelaide on Sunday where Australia beat England by four wickets
in a triangular series one-day match.

      "It was very difficult to sit there in your room saying 'yeah, we
should go to Zimbabwe'.

      "What we saw out of Zimbabwe was very poor but that doesn't mean we
are suddenly saying we are not going or anything like that."

      The government had called on the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)
to withdraw from the February 13 fixture in Harare because of Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe's controversial policies.

      But the ECB decided on Tuesday the team would play as scheduled,
despite Zimbabwe's deepening economic crisis and food shortages.

      "I think all our consciences are split from day to day," Hussain
added.

      "We are asking ourselves whether we should go or not go and, from day
to day, we are probably changing our minds but that is irrelevant.

      GOING AHEAD

      "What is important is world cricket says it's going on, our board says
it's going on, we have signed our contracts."

      The Mail on Sunday, however, quoted an England player as saying the
team had serious doubts and wanted more information and guidance.

      "Until we're absolutely certain that it's the right thing to do from
all aspects, we reserve the right not to play (in Zimbabwe)," the player
said.

      ECB chairman David Morgan, speaking to the London programme Radio Five
Live from Adelaide, reiterated England's commitment to the Harare fixture,
adding that he not seen any signs of doubt among England's 15-man squad for
the World Cup.

      "I have had no indication at all and I have been in close contact with
the captain, the coach and many players," he said.

      Morgan added that England might not be allowed a replacement for any
player refusing to play in Harare.

      "The situation now is that all 15 World Cup selected players have
signed their player terms and, if any one decided that he didn't now want to
make it, there is no guarantee that we would now be allowed to replace that
cricketer," he said.

      "Replacements are allowed on the basis of health and fitness only, I
believe."

      TUESDAY MEETING

      Morgan, who will meet the England squad on Tuesday to discuss their
concerns, saw no reason not to fulfil any future commitments to tour
Zimbabwe.

      "I can't imagine we would want not to visit Zimbabwe when next
scheduled to do so," he said.

      He said the security situation was "under day-to-day review" but that
Zimbabwe cricket officials had reported "no real change" since an ICC
(International Cricket Council) fact-finding mission to the African country
late last year cleared it for the six matches it is scheduled to stage.

      Zimbabwe is hosting six of the 54 matches in the tournament being
staged mainly in South Africa from February 9 to March 23. Two games are
being played in Kenya.

      The other teams in England's group are Australia, whose government has
also expressed reservations about playing in Zimbabwe, Pakistan, India,
Namibia and the Netherlands. The Australians are due to meet Zimbabwe in
Bulawayo on February 24.

      Britain's Culture, Media and Sport Minister Tessa Jowell said she
regretted the ECB's decision to play in Harare but that the situation in
Zimbabwe had no bearing on the African country's scheduled cricket tour of
Britain later this year.

      "There is a very important distinction between honouring a government,
as I believe playing in Harare will do, and welcoming the Zimbabwean team to
play in Britain this summer," Jowell told Radio Five Live on Sunday.

      "They will be welcome and I hope they come, just as the Zimbabwean
team competed and were welcomed as competitors at the Commonwealth Games (in
Manchester in August 2002)."
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IOL

      Mugabe goes on a Singapore shopping blitz

            January 18 2003 at 06:39PM


      By Douglas Carew

      When it comes to lavish Christmas spending, Zimbabwean president
Robert Mugabe is king.

      Mugabe has outdone his big-spending spin doctor Jonathan Moyo by
flying to Singapore to indulge in a huge shopping spree of his own, while
back home millions of his countrymen face starvation, partly because of
Mugabe's failed policies.

      Information Minister Moyo's two week spending spree in Johannesburg
received extensive news coverage this week, but Mugabe went to even greater
lengths to stock up on expensive goods for himself and beat the shortages
caused by the Zimbabwean economy's state of near paralysis.

      Singapore is south-east Asia's premier shopping destination, with
thousands of shops selling the best the world's manufacturers have to offer,
and Mugabe stocked up with 15 trolley loads, including high-tech electronic
goods.

      Mugabe and his political cronies are banned from entering the European
Union and the US in terms of sanctions imposed against his human rights
violations.

      But he was spotted last week in business class on a flight from
Singapore to Johannesburg by Greg Mills, national director of the South
African Institute of International Affairs.

