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

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Daily News

      Mudede given 48hrs

      3/22/2003 5:01:35 AM (GMT +2)


      By Loveness Mlambo

      THE High Court yesterday gave Tobaiwa Mudede, the Registrar-General,
48 hours to release the Kuwadzana voters' roll for inspection.



      The roll must be released to Nelson Chamisa, the opposition MDC
candidate in next weekend's by-election. Justice Anele Matika ruled that
Chamisa should be allowed to exercise his right to inspect the voters' roll
within 48 hours of presenting himself to Mudede's office and to have a copy
of the voters' roll. Matika's order will also apply in the Highfield
by-election, which Pearson Mungofa of the MDC is contesting against Joseph
Chinotimba of Zanu PF. The polls are scheduled for 29 and 30 March. The
order, delivered yesterday, stated: "That Chamisa is entitled to inspect the
voters' roll for Kuwadzana and to make a copy or extract of the said voters'
roll.

      "That Mudede is to ensure that Chamisa exercises his right under
Section One within 48 hours of Chamisa presenting himself to Mudede's
offices." The judge said that his order shall not be suspended by the noting
of an appeal by Mudede and shall remain operative and in effect pending such
appeal. Last week Mudede filed papers in the High Court opposing Chamisa's
request for an updated voters' roll, saying Chamisa had the chance to
inspect it and had seen his name appearing on the roll. Demands for an
updated voters' roll were made after allegations from the MDC that there
were 10 000 ghost voters in Kuwadzana. Professor Welshman Ncube, the MDC
secretary-general, yesterday alleged that there were about 26 000 ghost
voters who have been registered in Kuwadzana and Highfield for the
by-elections scheduled to take place on 29 and 30 March.

      Ncube said the MDC took its own measures to check on the registered
voters in the constituencies after making frantic efforts to get an updated
voters' roll and discovered 10 000 ghost voters in Kuwadzana and 16 000 in
Highfield. Ncube said: "We are warning Mugabe that if they rig the Highfield
and Kuwadzana elections in the same way that they did the presidential and
Insiza elections, they should be prepared for mass action." Paul
Themba-Nyathi, the MDC spokesperson, said the party had done some sampling
from selected wards using the 2002 voters' roll and had also taken advantage
of the voters' roll inspection conducted in February to carry out its own
investigations on the registered voters in the constituencies. After
realising that there were anomalies, the party, together with other
contesting parties, demanded an updated voters' roll.

      Remus Makuwaza, the MDC director of elections, said his party wanted
to verify the figures that they have come up with through their internal
analysis. He said his party was moving away from complaining after they have
been cheated. "If no resolution is made before the date, we will call for
the cancellation of the elections," said Makuwaza. Calls for updated voters'
rolls for the two constituencies were made by contesting parties after
allegations that some people from outside the two constituencies were being
registered at the homes of Zanu PF activists.
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Daily News

      Mugabe orders State agents to crush MDC

      3/22/2003 7:20:32 AM (GMT +2)


      By Precious Shumba

      PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday said State security agents had been
directed to react promptly and with vigour to thwart any efforts by the
opposition MDC to mobilise Zimbabweans for a mass uprising against his
government.



      "When freedom of expression is used to promote violence and terrorism,
then it will have turned against the lives of others and should be curbed,"
Mugabe said. "Those who promote and unleash the ensuing violence and
terrorism must be severely punished under our laws. "Our law enforcement
agents must react promptly and with vigour as they provide appropriate
responses to dangerous mischief-makers. Let the MDC and its leaders be
warned that those who play with fire will not only be burnt, but consumed by
that fire. "Read us correctly."

      Mugabe was speaking at the burial of Dr Swithun Tachiona Mombeshora,
58, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, at the National Heroes'
Acre. The MDC successfully organised a two-day mass job stayaway on 18 and
19 March and gave Mugabe's government until 31 March to restore the rule of
law or face massive civil unrest. Mugabe said he was briefed by "his people"
who read the "rubbish Press" that Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC president, had
issued an ultimatum to his government and the ruling Zanu PF. "I don't read
the rubbish Press," he said. "I was advised by some of my people who read
the rubbish papers that an ultimatum had been issued. Let me ask you: From
who? Chimbwasungata? Baba iwe, Muchero! (By a sell-out? Good gracious!)"

      Mugabe said: "Let Tsvangirai measure his size, even height, I am
taller. He may have a bigger belly, but let's measure the intellect, I don't
know. Let the people judge. The MDC's intellect thinks of violence, it
thinks of stayaways and boycotts, but what policies do they have for the
development of the country, for the construction of Zimbabwe? We are yet to
see their constructive thinking. Their thinking is negative. They create
chaos." He said the MDC, "in an effort to enforce the success of their
so-called mass action", engaged in violent intimidation. He said the money
used to organise the "pretended" stayaway, to pay youths to self-destruct
and turn them into career purveyors of violence, came from Britain, the
United States, Holland and Germany. "All these nations were united in
sponsoring violence here, ironically to bring us freedom, democracy, to
deliver us from food shortages and a declining economy. Yet the same nations
who accuse us of ruining our economy seek to cripple it through sanctions."

      Mombeshora, who is survived by his wife, Lucy, and four children,
trained as a medical doctor before independence. Between 1981 and 1985, he
was the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, and founded the Farm Community Trust
of Zimbabwe, an organisation that seeks to improve the welfare of farm
workers. At various times he was previously minister of health, mining,
transport, and education.
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Daily News

      Zanu PF mob threatens Mudzuri

      3/22/2003 7:18:54 AM (GMT +2)


      By Lloyd Mudiwa Municipal Reporter

      ABOUT 300 ruling Zanu PF youths and women's league members threatened
Elias Mudzuri, the Executive Mayor of Harare, with death at the burial of
Swithun Mombeshora, the former Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, at
the National Heroes' Acre yesterday.



      The mob allegedly intimidated Mudzuri, elected on an opposition MDC
ticket, in full view of senior government officials and the police. Efforts
to get police comment failed yesterday. They had earlier confiscated keys
and a manual to Mudzuri's official Mercedes Benz parked in the car-park for
VIPs, threatening to burn the vehicle. This was while the delegates were
laying wreaths on the late minister's grave. Mudzuri said one of his
security officers informed him as he was leaving the national shrine that
the keys had been confiscated. "I informed Mnangagwa, Kembo Mohadi and John
Nkomo," Mudzuri said. "They said that could not be and called Deputy Police
Commissioner Godwin Matanga, who said he would sort it out." Mnangagwa is
the Speaker of Parliament, Mohadi is the Minister of Home Affairs, and Nkomo
is the Minister for Special Affairs in the President's Office. But the mob
menacingly advanced chanting: "Mudzuri, you are a murderer and you will also
be killed."

      "My keys and manual have gone," Mudzuri said. "I no longer feel secure
in my own city. "Are we saying this is a Zanu PF event or a national
function? They have accused the opposition of boycotting national events.
"Are they now saying we must not come to such events?" The police later
provided Mudzuri an escort to Town House after he secured spare keys to his
car.
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Daily News

      Witness concedes to defence

      3/22/2003 7:19:23 AM (GMT +2)


      Court Reporter

      A STATE witness in the ongoing treason trial of three MDC leaders
conceded yesterday Ari Ben-Menashe, the key prosecution witness, took
abnormally long to report the alleged plot by the opposition party's leaders
to assassinate President Mugabe.



