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

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New Zimbabwe

LETTER FROM KUTAMA: MTHULISI MATHUTHU


Black murder, white murder. The story of Zimbabwe

26/03/04
(READ MTHULISI'S PREVIOUS ARTICLES)
THERE is a dangerous notion about the story unfolding in Zimbabwe
which needs some tackling and frank analysis in order that historians may in
future not identify stupidity or dishonesty on our part.

It is that President Robert Mugabe's tyranny is essentially home grown
and is a surprise to the West and the entire world.

Independent newspapers in our country have also shaped this
unfortunate notion. Witness how, in their accounts, they omit the essential
link between our tragedy and the age-old outright dishonesty in Washington,
No 10 Downing Street and the Buckingham Palace.

Witness how if the Western institutions say a word of ridicule or
reprimand President Mugabe they fail to put it into a context to allow many
to identify the ground upon which Mugabe's exclusive tyranny stands.

By so doing they aid the official propaganda that the independent
press is solely "pro-West" and "anti-Zimbabwe". We have many gullible people
in Zimbabwe who probably matter more than the informed ones and they believe
such crap.

The true story is that this regime showed its colors right in its
infancy and the West knew everything about it but refused to act because
Mugabe was doing them a service. During the elections in 1980 Mugabe's
cohorts were out in the rural areas beating just about anybody who
campaigned in what they regarded as their territory.

After romping to victory the government went about erecting camps in
the areas where it had no support. In those camps anything happened. As
everybody now knows, the net result was gross abuse of human rights.

Consequently, about 20 000 people were either thrown down the disused
mine shafts or hacked into pieces before being thrown into dip-tanks and
anywhere.

The captain and author of this tragedy, President Mugabe remained a
saint. He was knighted and dined with the Queen, Kings and many other
Western leaders.

Once this story of Midlands and Matabeleland went out they all cried:
Lies.

Diligent journalists were even fired for daring report on the carnage.
Read Peter Godwin's book, Mukiwa. A brilliant story was wasted thanks to the
Western powers' unwillingness to have a friend and an ally in Southern
Africa (Mugabe) soiled in the middle of the Cold War which had to be won at
all costs.

With the region being a host of the Cold War clashes a puppet was
essential and even if the people were being killed. Worse if those dying
were poor black people with no powerful connections what so ever. In that
way Mugabe survived. A racial component is clearly not missing here.

Come the period between 2000 and today. Mugabe's hatchet men kill 9
whites, seize their farms and kill more than 150 black people. At once the
ostriches come home rushing. All the computers run the story.

All newsrooms send journalists down and Washington cries foul when
they are pushed out. Once a white farmer was gunned down outside Harare and
a picture showed his body guarded by his little pet the story wins prime
space all over the world which is good since cold blooded murder is
unacceptable anywhere.

But moral questions still arise. Is the murder of a white person in
2002 more shocking than the hacking of tens of pregnant women in Kezi in
1983?

What is more shocking between the deportation of Andrew Meldrum and
the firing of a journalist in London who reports clear cut genocide in
Zimbabwe?

In the 1980's the Observer fired a journalist who had a world class
scoop while Meldrum was deported for filing new angles to an old story yet
his fate won more space. Witness the discrepancies!

The argument that Mugabe is better today than he was in the 1980's is
evidently sustainable. We are witnessing here two devils that suddenly found
no more reason to work together that is why Mugabe is deliberately defying
the Western leaders because he is fully aware of their tactics since they
were his comrades.

His tactics are just the same as those of the Western warmongers. Like
Bush Mugabe believes in bombing, blackmail, propaganda, erecting
Guantanamos, killing, bribing and sheer deceit. That is not a coincidence
but it's a telling pattern.

Yes Blair was not there when Mugabe was being treated with kid gloves
but he is the Prime minister of a nation that brought Zimbabwe to where it
is today.

There are some traditions, which he has to keep and is keeping even if
he is a Labour MP. This entire current obsession about Mugabe as though he
has suddenly become good has tended to make the Zimbabwean ruler look like a
hero.

Mugabe who is supposed to occupy his true position as a puppet and
tyrant in the annals of history now lays claim to heroism. A story is not
being told how Africans in South Africa, Libya, DRC and many other countries
view Mugabe with much admiration.

Because of the recorded insincerity of the West these people wrongly
believe that Mugabe is being sacrificed for standing by his people. They
imagine that Mugabe is a true African leader who all his life has stood for
black emancipation through and through.