      Mills, who had been on a working visit to the East, was checking in at
Changi Airport in Singapore when he was amazed to see the 15 trolley-loads
of goods addressed to Mugabe's official residence in Harare.

      The boxes were sealed so Mills could not see what they contained.
However some had labels of high-tech electronic products.

      "Just before take-off, Mugabe, his wife and eight other members of
their entourage stepped on board and he sat directly behind me," Mills said.
"With what is going on in his country, the rest of the business class
passengers were stunned at his presence." Mills said aside from the shopping
spree, the 10 business-class seats would have cost at least $30 000 (about
R270 000).

      "One is scandalised by his taking a holiday in the East and indulging
in a shopping spree with so many people starving at home because of his
policies," Mills said.

      Moyo was unrepentant when details of his spending spree in
Johannesburg were reported.

      A newspaper reported that Moyo had filled his luxury Pajero, a
Mercedes Benz, a bakkie and a trailer with goods ranging from a big-screen
television and home theatre system to rolls of polony, canned food and
mealie meal.
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Economic Times, India

      Hussain could be jailed for not shaking hands with Mugabe: report

      PTI[ SUNDAY, JANUARY 19, 2003 02:11:21 PM ]
      LONDON: England skipper Nasser Hussain's decision not to shake hands
with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe during the team's opening World Cup
fixture in that country may land him in jail, a British daily reported on
Sunday.

      Two years ago Zimbabwe introduced a legislation making it a criminal
offence for anyone travelling in the country to show any sign of disrespect
for the president, The Sunday Times reported.

      The law has already been used to jail local people for breaches as
minor as failing to cheer Mugabe's motorcade, and critics of the regime say
Hussain could be prosecuted if he refuses to shake hands with the dictator.

      Hussain made it clear last month that he will refuse to shake hands
with Mugabe at the World Cup game scheduled to be played in Harare on
February 13.

      England and Wales Cricket board Chief Executive Tim Lamb had also
maintained that the team would not play any part in "ceremonial activities"
that might be used to bolster Mugabe's position.

      The ECB had decided last week that England will go ahead with the game
in Zimbabwe ignoring protests from different quarters

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The Australian

Failure to wangle Mugabe's exit big setback for Mbeki
From The Sunday Times
January 20, 2003
WHEN Robert Mugabe dismissed as "counter-revolutionary and foolhardy"
suggestions that he planned to step down, Zimbabwe's veteran President
appeared last week to have quashed speculation that he might leave office in
a deal with the opposition.

Fresh controversy is threatening to erupt, however, with the disclosure that
South African President Thabo Mbeki tried to engineer Mr Mugabe's departure.

The collapse of the deal - which included a guarantee of immunity for Mr
Mugabe, 78, from prosecution for human rights abuses - is a serious
embarrassment for Mr Mbeki.

South Africa's leader had seen Mr Mugabe's replacement by close associate
Emmerson Mnangagwa as a way to protect Zimbabwe from the wrath of the
international community.

Mr Mugabe's continued hold on power also puts Mr Mbeki in the uncomfortable
position of having to bow to demands from Commonwealth members for the
renewal in March of Zimbabwe's suspension from the organisation.

The seeds of compromise were sown last March when South African observers
were told to find the voting in Zimbabwe's presidential election free and
fair, despite the violence and rigging that marred it. Commonwealth
observers, by contrast, found the poll fraudulent.

This created an impossible situation for Mr Mbeki at a Commonwealth heads of
government meeting after the election, when the decision on what action to
recommend was delegated to a committee consisting of Mr Mbeki, Australian
Prime Minister John Howard and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.

To Mr Mbeki's dismay the Commonwealth observers' report made action against
Mr Mugabe inevitable. The only concession he won was that Zimbabwe's
suspension from the organisation was limited to a year.

Mr Mbeki returned to South Africa making furious comments about the "white
Commonwealth" and declaring that "if the decision-making process within the
Commonwealth is to be informed by this kind of thinking, it is not worth
maintaining the association".

His wrath was directed particularly at Mr Howard and British Prime Minister
Tony Blair.

Mr Mbeki's objective has since been to avoid the humiliation of having to
recommend that Zimbabwe's suspension be renewed. The deal to secure a change
of leadership was a way of trying to achieve that.