      Air Vice-Marshal Robert Mhlanga, of the Airforce of Zimbabwe, told the
High Court, during cross-examination by defence lawyer Advocate Eric
Matinenga, that the space of time between the meeting where Morgan
Tsvangirai, the MDC president, allegedly announced the plot and the day he
reported the conspiracy was "not appropriate" in the circumstances.
Tsvangirai met Ben-Menashe and his colleagues in London on 22 October and 3
November 2001. Ben-Menashe telephoned Mhlanga on 20 November 2001 with
claims of a plot by Tsvangirai and two other top MDC officials to kill
Mugabe and depose the Zanu PF government.

      Matinenga queried why Ben-Menashe would take that long to report "a
matter of such a serious nature". Ben-Menashe got in contact with Mhlanga
three months earlier, ostensibly selling military aircraft. Mhlanga said
Ben-Menashe offered to bring evidence three days after he telephoned from
his Canada base reporting the conspiracy which, he said, involved the MDC
and unnamed ex-Rhodesian soldiers. The evidence Ben-Menashe had promised
turned out to be a miniature cassette, a diskette and a transcript which
Mhlanga said was so poor he could not decipher. "I could not make head or
tail of the discussion on the tape," Mhlanga said. "The transcript, I just
browsed through. What I relied on was what he was saying, as opposed to the
tape and the document. I did not get any wiser from the two documents."

      Asked by assessor Misheck Nyandoro how he was able to pick out
Tsvangirai's voice from the audio-tape, Mhlanga said: "I would like to
believe Mr Tsvangirai is a prominent politician. You can recognise his voice
when he is talking with a minimum margin of error." Nyandoro asked Mhlanga
whether he did not suspect the assassination plot was "another commodity"
Ben-Menashe was trying to sell, to which the airforce official said he had
no reason to doubt Ben-Menashe's story. Tsvangirai, Welshman Ncube, the MDC
secretary-general, and Renson Gasela, the party's shadow minister of
agriculture, have pleaded not guilty. The trial continues on Monday.
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Daily News

      Confession queried

      3/22/2003 7:19:59 AM (GMT +2)


      Staff Reporter

      FLETCHER Dulini-Ncube, one of the six men accused of murdering
Bulawayo war veteran Cain Nkala in November 2001, was in Harare attending
Parliament at the time he was alleged to have called co-accused Kethani
Sibanda to his home in Hillside, Bulawayo, one of his lawyers said yesterday
Sibanda, Dulini-Ncube, the MDC MP for Lobengula-Magwegwe, Sonny Masera, the
MDC director of security, Army Zulu, Remember Moyo and Sazini Mpofu are
alleged to have kidnapped Nkala from his Magwegwe home on 5 November 2001.



      Advocate Eric Morris told Justice Sandra Mungwira: "We can prove in
many, many ways that this confession (by Sibanda) cannot be true."
Superintendent Walter Gadzira Hita, a State witness, had alleged that
Sibanda confessed that he was called by Dulini-Ncube to his home and sent to
collect 1,5 million rand (Z$10,5 million) and passports for Masera and Zulu
from Isaac Maphosa at the MDC headquarters in Harare. On Thursday, Advocate
Happias Zhou, one of the defence lawyers, said Sibanda was threatened with
torture weapons. Zhou suggested to Hita that his part in Sibanda's
interrogation was "to inform Kethani that he was simply to maintain the
story of the passports and money that he had been given". Yesterday Morris
told the court that Masera and Zulu had not even been arrested at the time
Sibanda is alleged to have been on the way to collect their passports and
the money.
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Zanu PF youth are misguided

      3/22/2003 5:04:47 AM (GMT +2)



      iN one of the most deplorable acts of bad manners, misguided Zanu PF
youths recently took the law into their hands. They forced the British High
Commissioner to Zimbabwe, Brian Donnelly, to stop the hand-over of a $2,8
million water project in Mutasa district in Manicaland after they threatened
to disrupt the programme.



      The British diplomat did the prudent thing and postponed the ceremony
indefinitely. What the youths fail to appreciate is that the water project
was supposed to benefit their own kith and kin, the hundreds of marginalised
rural people around Mundenda. In any community, particularly in developing
countries such as Zimbabwe, finite resources like water play a key role in
national development. Water is so critical to life that it should always be
available. But because the government has too many mouths to feed, partly
because its development priorities are skewed, it cannot provide enough
water for everyone. The rural communities are the worst affected by the
government's policy blunders. People have to walk long distances to find
safe water to drink. In the worst cases, people share water with domestic
animals.

      So when donors like the British High Commission offer assistance, it
must not be scorned, but accepted with gratitude. Something has gone
terribly wrong in the national psyche when leaders allow their supporters to
sacrifice the welfare of the community on the altar of political expediency.
Zanu PF youths have become synonymous with a terrorist organisation. They
have been unleashed on innocent civilians by their leaders who are terrified
by the heinous acts they have committed.
      Suspected members of the opposition MDC are the main targets of this
senseless onslaught and it is very likely that the owners of these terror
dogs will fail to rein them in. Incidentally, today is World Water Day.
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Torture: Is nobody's conscience troubled?

      3/22/2003 6:59:32 AM (GMT +2)


      By Fr Oskar Wermter

      We associate torture chambers with the dark ages and the rack with the
time when witches and heretics were burnt at the stake. Civilised people no
longer deliberately and systematically inflict maximum pain on fellow human
beings by beating and burning, stretching and strangulating them. Or so some
of us naively think.



      Rhodesian soldiers and police, defending "civilised" standards, were
found to commit exactly the barbaric acts which they claimed their minority
rule was stopping the crude and cruel majority from committing. For ample
evidence see The Man in the Middle: torture, resettlement & eviction and
Civil War in Rhodesia [Two reports compiled by the Catholic Commission for
Justice and Peace (CCJ&P) in Rhodesia, 1975, republished 1999]. The swollen,
lacerated faces and maimed bodies (Civil War, pp.10-11, 23-25) illustrate
what the report says about a certain victim: "Long constriction all round
neck. Marked bruising of neck, muscles, congestion of both lungs. The cause
of death was stated as asphyxia due to hanging. Other wounds the family
discovered when they washed the body in preparation for burial" (p.15).

      Independence should have put a stop to such acts of inhumanity. It
didn't. This Tsholotsho victim suffered permanent paralysis in both forearms
as a result of being tied up with wire, February 1983, says a photo caption
in Breaking the Silence (CCJ&PZ and Legal Resources Foundation, 1997, p. 81)
In 2003 we are still confronted with photos of similarly bruised and swollen
faces, lacerated buttocks and cruelly beaten bodies. For evidence see Crisis
of Governance (a report on political violence in Zimbabwe, Election 2000,
Volume One, CCJ&PZ, pp. 122-124): "As we had walked a short distance, they
ordered us to lie down and they assaulted us with logs. They continued
assaulting us with pieces of wire and sjamboks" (p.125).

      We could go on quoting from these and similar sources, and many of us
from memory and personal experience. Worst of all, we hear more and more of
rape and gang-rape as a form of torture. Torture is meant to humiliate the
victim to the point where he or she loses even his or her self-respect. I
keep meeting people in town who dare not go back to their rural homes where
they have been tortured and might get the same cruel treatment again. Some
old parent is waiting for them, and they would love to go, but the memory is
too raw and painful. There was a time when torturing suspects in order to
make them confess was accepted court practice. Racked by unbearable pain,
perfectly harmless people, mostly women, would admit to being witches,
sorcerers and wizards.