The truth is that once his friends in the West discarded him Mugabe's
mask fell and cleverly he picked it up and fled crying "imperialist".

Those who woke up at that moment saw as if a genuine black democrat
was fleeing an evil Blair and Bush and they embraced his delusional
rhetoric. A man who instigated one of the biggest atrocities in peacetime
has suddenly become an emancipator of the down trodden blacks! How ironic.

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The Scotsman

Can they change the world?

JAMES HALL
FOREIGN EDITOR


THEY were among the most powerful people in the world, men and women
who waged wars, made peace and managed to solve apparently intractable
political crises.

Now a group of former prime ministers, presidents, foreign secretaries
and diplomats have joined forces to create the ultimate think tank to advise
struggling governments.

Set up by FW de Klerk, the former president of South Africa, and
supported by George Bush senior and Nelson Mandela, the Global Leadership
Foundation (GLF) was to meet for the first time today at Chevening, the
official country residence of the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw.

The organisation's list of advisers reads like a who's who of
international politics and includes the former Czech president Vaclav Havel,
the former Portuguese prime minister Anibal Cavaco Silva, the former foreign
secretary Lord Hurd and the former Botswanan president Ketumile Masire.

Its patrons include Mr Bush, Mr Mandela, the former Polish Solidarity
leader Lech Walesa and the former West German chancellor Helmut Schmidt.

But, in contrast to high-profile mediators and advisers, such as the
former United States president Jimmy Carter and the international financier
George Soros, the foundation hopes to operate behind the scenes. Many of the
members' names have not even been made public.

The diplomatic brain bank will be a one-stop shop for emerging but
troubled democracies.

"Our aim is to support democratisation, to support leaders by helping
them through confidential and quiet advice, to adopt well-balanced economic
policies ... to help defuse threatening conflicts," Mr de Klerk said.

"We will be issue-driven. We will be focusing on a particular issue in
a particular country where, if the right decision is taken, it will open the
door to solutions."

The man who freed Mr Mandela in 1990 and four years later saw his
former prisoner elected president, said

the GLF's small secretariat, led by a former British career diplomat,
John Shepherd, has a list of ten potential target countries but declined to
list them, other than to say Zimbabwe was not among them.

"Zimbabwe is an example where we won't get involved. We won't advise
dictators who are only interested in continuing to be dictators. We won't
advise megalomaniacs and strengthen their hands to be successful
megalomaniacs," he said.

Lord Hurd said: "I don't know if it will be a success but it's worth a
try. When I saw the list [of members], I was rather encouraged. I think we
could be very helpful."

He noted two kinds of problems with which the foundation could help.
"The first is internal problems. If people have political problems inside a
country . sometimes it is useful to have people who have dealt with similar
problems in other countries.

"The second is disputes between countries where they don't want to go
to the Security Council or have a public argument but may want private help
to sort it out."

The foundation boasts senior figures from almost every corner of the
globe. The former Indian prime minister IK Gujral is on board, as is Mike
Moore, the New Zealand premier who went on to run the World Trade
Organisation.

It is also rumoured that Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan and Michel
Rocard, a former French prime minister, have joined. The United Nations'
secretary general, Kofi Annan, knows of the group's existence and appears to
have no objection.

Although the foundation is non profit-making, governments will have to
pay for the foundation's services to cover costs.

Peter Hinchcliffe, a former British ambassador to Jordan and Kuwait
and now an honorary lecturer on Middle East politics at the University of
Edinburgh, said he was not sure governments will want to pay for the advice.

"The people mentioned certainly have a wealth of expertise there.
Whether governments will pay them or not is a different matter."

He added: "It is reinventing the wheel in a way. It's been done before
and most of these groups meet once or twice and disappear without trace."

But he said it was worth trying.

"It can do no harm if people are prepared to listen to those great
minds, it could do some good."

That thinking feeling

THE Global Leadership Foundation is the latest international think
tank to draw on the expertise of world leaders.

The former United States president Jimmy Carter founded an
Atlanta-based think tank with his wife, Rosalynn, in 1982. The Carter Centre
promotes human rights and conflict resolution across the world.

Bill Clinton followed Mr Carter's lead after he left office, setting
up the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, a think tank and action centre
for foreign policy, conflict resolution and policy research.

George Soros, one of the world's richest men, has given billions
through his international network of Soros Foundations, held together by the
Open Society Institute - set up to promote open societies by shaping
government policy and supporting education, media, public health and human
and women's rights as well as social, legal and economic reform.