Mr Mbeki's African National Congress (ANC) sees itself as part of an
alliance of liberation movements that fought against white rule, and feels a
deep kinship with Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, so he is determined that
Zanu-PF must stay in power - even if Mr Mugabe has to go.

South Africa's diplomacy has accordingly moved from trying to persuade the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to accept Mr Mugabe's
legitimacy to promoting Mr Mnangagwa as heir apparent.

The MDC had serious reservations, not least because of Mr Mnangagwa's
appalling record on human rights: he was the secret police chief behind the
torture and death of thousands of Ndebele people in the Matebeleland
massacres of the 1980s. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai angrily resisted South
African and British pressure to impose a deal.

It is not certain how much Mr Mugabe knew of the plans. But Mr Mbeki
believed that once he was out of the way it would be possible to convince
the Commonwealth to lift Zimbabwe's suspension and give the new
administration a chance.

When news of the deal leaked last weekend Mr Mugabe felt obliged to deny it
and the proposal collapsed.

South Africa swiftly stepped back. The Foreign Affairs Ministry said "we
know nothing" in a statement dismissed by the MDC as "ridiculous".

The MDC believes Mr Mbeki has so compromised himself with his support of Mr
Mnangagwa that he can no longer play the role of honest broker in the
crisis. It is also deeply critical of the British embassy in Harare.

Mr Mbeki now faces the embarrassment of having to back the renewal of
Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth. Mugabe has made no effort to
move towards the Commonwealth position and has banned Mr Blair and
Commonwealth secretary-general Don McKinnon from Zimbabwe.

Mr Mbeki feels he has once again been put into this situation by Mr Blair
and Mr Howard. ANC youth leader Malusi Gigaba accused Britain and Australia
last week of "sickening hypocrisy" in their deal ings with Zimbabwe.

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Sydney Morning Herald

Mugabe's secret police to guard England team
January 20 2003

Secret agents from President Robert Mugabe's notorious Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) are to guard England's cricketers during next month's
World Cup in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe so fears opposition protests against his rule during the competition
that he has drafted in the CIO to handle his Government's security
arrangements for the six matches, including England's controversial fixture
in Harare on February 13.

In past matches, such as the England tour in late 2001, private security
firms have been hired by the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) with only limited
police back-up.

The CIO has overseen the torture and killing of opposition supporters and
was involved in the Matabeleland massacres of the mid-1980s.

"This is like putting Hitler's SS in charge of protecting the England
football team when it visited Nazi Germany," said Roy Bennett, a farmer and
MP for the opposition group, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).


"The CIO is a terror machine that takes its orders directly from Mugabe. It
is so sick that it's frightening that this agency is involved in security
for the World Cup. It makes a nonsense of the claim that sport and politics
is separate. The CIO has spearheaded the campaign of rape, torture and
killings."

As part of the tough new security arrangements, paramilitary police carrying
Kalashnikov automatic rifles were deployed last week at the Harare Sports
Ground where England is due to play.

The stadium is across the road from Mugabe's tightly-guarded residence,
another reason for him to fear that opponents will use the event to stage
embarrassing protests in front of the international media.

Although he is patron of the ZCU, it is not known if the Zimbabwean leader,
who retained power in rigged elections last year, will attend the Harare
match. Nasser Hussein and his team have been told by the England Cricket
Board not to shake his hand or attend any official government ceremonies
during their brief visit.

Mugabe personally intervened to draft in the CIO to head the Government's
security operation. Its agents will be responsible for protecting the
England players on their way to and from Harare airport, at the ground and
in their hotel during their stay in Zimbabwe.

England fans also face the danger of encountering the CIO if they voice any
criticism of Mugabe, because insulting the president has become an offence
punishable by a year in jail. Although a large contingent of visiting
supporters is not expected, the so-called Barmy Army is famous for its
verbal asides at host nations.

Large numbers of armed plainclothes CIO officers will be deployed at the
matches in Harare and Bulawayo, backed by heavy a police presence and
private security guards. Fortified concrete checkpoints will be placed on
main roads in an effort to stop opposition supporters reaching the venues.

The MDC and other anti-Mugabe groups, which opposed England's decision to go
ahead with the tournament, say that they will now use the World Cup matches
as an opportunity to stage peaceful protests against the regime. Zimbabwe's
security forces have brutally crushed opposition demonstrations in the past
and police chiefs made clear last week that they would be prepared to use
the same tactics again during the World Cup.