      Suspects who managed to hold out without confessing were condemned
anyhow: only a witch in collusion with Satan could have the strength to bear
the rack without being broken. You could not escape once you were under
suspicion. Eventually someone denounced this travesty of justice and torture
was banned and the rack put into the museum. Maybe the human race is after
all capable of modest moral progress. But science and technology of the 20th
century triumphed in new torture chambers. The fertile brains of engineers
of evil kept inventing interrogation techniques The aim was no longer just
to break people, but to change their personalities and their entire thinking
through brainwashing. The Nazis disguised torture as scientific
experimentation. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa
revealed a veritable hell of degrading practices designed to dehumanise the
enemy. But humankind represented by the United Nations has long condemned
torture. Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says: "No
one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment."

      The African Charter of Human and People's Rights says the same. The
Republic of Zimbabwe signed the Charter on 12 June 1986. The condemnation of
torture was spelled out in greater detail in the 1985 UN Convention Against
Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
Torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or
mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as
obtaining information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a
third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or
intimidating or coercing him or a third person when such pain
      or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the
consent of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.
Each State party shall take
      effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to
prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.

      Zimbabwe has not yet managed to prevent acts of torture. Our own
police and other State officials, tasked to protect us against violence and
guarantee security, stand accused of this crime against humanity. Is nobody'
s conscience moved? Is cruelty something commonplace in this country? The
recent Lenten Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishops (March 2003) is
reflecting on the spiral of violence which has been at work since
colonisation. The philosophy that if you want to attain success, violence is
the means, seems to have been sown into our nation. How can we escape our
own unhappy history of violence against fellow citizens, including torture,
and catch up with the rest of the world, which is leaving this sad chapter
of human history behind? The ongoing glorification of revolutionary violence
does not allow us to become a properly constituted state. It polarises the
nation. It divides us into friends and enemies. Perpetuating the revolution,
this state of affairs justifies violence and torture as necessary means
towards preserving privileges achieved by past violence. There is no freedom
in such a situation, no room for dissent, no right to demand change
according to rules laid down by the Constitution.

      The government is not only for the ruling party, but must protect all
its citizens, their rights, as well as their welfare. Power rests with the
people who should duly elect whatever party or whoever they choose according
to the just laws of the country, the bishops' Lenten Letter says. What
Zimbabwe needs is not confrontation, but participation, not hatred for the
enemy, but respect for every fellow citizen. No people crippled, disabled
and traumatised by beating and burning will rebuild this damaged nation, but
free citizens who can be sure that their personal dignity and integrity will
be guaranteed, can do so.
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Daily News

      Dairibord milks consumers

      3/22/2003 5:00:01 AM (GMT +2)


      Business Reporter

      WHILE consumers are grappling with a shortage of milk, Dairibord
Zimbabwe Limited (DZL) have increased prices and introduced smaller packets
aimed at circumventing the price control regime.



      A survey of major supermarkets in Harare showed that one litre and 500
mililitre packets had been replaced by 300 ml sachets. DZL however said the
shortage of milk would continue unless value chain members, mainly producers
and processors, sustained viability levels. The decline in raw milk supply
has caused a shortage of milk and milk-related products on the market.
February's volume sales have declined by 22 percent to two million litres
compared to the same period last year.
      Price controls and the foreign currency crisis has had a negative
impact on DZL operations, threatening viability. Retail prices of 300ml
sachets of fresh milk ranged between $210 to $240 while sour milk cost
between $252 and $280 a packet.

      A depletion in the dairy herd blamed on the chaotic land reform
exercise, the harsh economic and political climate are the major causes of a
shortage of milk in Zimbabwe. Anthony Mandiwanza, the DZL chief executive
had not responded to questions raised by The Daily News on the smaller
packages and milk price increases at the time of going to press. Below is a
table showing some of the scarce basic commodities still available in
leading retail outlets in and around Harare.
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Daily News

Feature

      Face-to-face with police brutality

      3/22/2003 5:00:54 AM (GMT +2)


      By Columbus Mavhunga

      On Tuesday this week, I came face-to-face with the stark reality of
how the police ill-treat suspects in their custody. Quite often, you tend to
be suspicious of accounts of police brutality or just their utter lack of
regard for people brought to them on allegations of breaking the law.



      I was about to be thoroughly disabused of any notions about these
accounts being rather overblown or exaggerated. I had accompanied Samuel
Nkomo, the Executive Chairman of Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (Pvt)
Ltd, to Harare Central Police Station to secure the release of the company's
Corporate Affairs Director, Gugulethu Moyo and photographer Philimon
Bulawayo. Moyo had been arrested on the day and severely assaulted by the
police and Jocelyn Chiwenga, the wife of the army commander,
Lieutenant-General Constantine Chiwenga at Glen View Police Station. Mrs
Chiwenga's presence at the police station and her role in the beatings still
remains unexplained.

      She is a businesswoman with a lot of clout - that much cannot be
disputed. But her presence at the police station? That remained a mystery up
to the time of writing.
      Kelvin Chadenyika, a former assistant coach of Darryn T Football Club,
participated in the assault. He is apparently an aide of Mrs Chiwenga's and
is usually a very reliable source of news. He has often visited the
editorial offices of The Daily News in Trustee House. Gugulethu Moyo had
gone to Glen View to secure Bulawayo's release. The two were severely
assaulted by the police before being transferred to Harare Central Police
Station. First to arrive at the police station was lawyer, Kay Ncube, at
about 6pm. I arrived later in the company of Nkomo and another lawyer,
Beatrice Mtetwa. We went to the law and order section where lawyers Ncube,
Alec Muchadehama and Andrew Makoni were pleading with the police to have
Moyo and Bulawayo released.

      We were referred from one policeman to another. Mtetwa could not hide
her exasperation when she said the chances of the two being released were
waning by the minute. But the two were arrested just for executing their
duties, I said to myself. I could not make that comment aloud, lest the
lawyers, being familiar with the level of police nonchalance in these
matters, thought I was displaying how naive I was, even for a reporter.
While I pondered that conundrum, a policewoman said: "Your people will not
be released. We have not completed our investigations." What investigations?
I felt like asking her. We were eventually allowed to visit the holding
cells to check on the condition of Bulawayo and Moyo. We found them and were
shocked at the sight. Not surprisingly, they told us they were in terrible
pain. They could hardly walk. Gugu was sitting on the floor and looked
exhausted. The moment she saw us she could not hold back her tears. I cursed
myself and asked if this was really happening in a proud, independent
Zimbabwe. It was a defining moment for me.

      Moyo only asked for some water to drink. Bulawayo just shook his head.
They had not eaten anything since their arrest in the morning. Nkomo and
myself left the police station to buy them food. At about 7.30pm, Nkomo's
phone rang and Mtetwa was on the line. Afterwards, Nkomo said: "The police
have finally seen reason and agreed to take Bulawayo and Moyo to hospital
for medical treatment." When we got to Harare Central Police Station, Ncube
told us the police were having transport problems in trying to take the two
to hospital for medical attention. He said the police had flatly turned down
his offer for them to use his car. "The car is now on its way. We will be
taking your clients to hospital soon," announced one policeman. At 10pm the
policewoman left, after telling us that an Inspector Chinyerere would see to
it that Bulawayo and Moyo received medical treatment. We bade her farewell
and thanked her a million times. Honestly, why not? Thirty minutes later,
Chinyerere said he had no idea of the arrangement for the two to be taken to
hospital. He promised to assist us and left the office to consult a Chief
      Inspector Njobo.