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ZBC

Fuel supplies remain low

27 March 2004
Fuel supplies in most parts of Harare have remained low with queues forming
at most stations that have the commodity.

A survey by Newsnet revealed that most service stations with fuel are
selling diesel at prices between $2 700 and $2 800 a litre while petrol is
selling at prices between $2 800 and$2 900

Chairperson of the Petroleum Marketers Association of Zimbabwe, Mr Masimba
Kambarami said inconsistencies in foreign currency have affected the fuel
sector.

He said the association is trying to resolve the situation so that the price
of fuel becomes more standard.

Mr Kambarami said since about 75 companies are vying for foreign currency,
one body, the petroleum marketers of zimbabwe has since been registered in
order to access foreign currency on behalf of all other fuel importing
companies.

This move is meant to stabilise the situation as well as to narrow the price
band.
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From ZWNEWS, 27 March


Zengeza voting


Voting began today in the by-election for the parliamentary seat of Zengeza,
amid renewed allegations of violence and fraud by the MDC. The opposition
party reported that two busloads of Zanu PF militia arrived in Harare by
train from Bulawayo last Tuesday in preparation for the poll. On Friday
afternoon, the opposition campaign headquarters, based at the Zengeza home
of its candidate James Makore, was attacked by a group of around 100 Zanu PF
militia. Ten opposition supporters were injured and had to be hospitalised.
A similar attack on the house on Thursday was repulsed. Makore's home was
also attacked last week. Earlier today, there were reports that Zanu PF
militia had sealed off the polling station at Zengeza 8 primary school, and
were throwing stones at voters arriving early for the 7 am start of voting
on first day of the by-election. The MDC also alleges that voters have been
bribed with cash payments. The Zengeza seat was left vacant after the
resignation of Tafadzwa Musekiwa, who won the poll in the constituency in
2000, and subsequently fled the country in fear of his life. Makore faces
Zanu PF's Christopher Chigumba, Tendai Chakanyuka of the National Alliance
for Good Governance and Gideon Chinogureyi of Zanu.
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Green stick

Dear Family and Friends,

The propaganda in Zimbabwe has reached new boundaries in the last
fortnight. First it was the mercenaries and their bolt cutters that made
headline news every night and still appear on virtually every television
bulletin. Now it is the BBC documentary on Zimbabwe's youth training
camps. Day after day ZBC have vehemently denied any wrong doing in
Zimbabwe's youth training programme. They deny the allegations exposed in
the film, deny rape, instruction in torture, human rights violations and
victimization of supporters of the political opposition. Unbelievably this
week, ZBC even flighted the entire BBC documentary here in Zimbabwe and
then followed it with a point by point denial of every millimetre of the
film. At the end of this "critique" on what was advertised as BBC's
"fiction", the ZBC presenter challenged the documentary producers to prove
their story, but this challenge was not accompanied by a removal of the
three year ban which has prohibited the BBC from entering or reporting
from inside Zimbabwe. Despite the fact that one of the women being
interviewed in the documentary is described as being a youth camp deserter
now in hiding in South Africa, ZBC announced triumphantly on Friday that
she was an actor. They said she was outside the country and offered as
proof the mountains and ocean behind her. Presumably this little gem was
intended for those of us who have not yet realised that Zimbabwe is a
landlocked country!

A week of propaganda reached dizzy heights on Friday morning when the
headline news on ZBC radio was that political anlaysts have described the
documentary as part of Britain's plan to control the world. It seems to
have completely escaped the notice of the state media and all their
political commentators and analysts that the opposition have been calling
for the closure of the youth training camps for two years. Also ignored by
ZBC was the announcement by a grouping of Zimbabwe's former war veterans
yesterday. Quoted in the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, the President of
the Liberator's Peace Initiative said that they too had interviewed
deserters from the youth training camps. Max Mnkandla said that what they
have established "is exactly what was highlighted in the BBC programme."