The Telegraph, London

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Washington Times - editorial

Snubbing South Africa

     Zimbabwe's situation has gone from dire to macabre. More than
two-thirds of Zimbabwe's population is on the verge of starvation, and many
Zimbabweans can't even cremate their dead, given a shortage of fuel. South
Africa, the power broker for the region, would like to stay on the
sidelines, gently nudging Zimbabwe's president-by-fraud, Robert Mugabe,
towards more reasonable policies. But circumstances have made South Africa a
chief protagonist in this unfolding tragedy in a number of ways. South
Africa may be forced to take a public stand on the Zimbabwean regime, given,
in part, the contempt Mr. Mugabe and his cabal have demonstrated toward the
people and government of South Africa.
     Back in August, Zimbabwe's Information minister, Jonathan Moyo,
absurdly declared there was "no crisis in Zimbabwe" during a summit meeting
with other officials from southern Africa. Mr. Moyo then attempted to divert
attention on Zimbabwe by highlighting South Africa's problems. "It is you
people who have Mandela [squatter] camps all over the place, not us. In
fact, the average black person in Zimbabwe is better off than the average
black person in South Africa."
     South Africa quietly shrugged off Mr. Moyo's delusional rant and has
refused to publicly criticize the Mugabe regime, even while the
international community has applied mounting pressure on the government to
call out Mr. Mugabe's abuses. But Zimbabwe's latest harangue won't be so
easily ignored by South Africa.
     South Africa's Sunday Times recently published a scoop that is making
waves across Africa. On Jan. 12, the Times said Mr. Moyo spent nearly two
weeks in Johannesburg around New Year's time with his family. During his
stay, Mr. Moyo bought (always accompanied by bodyguards) enough food and
other goods to fill not only his Mercedes and his Pajero SUV and one other
vehicle, but also a trailer. Perhaps this report explains why Mr. Moyo fails
to see a crisis in his native Zimbabwe. For ordinary Zimbabweans, the
combination of a severe food shortage and price controls have made food
extremely difficult to come by.
     The story, while highlighting the remarkable hypocrisy of Mr. Mugabe's
associates, could have ended there. But Mr. Moyo felt compelled to lash out
against South Africa and its government in reaction to the Times article. In
a statement carried in the state-owned Harare newspaper the Herald, Mr. Moyo
said, "I have always had a nagging feeling that for all their propensity for
liberal values and civilized norms, these people [South Africans] are dirty.
In fact, they are filthy and recklessly uncouth. Now the evidence is there
for any decent person to see.If these people, in the name of South Africa,
believe they can lead an African renaissance, then God help them because
they are joking. Their barbarism will never take root or find expression in
Africa." Mr. Moyo said his remarks have been twisted out of context.
     In a telephone interview, a South African diplomat expressed the
government's escalating frustration with the Mugabe regime, saying the
government was carefully weighing its response. But the government was tired
of taking abuse from Zimbabwe and is considering "turning our backs" on Mr.
Mugabe, he said. Meanwhile, a State Department official representing the
bureau of African affairs said the Bush administration could be poised to
expand its current sanctions on the Zimbabwean regime to include an asset
freeze on Mr. Mugabe & Co.
     Clearly, Zimbabwe is hitting bottom in every possible respect -
diplomatically, socially, economically. Many observers expect a wave of food
riots to rock Zimbabwe. It does appear Mr. Mugabe could be increasingly
isolated, even inside Africa. And that could be the beginning of a new
future for Zimbabwe. Other possible outcomes are too chilling to consider.
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VOA

Zimbabwe Info Minister Blasts Mugabe Critics
Peta Thornycroft
Harare
19 Jan 2003, 17:14 UTC



Zimbabwe's information minister says those people talking about President
Robert Mugabe's early retirement are guilty of treason and coup plotting.

The government-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper reports Minister Moyo is
accusing the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and some civil
servants of spreading lies about President Mugabe.

He said those who were talking about any proposed plan for the embattled
president's retirement were treading on dangerous waters. He said they were
talking treason and were plotting a coup through the media.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said last week he had discussions last
month with an intermediary who told him that some leaders in the ruling
party understood Mr. Mugabe should retire.

Mr. Mugabe strenuously denied any plan for his retirement.

Mr. Moyo said in the Sunday Mail that if there is anyone who has hatched a
plot to force the president to step down, they should face the full wrath of
the law.