      Njobo came 20 minutes later and to our consternation, turned down the
request. He said: "The people you should have asked for that favour are
gone. See you tomorrow. I will not even allow a medical doctor to examine
the two." Everyone was shocked. It was around 11pm. We decided to retire for
the day but passed through the cells to advise Bulawayo and Moyo that they
would not be treated. At the cells, a policeman told us the pair had been
taken to Parirenyatwa Hospital.
      We could hardly believe him. We drove to Parirenyatwa Hospital and, to
our pleasant surprise, found Bulawayo and Moyo there, handcuffed to each
other. They tried to smile at us but fatigue had taken its toll. I asked
Bulawayo for his home address so that I could inform his relatives about his
ordeal. Before he could respond, I was pushed aside by one of the policemen.

      As hospital officials were taking Bulawayo and Moyo's details, the
latter knelt down. Nkomo approached her to find out what was wrong.
Surprisingly, the policeman who had pushed me said he was returning them to
the police station before they had been attended to because we were
obstructing the course of justice. At first we did not take him seriously.
Five minutes later, they were taken away without receiving treatment!
      Nkomo could only remark: "I have never seen anything like this
 before."
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Telegraph

England plea to Zimbabwe
By Mihir Bose  (Filed: 22/03/2003)


English cricket is to make a fence-mending mission to Zimbabwe to ensure
that following the decision not to play the World Cup match in Harare there
will be no fallout this summer when Zimbabwe are due to tour.

David Morgan, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, will next
week travel to Harare to meet officials of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union.

He will explain that England did not go not to Harare because of security
fears, not for political reasons.

The decision angered the Zimbabweans and even before England pulled out
there were fears that Zimbabwe might retaliate by not coming to England.

If they did it could cost English cricket 1 million in lost television and
sponsorship revenue and ticket sales.

Morgan, however, is hopeful that his peace mission can mollify the
Zimbabweans and that it will not be necessary to seek a replacement country,
although Pakistan have been sounded out.

Richard Caborn, the sports minister, has told The Daily Telegraph that the
Government, who opposed England's visit to Harare, will welcome the
Zimbabwean team to England.

Whatever Zimbabwe decide, and they are likely to tour, there is no doubt
that South Africa will be in England for a five Test series.

Six weeks ago, at the opening ceremony of the World Cup, with England
agonising over whether to go to Harare, Percy Sonn, the president of the
United Cricket Board of South Africa, told Tim Lamb, the chief executive of
the ECB, that if England did not go to Harare, South Africa might decide not
to come to England.

But as The Daily Telegraph revealed yesterday, with South African cricket in
such a parlous financial state, they cannot afford not to tour.

The England authorities confirmed yesterday that their tour would go ahead
as scheduled. Advance ticket sales for the five Tests have already passed 4
million.
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Daily News

Letters

      Selfishness is the enemy of change

      3/22/2003 7:16:09 AM (GMT +2)



      This letter is addressed to all those who did not stay at home on
Tuesday and Wednesday.



      It is said that a country gets the government it deserves and we
Zimbabweans deserve the government we have, because we are not prepared to
make a sacrifice.
      This applies to all those who went to work, all those who opened their
shops, all those who went shopping, all those who told their employees that
they had to report for work and all those who went into town just "to see".
It is your fault that Zimbabwe is in the trouble it is in now. Stop blaming
the government or the war vets or the MDC. It is because you are not
prepared to stand up or make an effort that the majority of Zimbabweans are
starving. What a pathetic, cowardly and selfish nation we have turned out to
be. No one cares about the consequence of their actions, no one worries
about their neighbour.

      All everyone thinks about is themselves. The nation will continue on
its downward spiral until you, not some one else, but each and every one of
you get up and does something. God helps those who help themselves, not
those who expect someone else will do it for them.Your future is your
responsibility. Do not be content to "wait and see".

      Act Now
      Bulawayo
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AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

PUBLIC AI Index: AFR 46/010/2003

21 March  2003

UA 81/03 Arrest and detention  without
charge/abduction/"disappearance"/ fear for  safety

ZIMBABWE Giles Mutsekewa (m), Movement for  Democratic Change (MDC) member
of parliament for Mutare North Austin  Mupandawana (m), MDC member of
parliament for Kadoma Central Up to 500  others

Up to 500 people including officials and members of  parliament of the
opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),   have been arrested
without charge by police in Zimbabwe. An unknown number of  people have
reportedly been abducted by supporters of the ruling Zimbabwe  African
National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), and state security  personnel.
There have also been reports that a number of MDC activists  have
"disappeared".

The incidents took place before and during a  peaceful "stay-away"
coordinated by the MDC in protest of state repression and  human rights
violations in the country, on 18 and 19 March. Giles Mutsekewa,  MDC member
of parliament for Mutare North in Harare and Austin Mupandawana, MDC
member of parliament for Kadoma Central in Kadoma were among some 60 MDC
activists and around 70 others arrested in and around the capital Harare on
19  March, as the police went around arresting people in their homes and in
the  streets. Giles Mutsekewa is reportedly being held at Harare Central
Police Station while Austin Mupandawana is being held at Kadoma Police  station.
Police have reportedly denied Austin Mupandawana access to his  family.
Hundreds of others arrested throughout the country on 19 March remain  in
detention.

Also on 19 March, the army is believed to have been  deployed in the town
of Masvingo and various suburbs of Harare, where they  reportedly targeted
and assaulted a number of people perceived to be MDC  supporters. On 20 March,
the army again attacked scores of MDC activists in the  suburbs of Harare.
Sixty people were also arrested in the Eastern Highlands  of Chimanimani
province on that day.

According to reports, four MDC  activists were abducted by ZANU-PF
supporters and state agents in the town of  Bindura on 18 March. Their
whereabouts remain unknown and it is feared that  they may have
"disappeared". Four other MDC activists were also allegedly  abducted in
the town of Mabvuku. Other MDC activists are reported to be  missing and their
whereabouts remain unknown.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Politically motivated  violence has intensified in the run up to
parliamentary by-elections scheduled  for 29 and 30 March in Kuwadzana and
Highfield, two suburbs outside the capital  Harare. MDC supporters and
officials together with human rights activists and  members of Zimbabwe
civil society have been subjected to intimidation, arbitrary  arrest and
detention without charge and torture by government authorities and
militia.

Reports indicate that the "stay-away" was observed by the vast  majority of
people in the country. In the two main cities of Harare and  Bulawayo, many
workers stayed at home and most business remained closed. On  20 March, the
day after the "stay-away", the MDC gave the government a deadline  of 31
March to meet certain demands or face "an escalation of protests". It  is
feared that human rights violations may increase as this deadline
approaches.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to  arrive as quickly as possible,
in English or your own language:
- expressing  serious concern over the escalating levels of human rights
violations in the  country, and the involvement of government authorities
and militia, in these  human rights violations;
- expressing concern for the safety of up to 500  people, including members
of parliament Giles Mutsekewa and Austin Mupandawana,  who have been
arrested without charge by the authorities;
- calling on the  authorities to either charge Giles Mutsekewa, Austin
Mupandawana and  others who remain in custody, with a recognizably criminal
offence, on the  basis of solid evidence, or release them immediately;
- expressing concern at  reports that an unknown number of people have
reportedly been abducted by  supporters of the ZANU-PF party and state
security personnel;
- calling  for the whereabouts of those reportedly abducted to be verified
and for the  authorities to do their utmost to secure their immediate
release;
-  calling for an immediate investigation into the reported abductions, for
the  results to be made public, and for those responsible to be brought  to
justice.