The propaganda presently suffocating Zimbabwe about mercenaries and
British Plots to take over the world have done nothing to help cloud the
real issues consuming Zimbabweans this week. We are again a country
crippled without petrol. The capital city still has some fuel queues but
in smaller towns like Marondera there is nothing to even queue for. We are
also a country gripped by panic about the safety of our money in banks
which are collapsing, being closed or going into receivership. This week I
have met three people who had their life savings in a building society
which used to be called Founders before it was taken over by a bigger
company. That company has been closed and the money belonging to ordinary
men and women is lost, savings are gone and no one knows who to turn to
for help or how to survive. Recently an American writer on matters
Zimbabwean said that what had frightened her was to see how much people
here bend as the situation deteriorates. We bend, and bend and then bend
some more and surely the point must come when, like a green stick,
eventually we will break? Until next week, with love, cathy. Copyright
cathy buckle 27th March 2004.
http://africantears.netfirms.com My books on the Zimbabwean crisis, "African
Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available outside Africa from:
orders@africabookcentre.com ; www.africabookcentre.com ; www.amazon.co.uk ;
in
Australia and New Zealand: johnmreed@johnreedbooks.com.au ; Africa:
www.kalahari.net www.exclusivebooks.com

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BBC
Strang brothers 'frozen out'
By Matthew Allen

Paul Strang
Paul Strang played 24 Tests and 95 ODIs for Zimbabwe
Former Zimbabwe Test players Paul and Bryan Strang claim they have been frozen out of first-class cricket in the country because of their controversial views.

Paul, 33, believes he was dropped from Manicaland last season because he criticised the Zimbabwe Cricket Union's (ZCU) quota system during his time as head of the players' cricket association.

And Bryan has now been barred from taking part in Zimbabwe's Logan Cup competition following his public objections to the way the game is run, according to reports.

Bryan, 31, was among a group of players who said Zimbabwe should not be allowed to host matches during the 2003 World Cup.

And he wrote to Wisden Cricketer magazine in February saying: "A union which promotes racial division and does nothing about hate speech should not be given the courtesy of touring democratic countries."

Do we all have to toe the line and be clones to play first class cricket in Zimbabwe?
Paul Strang

The pair's exclusion follows the retirement from international cricket of a number of Test players including former captain Andy Flower and pace bowler Henry Olonga, who wore black armbands during a World Cup match to protest against what they described as the "death of democracy".

Leg-spinner Paul Strang played in 24 Tests between 1994-2001, taking 70 wickets and scoring 839 runs, including a top score of 106 not out, and also represented Zimbabwe in 95 one-day internationals.

His younger brother took part in 26 Tests and 49 limited-overs internationals.

"It came as a bit of a blow to be left out of the Manicaland side last year, particularly as I had played well the previous season," Paul told the BBC Sport.

Henry Olonga
Olonga staged a black armband protest during the World Cup
"I wasn't given a reason, but when I was head of the players' association I had been very vocal about various aspects of the game I believed to be wrong, including the quotas system.

"Bryan would have been happy playing second XI cricket, but when asked Manicaland they said: 'We definitely don't want him.'

"It seems you have to be a 'yes man' and be a puppet on a string to play for the ZCU. They don't seem to apply the normal parameters for selection, but use other things than a player's statistics.

"Do we all have to toe the line and be clones to play first-class cricket in Zimbabwe?"

Henry Olonga says freezing out players who criticise the running of the game is typical of the ZCU.

"According to the ZCU, they are an apolitical organisation, but the way they deal with any players who have shown any form of dissent is not consistent with that," he told BBC Sport.

"I made my comments and I got censured. All sorts of things happened to me after I took my stance.

"Many players who have had the freedom to speak their minds about what's happened in Zimbabwe very often find themselves ostracised."

A Zimbabwe Cricket Union spokesman declined to comment.

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VOA

Clashes Mar First Day of Zimbabwe Special Elections
Tendai Maphosa
Harare
27 Mar 2004, 17:09 UTC


Clashes between rival political groups marred the first of two day's
in Zimbabwe's special elections.
Tension ran high between supporters of President Robert Mugabe's
ZANU-PF party and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change in the
Zengeza constituency near Harare where voting for a vacant parliamentary
seat started Saturday.

The MDC charges that police arrested youth members of both parties
after ZANU-PF sympathizers allegedly tried to stop people they suspected of
supporting the opposition from voting.

Chairman of Zimbabwe's independent Electoral Support Network, Reginald
Matchaba-Hove, said, while skirmishes had occurred, there were no reports of
serious violence. The network confirmed, however, that the home of the
opposition candidate was attacked by ZANU-PF supporters earlier this week.

The Zengeza seat fell vacant after the MDC member of parliament for
the area went into self-imposed exile, alleging harassment by members of the
ruling party.



The MDC won 57 in the 150-member parliament in the 2000 parliamentary
elections. The ruling party won 62. The remaining 30 were selected by
President Mugabe.