Mr. Moyo said the debate on Mugabe's future is tantamount to plotting a coup
in the glare of the media.

South Africa sent a diplomatic protest to Zimbabwe over Mr. Moyo's remarks
last week that South Africans were recklessly uncouth and barbaric. He also
criticized South African President Thabo Mbeki.

According to a South African government spokesman, Zimbabwe's Foreign
Ministry responded to the diplomatic protest by saying Mr. Moyo's remarks
were made in his personal capacity, and did not reflect the Zimbabwe
government's position.

A diplomat, whose country is neutral toward Zimbabwe, said he and others
believe Mr. Mugabe would be forced to reprimand Mr. Moyo. He said offending
South Africa, which had been loyal to the government in the face of
international criticism, was serious.

A political observer, who asked not to be named, said that if Mr. Mugabe
does not act against his information minister, it would undermine Zimbabwe's
relations with South Africa. He said Zimbabwe needed South Africa's
mediation and support on regional and international platforms, as never
before.
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IOL

Zimbabwe readies for cricket crackdown

      January 18 2003 at 07:38PM


      By Basildon Peta


Zimbabwe police are reinforcing and stockpiling equipment to quell
disturbances in the six cricket World Cup matches scheduled to take place
there from February 10.

Police sources in Harare said they were buying more teargas and riot gear
from Asia to replenish dwindling stocks in readiness for any protests.

Police tactics in Zimbabwe may also see the English and Australian teams
playing their World Cup fixtures in near-empty stadiums on February 13 and
24 if police blockade the venues to thwart protesters who have threatened to
disrupt the matches.

The sources said the Zimbabwe army would be put on standby to help deal with
any unrest. Also, police would not hesitate to block people from getting to
the cricket grounds in Harare and Bulawayo if it meant stopping
"troublemakers masquerading as cricket fans".

Police in Zimbabwe usually thwart demonstrations by blocking protesters and
preventing assemblies.

Reports this week said tickets for cricket matches featuring England and
India had been sold out within hours of their release. Some police officials
suspect that likely protesters could also have rushed to buy tickets,
planning to cause problems inside the stadiums.

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a coalition of Zimbabwe civic
groups, has vowed to hold protests during, before and after the cricket
matches.

Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA chairperson, did not rule out the possibility that
angry demonstrators could be mobilised to camp at the venues before games
started.

He said those who wanted to lend legitimacy to Robert Mugabe's regime by
playing cricket in Zimbabwe could be in for big surprises.

"You can't stage international events in Zimbabwe because Mugabe's
government is not part of the civilised world."

Madhuku said it was unconscionable for English and Australian cricketers to
play while being guarded by Mugabe's security forces, who were responsible
for the deaths of scores of opposition supporters.

"Do they draw comfort from being protected by these brutal security forces?"

Augustine Chihuri, the police commissioner, this week accused the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of surreptitiously planning to disrupt
the cricket matches for political gain. The MDC denied the charges.

Zimbabwe police have since intensified a crackdown against the opposition,
arresting the mayor of Harare and reportedly torturing two MDC members of
parliament and scores of opposition supporters.

Job Sikhala, one of the MPs, was in tears this week when he told a
magistrate he had been severely tortured while in police custody. He said
his torturers had subsequently urinated on him and ordered him to wipe their
urine using his bare hands.

Welshman Ncube, the MDC secretary-general, blamed the crackdown on cricket
authorities who had resisted the pressure to move the matches from Zimbabwe.

"It's a shame there are people out there who believe Zimbabwe is a safe
country in which to play World Cup cricket, while ordinary and peace-loving
Zimbabweans are subjected to daily terror and starvation by a regime which
must surely rank as the worst ever to run an African country," he said.

Zimbabwe will co-host the World Cup with South Africa and Kenya from
February 8 to March 23, with six of the 54 matches being held in Zimbabwe. -
Independent Foreign Service
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BBC
 
Sunday, 19 January, 2003, 12:36 GMT
Mugabe 'will not embarrass England'
A section of an official England team photo
Some England players have doubts about Zimbabwe
Senior cricket officials believe Zimbabwe's leader Robert Mugabe will not seek to shake England captain Nasser Hussain's hand when the two countries play in Harare.