APPEALS TO:
Minister of Home  Affairs
The Honourable Khembo Mohadi
11th Floor Mukwati  Building
Private Bag  7703
Causeway
Harare
Zimbabwe
Fax:   + 263 4 726 716 (please keep trying)
Telegram: Minister of  Home Affairs, Harare, Zimbabwe
Salutation: Dear  Minister

Police Commissioner
Mr. Augustine Chihuri
Police  Headquarters
P.O Box  8807
Causeway
Harare
Zimbabwe
Fax:   + 263 4 726 084/ 235 212/ 728 768 (please keep
trying)
Telegram:   Augustine Chihuri, Police Headquarters,  Harare,
Zimbabwe
Salutation: Dear Mr  Commissioner


COPIES TO: Diplomatic  representatives of Zimbabwe accredited to your
country.

PLEASE SEND  APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section  office, if sending appeals after 2 May 2003.

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Washington Times

Exiles use Iraq war to highlight plight
By Geoffery Hill
THE WASHINGTON TIMES


     JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwean exiles living in South Africa yesterday
called on the world not to forget their homeland during the U.S.-led war in
Iraq.
     With banners that read "Arrest Mugabe for War Crime" and "Bush, Give
Mugabe 48 hours," more than 450 black Zimbabweans marched eight miles from
the center of Johannesburg to the plush northern suburb of Sandton, where
ministers and diplomats do their shopping.
     White and black South Africans showed their sympathy by joining the
procession at various points along the route.
     "We have fled from Robert Mugabe, a dictator as ruthless as Saddam
Hussein," march organizer, Jairos Tama, told the crowd. "But, Zimbabwe has
no oil and no warheads, so the world leaves us to suffer."
     More than 2 million black Zimbabweans live in South Africa and Mr. Tama
estimates that another 1,500 cross the border every day.
     Mr. Tama said that he had worked as a schoolteacher in Zimbabwe, but
had refused to join Mr. Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front, a condition of employment. "So I was chased from my
job and my family were harassed by the government militia. In the end, I had
to come to South Africa," he said.
     Mr. Mugabe, 79, has ruled the country since its independence from
Britain in 1980. Last year, he won an election that observers said was
marred by state-sponsored violence and intimidation. Many nations, including
the United States, have refused to recognize the result.
     Over the past three years, the government has forced all but 600 of the
country's 4,000 white commercial farmers off their land as part of a program
to give farms to poor blacks. Aid agencies say much of the land has gone to
members of the ruling elite and to Mr. Mugabe's family, including his
sister, Sabina, and his second wife and former secretary, known as Comrade
Grace.
     The United Nations estimates that the disruption to farming, coupled
with a drought, has left more than 60 percent of the country's 12 million
people dependent on food aid.
     Yesterday was a national holiday in South Africa to honor 69 black
civilians who were fatally shot by the former white-minority government in
1960 at the town of Sharpville, south of Johannesburg. The massacre marked
the start of the country's isolation that only ended when democracy was
introduced in 1994.
     South African president Thabo Mbeki addressed a rally, but the marchers
criticized him for not doing more to dislodge Mr. Mugabe.
     "Zimbabwe is landlocked and relies on South Africa for most of its
imports, including electricity," Mr. Tama said."President Mbeki could force
Mugabe to soften his dictatorship just by threatening to close the border,
but he takes virtually no action."
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Dear Family and Friends,
Last week I reported on how women had been arrested and beaten whilst in police custody. I apologise for getting my facts wrong; women were indeed beaten and abused in police custody, but this was in Harare and not Bulawayo. I am sorry that I caused offence to the brave women of Harare and Bulawayo, all of whom have earned the country's highest respect for their most courageous stand. Everyday life in Zimbabwe is so filled with tales of horror, violence and arrests that sometimes it's hard to keep track of all the facts.
 
This week Zimbabweans began to show our government that they are almost at the end of their tether and have had enough of living like this. The opposition MDC called for a 2 day national stayaway and it is estimated that as many as 80% of shops, businesses and factories stayed closed for the two days. The country's two main cities of Harare and Bulawayo were apparently almost deserted. At the end of the 2 days, it was estimated that at least 200 but possibly as many as 500 people had been arrested for a host of obscure reasons. Included amongst those arrested was a newspaper photographer who was held for 2 days without being charged and assaulted whilst in custody. When the Corporate Director of the Newspaper company enquired at a police station as to the photographer's whereabouts, she was also arrested and then severely assaulted by the wife of the Commander of the Army, Jocelyn Chiwenga and her messenger. No one knows what Jocelyn Chiwenga and her henchman were doing in a police station or why they were allowed to do what they did.  
 
Newspapers reported that in Ruwa, 15kms from the capital city on an MDC MP's leased farm, armed men in army uniform, over two days indiscriminately assaulted men, women and children who work and live on the farm. Three security guards at the farm had their fingers and toes broken by these men and were then severely assaulted. The farm manager and his wife were beaten and then the attackers turned their attentions on at least  80 men, women and children resident on the property. Dozens had to be taken to hospital and one man, Steven Tonera was literally beaten to death by the men in army uniforms.
 
At the end of our country's mass public action calling for an end to anarchy, the MDC delivered a 15 point ultimatum to the Zimbabwe government. Basically they have given the ruling party until the 31st March to restore freedom and democracy to the country. Amongst their demands are an end to the torture of people in police custody; the restoration of freedom of speech, worship and association; disbanding of the youth militias; repealing the repressive legislation and depoliticising the police and security personnel in the country. We have little hope that any of these most basic of human dignities will be adhered to by the Zimbabwe government. The MDC leader has stated publicly that if these demands are not met by the end of March, "mass action will escalate" and "proceed on another level." Dark days are undoubtedly ahead, but for the first time in over a year, we have seen that Zimbabweans have had enough and are starting to making a stand.  
 
Any changes in Zimbabwe can't come soon enough. This month telephone charges went up by almost 100%, inflation is over 220% and every day, week and month has become a struggle for survival. This week, both South African and Mozambican suppliers of electricity to our country have said they will disconnect us completely if the massive and outstanding bills owed to them are not paid by the 23rd of March. Our electricity company, Zesa, do not know where to find the foreign money they owe. Industrialists say that supply restrictions in the form of load shedding to domestic households during the day and to factories at night are very likely in the weeks ahead. Winter is just two months away and facing it with restricted light, heat and cooking facilities is a frightening possibility. Until next week, with love, cathy. Copyright cathy buckle, 22nd March 2003. 
"African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available from www.exclusivebooks.com and www.kalahari.net  
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IOL

Zim treatment a travesty - SA

      March 21 2003 at 10:23PM

South Africa has broken its official silence about Zimbabwe's continued
suspension from the Commonwealth, saying the decision to extend the
punishment was a "political and procedural travesty".

Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon said this week that he was
extending the 12-month ban - imposed in protest against alleged
election-rigging and the seizure of white-owned farms for landless blacks -
until December's Commonwealth summit in Nigeria.

However, South Africa's High Commissioner in London, Lindiwe Mabuza, said in
a statement that "neither the Commonwealth Chair nor the Secretary-General
has a mandate to extend the suspension".

"Any such decision must be after consultation with all member states and
must be by consensus."

The statement said consensus was mandatory in the Commonwealth "otherwise
there is no consistency and the outcome is a consequence of a political and
procedural travesty".

"It is thus important for us all to know precisely which countries were
consulted and what positions they communicated to the Secretary-General."

Mabuza said African members of the Commonwealth were opposed to Zimbabwe's
continued suspension.

McKinnon's assertion that the troika had accepted the decision "does not
represent the views of the troika".

A foreign ministry spokesperson in Pretoria confirmed that Thursday night's
statement reflected the government's views on the issue.

The treatment of Zimbabwe has split the 54-nation Commonwealth along racial
lines.

It was unclear what South Africa intended to do, if anything, to try to get
the suspension lifted.

McKinnon, speaking after Sunday's announcement, said that the "clear
majority" of members were in favour of extending the suspension, which was
originally imposed in March last year, and that South Africa and Nigeria had
reluctantly accepted his decision.

The two African powers are in a troika with Australia, set up to pilot the
Commonwealth's Zimbabwe policy.

But the triumvirate has broken down because the Africans say President
Robert Mugabe has done enough to earn readmission to the group, while
Australia says his abuse of political and civic freedoms is so bad that
tougher sanctions are justified.

Zimbabwe's urban centres were virtually paralysed this week in a mass
protest by the country's main opposition, the Movement for Democratic
Change. - Sapa-Reuters
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Yahoo News

Witness in Zimbabwe trial says assassination plot authentic: reports
      Sat Mar 22, 5:42 AM ET


HARARE (AFP) - A witness in the treason trial of Zimbabwe opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai said he had no reason to doubt the authenticity of an
alleged opposition plot to kill President Robert Mugabe, press reports said.

Testifying at the end of the trial's seventh week, Air Vice Marshal Robert
Mhlanga said he was told of the plot by political consultant Ari Ben
Menashe, who had previously tried to sell military aircraft to the country.

According to the state-controlled Herald newspaper, Mhlanga was asked Friday
whether the plot was not just another "commodity" Ben Menashe wanted to sell
to the government.

"I have no reason to believe that," Mhlanga, the third witness to appear for
the state, reportedly replied.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Tsvangirai and two senior party
officials are on trial for allegedly plotting to assassinate Mugabe ahead of
presidential elections last year.

They deny the charges, which carry the death penalty on conviction.

They say the plot was contrived in order to sideline Tsvangirai ahead of the
hard-fought poll, which he lost to Mugabe but which international observers
and the opposition have said was rigged.

The state's case hinges on a video tape supplied by Ben Menashe, a
Canada-based consultant whom the opposition leader allegedly approached for
assistance to eliminate Mugabe.

The state says the tape incriminates the opposition leader.

Ben Menashe was the first state witness to testify. During the month he
spent on the witness stand, defence lawyers tried to rubbish his evidence
and expose him as an internationally renowned fraudster.

They alleged that the consultant had also tampered in key elections in
Australia and the United States during the 1980s.

Mhlanga, of the Air Force of Zimbabwe, was the first person Ben Menashe
contacted with news that Tsvangirai wanted to assassinate Mugabe, the
private Daily News reported Saturday.

The paper said Ben Menashe had got in touch with the vice marshal three
months before with the offer to sell military planes.

However, the court heard on Friday that the consultant waited nearly a month
before informing the Zimbabwe authorities of the alleged plot to kill
Mugabe.

Defense lawyer Eric Matinenga asked Mhlanga why Ben Menashe had waited so
long before making the revelation, given its seriousness.

"He was the custodian of the information, what he wanted to do with it I
cannot say," the state-run Herald quoted Mhlanga as saying.

Interest in the treason trial has dwindled in recent days, with the
previously packed public gallery now only attracting a handful of
spectators.

Public attention has been diverted by the trial of a prominent sect leader
charged with rape, who was this week sentenced to 32 years in jail with hard
labour by a local magistrate.

The three opposition leaders appeared in the dock this week during a two-day
mass work stoppage called by the MDC in protest over alleged misgovernance
by Mugabe's regime.
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Sydney Morning Herald

Protest rage grows over Mugabe militia rape, torture camps
March 23 2003
The Sun-Herald

Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change yesterday vowed to escalate mass
action to force President Robert Mugabe's government to reform or leave
office as new and horrifying details of young girls being held in "rape
camps" emerged.

A two-day national strike late last week was the biggest protest for more
than two years against Mr Mugabe's 23-year rule, closing factories, shops,
banks and other businesses in protest at alleged human rights abuses and the
economic decline.

As the strike ended, reports emerged of rape being used as a political
weapon by the youth militia and other groups allied to the country's ruling
party, said human rights workers and church groups.

Investigations reveal allegations of politically motivated rape against
opposition supporters.

According to victims' testimony, Mr Mugabe's militia are also forcing young
women to be their concubines.


Zimbabwe's human rights forum reports seven cases of politically motivated
rape last year, as well as 58 murders and 1061 cases of torture. But the
reported rapes, verified by medical examinations and interviews, are just
the tip of the iceberg, human rights workers say.

"There is a serious problem of political rape in Zimbabwe," said Tony
Reeler, human rights defender for the Institute for Democratic Alternatives
for Southern Africa. "The documented cases are low, but there is
considerable stigma and fear about reporting rape. From enormous anecdotal
evidence we know the number is much higher.

"The victims are mostly young females, relatively uneducated, poor, rural,
the most vulnerable members of society. Many urgently require
antiretrovirals for HIV infection."

The trauma of rape is evident in the dull gaze of Sithulisiwe, 21. For eight
months she was held captive at a "youth camp" for Mr Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF
party, where, she says, she was repeatedly gang raped and tortured. She said
she was abducted in December 2001 and marched to a camp in a Bulawayo
suburb.

"It was surrounded by security guards so we could not get out," she said.
"There were hundreds of us. We were fed horse meat and rotten food. They
woke us up at 3am and we had to run 20 kilometres. Then we had to do 200
press-ups and other exercises. If anyone failed to do so, they were beaten.
We had to chant slogans and sing Zanu-PF songs.

"They taught us the history of our country, starting from colonial slavery,
and they told us we should hate whites. We slept in large rooms, the men and
women together. We were raped by the boys. I can't even count how many times
by how many different men. If we complained to the camp commander, we were
beaten."

Sithulisiwe says she felt sorry for the young girls, of just 12 and 13,
picked out, by the camp commander and taken to a nearby hotel to be raped.
Her voice is flat and only when she talks to her five-month-old child does
her face light up. "I have named her Nokthula, which means peace. I want her
to find peace - imagine, I do not even know who her father is."

Sithulisiwe and others were caught trying to escape. She says they were
buried up to their necks. "We were beaten and thought we'd be killed, but
the camp commander rescued us. They made us roll in mud, then would not let
us take a bath."

The camp closed in July last year. Many of the youths went to government
training camps and Sithulisiwe was sent away. Aided by a church group, she
and other women then reported the rapes at Hillside police station near
Bulawayo.