The strongly contested Zengeza seat is seen as a test of the ruling
party's support in urban areas ahead of the parliamentary elections
scheduled for March 2005. Moreover, should Mr. Mugabe's party win this and
less than a handful of other seats, it would acquire the two thirds majority
in the house of parliament in needs to amend the constitution and pass any
legislation it wants.

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SABC

Zimbabwe opposition fights for urban hold in vote

March 27, 2004, 10:55

Zimbabweans went to the polls today in a parliamentary by-election seen as a
crucial test of the main opposition's hold on urban areas ahead of general
elections next year.

Defeat in Zengeza, some 35km southeast of the capital Harare, would be a
blow for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which has ceded three
parliamentary seats to Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party over the last
four years.

Officials said polling started promptly at 7am and there were no reports of
any violence. Both the ruling Zanu-PF party and the main opposition MDC have
accused each other of perpetrating violence during the campaign period. "Its
all looking very quiet. We haven't heard any reports of trouble yet," said
one polling officer. Voting ends tomorrow with results expected on Monday.

MDC support greater in urban areas
Formed in 1999, the MDC has drawn most of its support from urban Zimbabweans
disgruntled with the government as the former British colony grapples with
an economic crisis many blame on government mismanagement. However, the
ruling party has vowed to re-claim urban supporters, saying the MDC, which
it calls a puppet of former colonial power Britain, has failed to live up to
its promises.

Mugabe, who turned 80 in February, denies mismanaging the economy and argues
instead that it has been sabotaged by foreign and local opponents in
retaliation for his forcible redistribution of white-owned farms among
landless blacks. The Zengeza seat was left vacant after the resignation last
year of Tafadzwa Musekiwa, the MDC legislator, who fled to Britain citing
political persecution by ruling party supporters.

Since the last parliamentary elections held in 2000, Zanu-PF party has won
10 out of 13 by-elections to the 150-seat legislature, including three seats
wrested from the MDC amid charges of rigging. Victory in Zengeza would take
Zanu-PF a step closer to the two-thirds majority it needs to push through
constitutional changes in parliament. - Reuters
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Presidential Salary, Allowances Increased



The Herald (Harare)

March 27, 2004
Posted to the web March 26, 2004

Harare

THE Government gazetted a new salary and allowances for the President or
Acting President with effect from January this year.

According to a statutory instrument published in yesterday's Government
Gazette, the President or Acting President now earns $73,7 million a year up
from $20,2 million.

In addition, the President and Acting President would get a Cabinet
allowance of $2,8 million a year, up from $1,4 million and a general
allowance of $1,6 million up from $840 000.

The President would get a housing allowance of $3,024 million a year, up
from $1,5 million and annual gratuity equivalent to the monthly salary with
effect from January.

The President or Acting President's salary was last reviewed in July last
year.

Vice President's annual salaries were last year increased from $2,7 million
a year to $18,4 million while the Speaker of Parliament's salary was hiked
from $2,5 million to $17,3 million a year.

Cabinet ministers salaries went up last year to $16,5m a year, up from $2,4m
while provincial governors and Ministers of State had their salaries
increased from $2,4m to $16,2m per annum.

General allowances for Vice-Presidents, Cabinet ministers, Provincial
Governors, the Speaker of Parliament and MPs were not increased.
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Ccosa Lecturers Down Tools



The Herald (Harare)

March 27, 2004
Posted to the web March 26, 2004

Harare

FULL-TIME lecturers at Christian College of Southern Africa yesterday went
on strike demanding a salary increment of 600 percent.

The lecturers said they were irked by the recent salary increment of between
600 percent and 900 percent given to part time lecturers.

"From the 600 percent and 900 percent that they have given to the part time
lecturers, we only want a 600 percent salary increment," vice chairman of
workers committee, Mr Richard Mhukarume said.

The least paid full-time lecturer takes home a salary of $88 000 while head
of departments get a gross salary of $300 000, the lecturers said.

By 7am yesterday, the lecturers had locked themselves in at the colleges
offices along Samora Machel Avenue singing and chanting slogans.

Some wielded placards denouncing the college principal, Mr Munyaradzi
Madambi, who was briefly locked outside of his office.

Scores of students were milling outside the college waiting for the outcome
of the meeting, in which the principal was expected to address the
lecturers.

Mr Madambi said the lecturers were awarded a 100 percent salary increase in
January.

He said CCOSA was a non-profit making institution and relied heavily on
students' fees.

"We make sure that salaries are in line with the cash flow of the
institution and another salary increase would have an impact on students
fees," Mr Madambi said.