The 13 February fixture - which is part of cricket's World Cup - is controversially set to go ahead after approval by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

The news coincides with a public admission by Hussain that certain players now have moral concerns about playing in the troubled southern African nation.

The ECB had come under pressure to cancel the match by Tony Blair's British Government.

In an interview for BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek, ECB chairman David Morgan insisted on Sunday that Mugabe would want the match to proceed without resorting to political showmanship.

We reserve the right not to play the match... and suffer the consequences

Unnamed England player
(Quoted in Mail on Sunday)

Morgan said: "I don't think that as president of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, [Mugabe] would want to cause any embarrassment at all.

"He in particular wishes the matches to go ahead in as calm a way as possible."

The Mail on Sunday quoted an unnamed England player saying individuals still "reserved the right not to play the match."

The player added: "Of course there would be consequences but some might say there is no comparison between that and what many in Zimbabwe are going through."

Hussain later told Five Live that the players had not yet discussed whether they should or should not go, but admitted they were "split in their minds."

He said he had recently watched a documentary on Zimbabwe which had made him "ask himself a few questions."

David Morgan
Morgan began his ECB job on 1 January

Morgan, quizzed on the article, took a tough line.

He said: "The situation now is that all 15 World Cup selected players have signed their players' terms.

"If anyone decided they now didn't want to go there's no guarantee we would be able to make changes."

Technically, Hussain and any England player face possible jail sentences if they refuse to shake Mugabe's hand.

It is a criminal offence for anyone in the country to show any sign of disrespect for the president.

Errol Stewart, the South Africa 'A' wicketkeeper, has made himself unavailable for the team's three-match tour to Zimbabwe this month.

Stewart, 33, a lawyer, said: "My conscience will not allow me to live in a luxury hotel in a country where people are dying of starvation.

"As someone in the legal profession, I am very sensitive about the abuse of human rights and the fact that the Zimbabwean judiciary is put under so much duress. "

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From The Sunday Times (SA), 19 January

SA judge slates Harare court's decision as fundamentally flawed

By Carmel Rickard

A senior South African judge has launched a blistering attack on a
controversial decision by Zimbabwe's highest court, saying its three judges
failed to protect constitutional rights and that their decision was
fundamentally flawed. Judge Gerald Friedman, the now-retired former Judge
President of the Cape Town High Court, and Appeal Court judge in South
Africa, Lesotho and Botswana, was asked by the International Bar Association
to write a report on the Zimbabwe Supreme Court's decision related to a case
involving opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai has been trying
for almost a year to get a copy of the updated voters' roll as he needs it
for his legal challenge to the outcome of last year's presidential election.
In the report, released this week, Judge Friedman says he studied the appeal
record, as well as other court papers, and attended the hearings at which
the matter was argued. Once the three Supreme Court judges handed down their
decision he finalised his report and gave it to the International Bar
Association, which had asked him to serve as an independent observer.


His outline of the case makes it clear that Tsvangirai is in a Catch-22
situation. The computerised roll is held on disc in Harare. However,
officials refused to supply an electronic copy, saying they could give him
only a printed version - although they had given him an electronic version
of the previous roll. When he took the matter to court, the first judge said
that he was not entitled to an electronic copy. Tsvangirai's lawyers then
appealed to the Supreme Court, but in the meantime asked to buy a printed
copy. However, the registrar-general refused to supply even this, saying:
"These rolls have to be printed. They need finance, printing, logistics,
stationery and manpower." Furthermore, the Supreme Court found on several
grounds that Tsvangirai was not entitled to any copy of the roll - and that
if he did not like that, he should have the law changed rather than come to
court. The judges held that the law only allowed an individual voter who had
a particular interest in a constituency to get a copy of the roll of that
area. It did not provide for someone in Tsvangirai's position to get a copy
of the entire roll to contest the whole electoral outcome.


Judge Friedman said this approach was wrong; the only question the judges
had been asked to resolve was whether the registrar-general was obliged to
give Tsvangirai a copy of the roll in electronic format. He said the court
had dealt with a number of other issues not in dispute between the parties,
without resolving the central issue. He was also scathing of their failure
to protect Tsvangirai's right to information under the Zimbabwe constitution
and other laws. The roll is a matter in the public domain and it is
fundamental to a constitutional democracy and the exercise of fundamental
rights that everyone has access to it. "All in all," he said, "I consider
the judgment of the Supreme Court to be fundamentally flawed."
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