"Then the doctor gave me a blood test. He told me I was HIV-positive."

Her story has been independently verified. This month she testified at a
service led by Archbishop Pius Ncube at the Bulawayo Catholic cathedral.
People across Zimbabwe told of rape and torture at the hands of Zanu-PF.

"We have several reports of gang rapes and beatings at the youth militia
camps," said a human rights worker. "The camps have become centres of
torture and sexual abuse. Reports are made to police but they take virtually
no action."

Zimbabwe's police deny this. "Irrespective of whether they are political
cases or not, if they are true rape cases then we will investigate them,"
said Wayne Bvudzijena, an assistant commissioner. He was not aware of
reports of rape at the Bulawayo camps.

But investigations have revealed other accounts of politically motivated
sexual violence.

Rebecca, 36, says youth militia dragged her from her home in eastern
Zimbabwe. "They beat me, saying I wanted to give the country back to whites.
Six guys raped me. These people threatened to kill me and my family. I am
afraid I may be infected with HIV."

Sarah, 22, from central Zimbabwe, tells how Zanu-PF youth attacked the
homestead where she farmed. "They burned our house and destroyed everything
we owned. They beat me, even though I had our baby on my back. They took my
baby away. They beat the soles of my feet. Then, they raped me."


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The Star

      Ja nee, this is a must for foreignrs visiting SA
      March 21, 2003

        By James Clarke

      Brian Hough, a small business consultant - no, that sounds wrong, he's
a consultant to small businesses - has dug up from somewhere a Cricket World
Cup visitor's guide to South Africanisms.

      Ali Bacher: The man responsible for staging the Cricket World Cup and
getting South Africa back into international cricket, and for bringing the
much-needed rain. A Bacher/English dictionary is in preparation ("griggid" =
"cricket"), because not even South Africans understand what he is saying.

      Apartheid: Few white South Africans have heard of it and fewer know
anybody who voted Nationalist.

      Braaivleis: The ritual incineration of raw meat over coals. Anything
can be braaied over this fire, from chicken wings to intact gnus.

      Not to be confused with a barbecue, which is generally far less
carcinogenic. Braaied meat is sometimes like eating a lump of coal; a good
braai explains the great mystery of why Man found fire.

      Breezy: In Cape Town, East London and Port Elizabeth, this means wind
that sucks the lungs out of your chest and bowls oil-rigs end-over-end up
the beach. In Kimberly it implies that the temperature is likely to drop
below 45.

      Channel surfing: The frustrating activity of hopping between South
Africa's five channels and finding only Zulu versions of Sesame Street and
old episodes of The Love Boat in Sotho.

      Hijack: Car hijacks happen less than expatriate dentists in London say
they do, but a lot more often than the government says.

      Ja nee: "Yes no" - a phrase that makes perfect sense to South
Africans. If a groundsman is asked if the seamers are likely to get any help
from the wicket, he will answer "Ja nee", leaving the distinction up to you.
But an armpit-scratch can imply the negative while a hefty spit towards
cover means yes.

      Mampoer: A mixture of fermented apricots, peaches, jet fuel and
antifreeze. A source of great mirth where foreign tourists are concerned, as
the unfortunate virgin drinker blows fire out of his ears. Do not drink
anything in an unlabelled bottle proffered by a cackling old fellow who
looks like an extra from Deliverance.

      Now / just now / now now: If the clerk at your hotel tells you that
your rental car will be arriving "now", expect the car to arrive between 15
minutes and an hour.
      If the clerk says the car is arriving "now now", expect it in about
two hours.

      If the clerk says it's arriving "just now", it means he hasn't yet
phoned the rental agency and you are entitled to garrotte him with his World
Cup tie.

      Religion: South Africa is a God-fearing country peopled by a wide
range of creeds and denominations. It is important to learn some basic
religious terminology.

      Satan: The name of either Pakistani umpire Javed Akhtar or Australian
counter-part Daryl Hair, both of whom are alleged
      to have committed atrocities against past South African teams.

      Hell: Another name for Australia.
      Heaven: Sydney. An ironic state of affairs, given that while most
South Africans consider Australia to be the Dark Empire, a great many want
to emigrate to Sydney.

      Taxi: A metal box, about the size of a minivan, containing up to 40
people; powered by diesel and gunpowder with the thrust equivalent of
Starship Enterprise's plasma warp drive. Passengers must time their entry
and exit carefully as the taxi cannot slow down below 60km/h for fear of
imploding and tearing a hole in the space-time continuum.

      Zimbabwe: A kingdom to the north ruled by King Bob who is in line for
the Humanitarian of the Year Award nominated by the South African
government.

      "Zim" has struck a blow against smoking by turning once thriving
tobacco farms into wilderness and has freed thousands of people from having
to go to work. It produces millions of soapstone carvings of birds sitting
on toilets, and owns Andy Flower.
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The Star

      OHYCAEI: the secret code to Mbeki's Zim policy
      March 21, 2003

        By Peter Fabricius

      President Mbeki seems to be using the fog of war in Iraq to conceal a
tactical attempt to have his cake and eat it on Zimbabwe. (If you will
pardon the mixed metaphor.)

      Mbeki is a member of the Commonwealth troika, a committee of heads of
government mandated by the Commonwealth summit last year to deal with
Zimbabwe. The other members are Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and
Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

      Last March the troika suspended Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth for a
year after Commonwealth observers deemed that the presidential elections had
been rigged
            Iraq's fog of war used to conceal embarrassing dilemma
      .

      The summit's mandate included an instruction to the troika to
reconsider Zimbabwe's suspension when it expired this week. But Mbeki and
Obasanjo decided recently that the troika need not meet again because
President Robert Mugabe had done enough to merit readmission to the
Commonwealth. Howard strongly disagreed and instructed Commonwealth
secretary-general Don McKinnon to ask the Commonwealth leaders directly what
to do. Last Sunday, McKinnon announced that the majority of the leaders
believed Zimbabwe should remain suspended until December at the next summit.

      McKinnon, significantly, said the troika had agreed with him that this
was the right course of action.

      But since Sunday night, Mbeki himself has said nothing publicly to
confirm or deny McKinnon's statement. His aides, however, have been saying
off the record that he did not agree that Zimbabwe should remain suspended.
They have also referred journalists to the SA High Commission in London for
on-the-record comment.

      On Wednesday, SA's deputy high commissioner in London, Sisa Ncwana,
said: "As far as we are concerned, Zimbabwe's suspension from the
Commonwealth expired today (Wednesday) ... we are not part of any decision
to extend the sanctions ..."

      After three days of being given the run-around by Mbeki's
spin-doctors, the penny finally dropped. Distracted by Iraq, journalists
have become victims of Operation Have Your Cake and Eat It (OHYCAEI) - my
title, not their's.

      The aim was apparently to dissociate SA from the decision to keep
Zimbabwe out in the cold - while not too obviously telling McKinnon that he
was a liar. The method was to try to isolate Mbeki from his own government
conceptually: the SA government could go public denying McKinnon while Mbeki
would refrain from doing so explicitly to avoid contradicting himself.

      Some people cannot understand that multilateralism does require
contortions. When a country joins a multinational organisation like the
Commonwealth, its interests obviously don't always coincide with the group
consensus.