He said the college would close if it was to award a 600 percent salary
increment as it faced financial problems.

Mr Madambi promised the lecturers a 100 percent salary increment next month
backdated to February, a position that the lecturers decried as "too
little".

The principal said he appreciated the lecturers' demand for a salary
increase, but said they should not compare themselves with the part timers.

"We gave a salary increment of between 600 and 900 percent to part time
lecturers because that is what the market forces are demanding. We cannot
afford to lose good lecturers through paying the least salaries on the
market," Mr Madambi said.

Students fees were increased by between 50 and 400 percent this year after
which the lecturers were given a 100 percent salary increment, he said.

Students pay between $5 000 and $60 000 a month, depending on the course for
each of the six academic programmes. The lectures have refused to accept the
100 percent salary increment and say they will not go back to work until
their demands are met.

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Mbare: a Forgotten Suburb



The Herald (Harare)

ANALYSIS
March 27, 2004
Posted to the web March 26, 2004

Ruth Butaunocho
Harare

A THREE-YEAR-OLD child munching a slice of dry bread wads across a smelly
stream of raw sewerage gushing from a burst pipe along a street in Harare*s
oldest suburb of Mbare.

The toddler, paying little attention to calls by her mother to stop playing
in the muck, soon trips over and falls into the sludge still clutching her
piece of bread.

Unperturbed the toddler simply picks up the bread and continues eating, much
to the chagrin of her mother.

A car soon passes by, splashing the sludge barely missing half a dozen
street vendors selling cooked and roasted maize cobs across the road.

Such is life in most parts of Mbare where residents watch helplessly as
their residential area deteriorates into a slum each passing day.

Broken water taps, potholes, cracked and dilapidated houses with broken
window panes and flowing raw sewerage are some of the common features that
residents of the suburb have had to live with for years.

One of the first few suburbs to be built for blacks during the colonial era,
Mbare was built by British colonial settlers in the 1890s for African
migrant labourers from the countryside who helped develop the city to what
it is today.

But now, more than a century later, Mbare has become a forgotten suburb.

In fact it now resembles Khayelitsha in Cape Town, South Africa, a suburb
where the apartheid regime created an inhabitable slum-like township for
blacks and fenced it off as if not to offend the whites.

Residents of Mbare have agonisingly watched the suburb deteriorate despite
unending promises that the suburb would get a face lift.

They even dreamt of a time when they would all wake up one morning to find
all roads swept clean, the burst pipes repaired and Mbare Musika being rid
of all elements that have contributed to the demise of the suburb.

But because of countless unfulfilled promises by the city council to
rehabilitate the general outlook of the suburb and other vital service
centres, the general populace has developed a rather sceptical view of the
possibility of the projects being implemented.

They have now resigned themselves to fate and no longer have the desire to
pursue the issue with their councillors.

Many can only remember with nostalgia, how life was in the suburb 20 years
ago.

Mrs Edna Chinemberi says the residents have lost count of the promises made
by the local authorities to upgrade the suburb.

"We live on the edge. Promises that have been made to upgrade areas like
Mbare Musika, Joburg Lines are too numerous to mention," said Mrs
Chinembiri.

"Being an old suburb, things that need to be maintained are many, but we
don*t know when this is going to happen".

Having grown up in Mbare in the 60*s, Mrs Chinembiri vividly remembers how
the youth then had access to municipality facilities such as swimming pools,
playgrounds and halls, where all community social functions were held.

Because many families survived on vending, parents would send their children
to Mbare Musika to sell wares without fear of them being harassed, let alone
lose their goods to thieves and muggers.

Explained Mrs Chinembiri: "Mbare Musika has always been a source of
livelihood for thousands of people who live in the suburb today.

"As such, this is one area which the city fathers should urgently upgrade so
that people continue to earn an honest living."

Echoing her sentiments, another resident who has lived in the suburb for
more than 20 years Mrs Viola Shoniwa believes that the long awaited
upgrading of the suburb could open up more opportunities for thousands of
youths in the area who are currently involved in prostitution, robbery and
other vices.

"The young generation is demanding services like recreational facilities as
well as employment.

"We also would want to see the problem of overcrowding looked into," she
says.

Like many other residents of Mbare, Mrs Shoniwa is convinced no meaningful
development will ever come to the suburb, as is the case in other suburbs of
the city.

"Look around, nearly every other suburb now has a shopping mall, renovated
clinics, and other services. But what about us?"

Promises to reconstruct and renovate Mbare Musika have been in the pipeline
since the early 1980s, but lack of action has always revolved around the
issue of "unavailability" of funds.

Mbare*s problems are organisational as much as they are related to planning,
but are coupled with an apparent absence of a clear strategy to deal with
inadequate services resulting from overcrowding in the suburb.

For instance Mbare Musika bus terminus was established more than three
decades ago when traffic of long distance buses and passengers was far less
than it is today.

But now thousands of people use the terminus daily, with even greater
numbers at the weekends and during public holidays.

One of the problems that has affected the development and upgrading of Mbare
has been the shortage of land for developmental purposes.

But city fathers could take their cue from developmental initiatives by
private developers in and around Harare, where conventional shopping malls
and office complexes shops have been constructed to maximise on limited
space.

The latest such development to set root in the city is a shopping mall at
the market square commonly referred to as "China city" because of the number
of Asian proprietors with shops.
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Abused mother must go, but her children can stay

Ian MacLeod
The Ottawa Citizen


Saturday, March 27, 2004
Canada has denied refugee protection to an abused woman from Zimbabwe, yet
has granted refugee status to her children, a move that will see the single
mother deported and, she says, forced to abandon her three young children
here.

A copy of the March 11 federal refugee board decision sits on the living
room table in the woman's small Ottawa apartment where she and her children
live on social assistance. Her pleasant, round face is drenched with tears
as she recounts her marriage to a Zimbabwean man who, after the wedding,
enacted strict Islamic code in their household and demonized her western
lifestyle.

It was the beginning of what she says turned into years of physical and
sexual abuse and death threats as well as emotional abuse against their
children. When she called police, she was repeatedly told domestic abuse is
not a police matter in Zimbabwe.

After securing a divorce and fearing for her life, she packed some suitcases
and fled with her children to Canada, "the last place he would think of
looking for me."

She arrived with $1,200 U.S. and the phone number of a Canadian family she
did not know, but who agreed to shelter her and the children in the basement
of their home until she could get refugee protection.

Because of the apparent danger they face, the Citizen has agreed not to
reveal the names of the woman and her children and, where possible, other
details that might reveal their identities. For the same reason, the
newspaper has not contacted her ex-husband for comment.

The refugee board's decision landed in her mailbox this week. Two of her
children, both under the age of 12, are citizens of Zimbabwe and the board
found there was sufficient evidence to grant them protection from having to
return there. (Her third child, an eight-month-old boy, was born in Canada
by another father.)

Yet based on the same evidence, the refugee board rejected the woman's claim
because she is a citizen of Britain. She was born outside of Zimbabwe and
never had full citizenship there.

Under Canada's refugee law, she can only be considered for refugee status if
she can establish that there is a reasonable chance she would be in danger
in Britain. But the board ruled Britain, which has extensive initiatives to
combat domestic abuse, is capable of protecting her and that she is
therefore not in need of protection from Canada.

"In refugee law, that's a very difficult decision to overturn," says
Geraldine MacDonald, the woman's Toronto lawyer.

But the woman says her ex-husband has relatives and other contacts in
Britain and she believes he will eventually find her. And because he
repeatedly failed to abide by an earlier protection order issued against him
in Zimbabwe, she has no reason to believe he'll respect British law.

"That would be the first place that he would look for me. A protection order
didn't stop him before, it's not going to stop him now. If he wants me dead,
he's going to kill me.

"If I have to, I'm going to try to find a legal guardian for the children
because the whole purpose for coming here was that he wouldn't be able to
get them. If I take them to the U.K. and he kills me, he gets the children.
It's better for them to stay here."

She now wonders whether she should have hidden in Canada illegally.

"I've done everything to be honest and above board and feel that it's been
to my detriment. There are a lot of people who come here (and) tear up their
documentation, they pretended to be who they're not, and they're allowed to
stay because people can't prove that they're not who they claim they are.

"I could have torn up my British passport and said that I was not British. I
could have done so many things and I

didn't."

Even Richard Dawson, the refugee board member who decided the case, seems
sympathetic to the woman's plight, the facts of which he accepted without
reservation.

"The panel must point out that it feels a great deal of concern for her
obvious emotional suffering and would hope that she is seeking appropriate
treatment to aid in her healing," Mr. Dawson wrote in his decision. (The
woman and her children have had intensive counselling. All three have been
diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.)