      The elegant way of dealing with that dilemma is to compromise; to
accept that your preferred national view cannot always prevail and to adapt
it a bit, in order to present a consistent position. Or simply to agree to
disagree. Mbeki could stand up and say: "Look, I don't think Zimbabwe should
remain suspended, but that is the view of the majority, so I will go along
with it."

      But he seems to have chosen instead to try to maintain two
contradictory positions simultaneously, without acknowledging the
contradiction. As South Africa's president he continues to suggest, through
off-the-record remarks from his spin-doctors and on-the-record remarks from
junior officials, that he has not agreed to the continued suspension of
Zimbabwe.

      That plays well in Harare where the ruling party's mouthpiece, the
Herald, carried Ncwana's remarks prominently this week.

      But as a member of the troika - in private conversations with
McKinnon - Mbeki seems to have gone along with the Commonwealth position to
keep Mugabe out.

      If my hunch about OHYCAEI is right, this is dishonest and clumsy
diplomacy. Mbeki is implicitly calling McKinnon a liar but I suspect it is
his own credibility and that of his government that will eventually suffer
the most damage.
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Details of MDC ultimatum

By 31st March 2003, the regime should have addressed and resolved the following 15 urgent issues or face a popular mass action to regain the
people's liberties, freedoms and dignity.

The 15 demands are:

1. An immediate release of all political prisoners, those arrested for exercising their constitutional right to demonstrate against violence, torture and general misrule.
2. Agree to a programme clearly designed to restore the legitimacy of government.
3. Stop all state-sponsored violence against the people, including torture of suspects in police custody.
4. Restore all the political and civil liberties of the people including the freedoms of assembly, association, expression and movement and in particular repeal POSA and AIPA.
5. Depoliticise food distribution
6. Disbandment of all militia groups and the restoration of war veterans to a non-political role.
7. Stop the persecution of workers, women and youth.
8. Restore a professional and non-partisan police, army and prisons service.
9. Stop the political persecution of professional soldiers, police officers, prison officers and judges.
10. Stop the political persecution of the church, its leaders and interference with the freedom of worship.
11. Restore law and order.
12. Repeal the Broadcasting Act and free the airwaves.
13. Restore academic freedom and university autonomy.
14. Put an end to the ongoing state sponsored electoral violence and fraud
15. Stop the political persecution of civil society and respect the human rights of all Zimbabweans.

Paul Themba Nyathi - MDC Spokesperson

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Independent (UK)

Seized land is earmarked for Mugabe family, farmers say
'War veterans' abandoned by government
By Tom de Castella in Norton, Zimbabwe
23 March 2003


The image went round the world: the body of Terry Ford, a white farmer
killed by Zimbabwe's notorious "war veterans", being guarded by his Jack
Russell terrier. For many the sight symbolised the country's descent into
tyranny under Robert Mugabe.

That was a year ago. Now Gowrie, the 840-hectare farm at Norton, 25 miles
west of Harare, is a scene of desolation - fields mostly lying fallow or
overgrown with weeds, the farmhouse an empty shell, stripped of anything
that can be sold for money or food. Only 16 people remain where 45 were once
employed, growing maize, tobacco and soya as well as keeping cattle and
sheep.

When I visited Gowrie, posing as an aid worker, Mike Silas Bressing, a "war
veteran" acting as spokesman, told me: "We are hungry. We have mealie
[maize] meal for 10 days, then nothing. We have no sugar or cooking oil. We
have planted 20 hectares of maize and eight hectares of potatoes and
broccoli, but the harvest is not till the end of May or June."

What has happened at Gowrie is being repeated all over Zimbabwe. White
commercial farmers and their black workers are driven off, to be replaced by
people with few agricultural skills. The result is starvation: even
according to government figures, two-thirds of the 12 million population
faces famine.

But when the "veterans" killed Terry Ford and seized his farmstead - the
chief murder suspect, a man known as Mwamba, moved into his bedroom, but was
not around the day I appeared - they did not realise that they too were
being manipulated. In many cases the people who take over prime farms are
used as shock troops by President Mugabe's circle, who end up owning the
land.

Mike Silas Bressing and the others struggling to exist at Gowrie could never
have foreseen how quickly they would be abandoned by their powerful backers.
Huddled round a fire, shivering and hungry, they complained about the
absence of funds to help them cultivate the land, and, now that they are
hungry, the lack of government food aid.

Despite their plight, they are having to prepare for a "field day", a
government scheme designed to show off the "new farmers" in action - the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation swamps the airwaves with propaganda about
the great strides being made in the rural areas "now the land is ours". The
"veterans" have very little to show for their work, however, and had to
visit a nearby white commercial farmer, one of two left in the area, to ask
if they could borrow a tractor for the day.

Mark Ford, Terry's son, has moved in with his girlfriend. Since his father's
death he has sought to find out who was responsible, and who now owns
Gowrie. No one has been convicted of the murder, but everyone, including the
police, knows who the killers are, Mark says.

As for the question of ownership, "it seemed impossible ... there's no
paperwork. What we have is a pyramid system, the war vets at the bottom,
then the head war vets, then Zanu PF party officials. The question is: who
is at the top?"

Now Mark thinks he has the answer. Local farmers have uncovered evidence
that Sabina Mugabe, the President's older sister and the area's governor,
has earmarked Norton's farms, among the most valuable in the country, for
her family. Already around a dozen farms bordering Lake Darwendale,
including Terry Ford's, have been occupied. Local officials say they have
been reserved for "the royal family" - which in Zimbabwe today means only
one thing.

Farmers believe that once the fuss dies down the war vets who were
encouraged to occupy the farms will be moved off, and Mugabe family members
and prominent government supporters will take over and begin farming them
seriously. Leo Mugabe, the President's nephew, is known to own the
500-hectare Diandra Farm, while Sabina is thought to have claimed the
1,000-hectare Audley End Farm for herself.

Mark Ford still hopes that one day he will be able to reclaim Gowrie farm,
which had been in his family for six generations. Despite the brutality of
his father's murder, he says he could one day forgive the killers. "The war
vets are more frightened than we are," he said. "They're uneducated people
doing what they're told. But the people who actually run the war veterans
and ordered them to attack, the people at the top of the hierarchy - I'll
never forgive them."
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News24

Mugabe: No more soft gloves
22/03/2003 21:34  - (SA)


Harare - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe vowed Saturday "greater action"
would be taken against the main opposition party which he accused of wanting
to overthrow his government.

In comments carried by state television, Mugabe slammed the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) and its stay-away vowing that from now on there
would be "greater vigour, greater vigilance and greater action by my
government".

"We shall not treat them with soft gloves anymore," Mugabe told hundreds of
youths from his ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front
(Zanu-PF).

The comments came as the MDC claimed hundreds of its officials and
supporters had been abducted in night raids by military agents after a
widely followed job stay-away closed down urban areas.

The stayaway was organised to protest alleged misgovernance.

Mugabe, however, claimed the stay-away was "a flop" and accused the
opposition party of violence.

"They can't tell the world that they succeeded, because their target was to
overthrow our government," he told cheering supporters at his party's
headquarters in Harare.

And he said black MDC supporters were really whites. "Yes, you wear our
skin, but below that skin, you are white."

Mugabe's government regularly accuses the MDC of being a front for white
interests and former colonial power Britain.

Rights groups say there has been increased repression against the opposition
and rights activists by state agents in Zimbabwe during and after the
stay-away.
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