Ms. MacDonald says a notice was to be filed with the Federal Court of Canada
yesterday requesting leave for a judicial review of the board's decision.
But given the woman's U.K. citizenship, it seems unlikely the Federal Court
will be swayed.

The notice will, however, buy the woman approximately 30 days before the
deportation order becomes enforceable. After that, and if no further appeal
actions are launched, she will have 30 days to leave Canada.

The woman's best hope, says Ms. MacDonald, is that she starts a separate
action seeking to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

But because the woman is on social assistance and legal aid will very likely
not cover the costs of a full appeal or humanitarian plea, she has turned

to the Citizen to publicize her story. Her hope is that people will donate
money to a trust fund that a local church is planning to established for
her.

It is estimated that she would need about $2,700 to launch an action to stay
on humanitarian grounds. A Federal Court appeal would cost about $2,000
more.

"I have to find money to stay," she says. "Maybe even a lawyer will say,
'I'll do it for free.'"

She has explained the situation to her oldest children.

"I've been very forward and very up front with them because I feel that they
need to know. I don't want to drop a bombshell on them next week and say 'I
have to go' and they're not aware of what's going on.

"My eldest is devastated and brought all the pocket money that I gave them
and said 'Mommy, take it back," to pay for an appeal.

She and her ex-husband met in their 20s. She was Christian, he was Muslim.
"He was very, very friendly. He wasn't ever overly loving, but he was a nice
person."

After dating for about two years, they married in a traditional Muslim
ceremony.

Three days later, "he started wearing a long traditional dress and headdress
and started growing out his beard. His family came in and took everything
that was westernized, including my clothing, and I was wearing the full
covering of hijab.

"It was a very big surprise. There was this completely different person that
I didn't know. I knew Islamic fundamentalism existed in the community but I
didn't know that he was part of that."

Her husband soon joined a militant Islamic religious group.

"He started going away for religious purposes. When he'd come back he'd just
be so aggressive and so angry. There was so much hatred, especially for the
Jews. (He said) I support the Taliban, I'm going to go away and join them,
all kinds of stuff like this."

The physical abuse started after she became pregnant with their first child.

"If his dinner wasn't ready on time, he'd beat me up. If I didn't say my
prayers, he'd beat me up."

In a 14,000-word statement she filed with the refugee board, she chronicles
her nightmare of steadily escalating violence, including sexual torture, and
how her husband pushed her down some stairs when he learned she was pregnant
again. She miscarried.

He later threaten to take the children if she left him "and I really
believed that. In Zimbabwe, there is not a lot of support for abused women."

Finally, after he tried to strangle her one night -- one of her children
stopped the attack by repeatedly kicking him -- she sought a divorce, which
was granted several months later. She eventually moved into the home of
friends. She also won custody of the children and had a protection order
issued against him, to no avail.

"I know he had to pay fines for violating the protection

order, but it was maybe a $50 fine and then he was let loose straight away.
Often times, he'd be right back at my house after an hour, an hour and a
half. It was constant."

She says he twice abducted the children from their school. With the help of
police, they were soon located, physically unharmed, in the homes of his
relatives and friends.

After the second abduction, in front of police officers, "he said that the
world was too small for the two of us to be living in and he was going to
kill me and take his children back. And the police just stood there and did
nothing. I decided then that I had to leave."

Saying she was going on a short holiday with the children to a nearby
country, he gave his written permission that the children could be taken out
of Zimbabwe. Instead, she headed for Canada.

"It's a very good place to hide."

On one of the flights here, she met an African couple who gave the name of a
Ugandan refugee who had settled in Canada. Two days later, she arrived at
Toronto's Pearson airport, presented her British passport and the travel
note signed by the father, and told a customs officer she and her children
were on a holiday.

She then called her Ugandan contact, explained her situation, and was soon
living in the basement of his family's home.

"I just stayed in hiding there, I was too scared to go out for fear that
somebody would see me and recognize me."

Two months later, she filed refugee claims for herself and the children, who
were soon accepted into a Canadian school. The family moved to Ottawa last
April.

Her lawyer, Ms. MacDonald, says the refugee board's decision to grant the
children protection in Canada serves as a possible foundation for their
mother to seek permission to stay based on humanitarian and compassionate
grounds.

Mr. Dawson, the refugee board member who made the ruling, "was very
sympathetic and was, I think, as far as he could, trying to help her.
Perhaps this is the kind of case that Canada can assist somebody like this,
where the family would be separated. This is a type of situation for
humanitarian and compassionate relief."

The Ottawa Citizen 2004


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