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

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Zimbabwe a Textbook Case of Bad Governance, U.S. Official Says

United States Department of State (Washington, DC)

February 28, 2005
Posted to the web March 1, 2005

Bruce Greenberg
Washington, DC

State Department's Woods says country's government in need of restoration

As many countries of sub-Saharan Africa work to strengthen their
democracies, Zimbabwe seems to be rushing headlong in the opposite
direction, a U.S. State Department official said February 23.

With "free and fair elections" such as those in Ghana, Niger and Malawi
becoming the norm, said Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African
Affairs Thomas Woods, Zimbabwe's government, once seen as making progress
toward a free-market democracy, "has now become a textbook case of bad and
illegitimate governance."

Woods spoke at an American Enterprise Institute forum on Zimbabwe held at
the institute's headquarters in Washington.

The "overall trend towards good governance and democratic rule among the
nations of western and southern Africa" makes the downward spiral of
Zimbabwe even more tragic and disheartening, Woods said.

What once was the "breadbasket of southern Africa," he lamented, cannot now
feed itself. "Over the last five years the country's economy has imploded,
shrinking by more than 40 percent, and giving it the distinction of being
the world's fastest declining economy," he pointed out.

Woods added that with some 3 million Zimbabweans in exile, many of them
highly educated, and most fleeing to South Africa and neighboring regions,
"Zimbabwe has become a drain on the region.

"There is political, press and individual oppression. Only the selected
members of Zimbabwe's ruling party (ZANU-PF) are prospering. When democracy
and market economics have put down solid roots in many parts of Africa,
Zimbabwe offers a clear counter-example of a leader [President Robert
Mugabe] willing to do anything to stay in power and thwart the will and best
interests of [his] people," Woods said.

While citing the recent testimony of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in which she called Zimbabwe
"one of six outposts of tyranny in the world," Woods affirmed that "helping
to advance the president's call for greater freedom in the world is our core
mission in Zimbabwe."

To that end, he said, the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act
remains the cornerstone of U.S. policy toward that country. Through its
provisions, the United States -- joined by the European Union [EU] and
others -- maintains financial and travel sanctions that signal international
disapproval of the way that Zimbabwe's ruling elite have trampled on
democratic freedoms, and give an incentive for moderate behavior.

At the same time, the United States has never taken actions to harm the
Zimbabwean people, Woods emphasized. "There is no blockade, nor trade
sanctions, because we don't want to harm innocent people. We continue to
[implement] the largest HIV/AIDS program of any donor in Zimbabwe. And we
are helping to feed over five million Zimbabweans" who have been adversely
affected by the agricultural policies of the Mugabe government.

Referring to the parliamentary elections that will be held March 31, the
diplomat said many fear they will be tainted by intimidation of the main
opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and the
electorate in general. Nonetheless, he said, these elections, "even if
imperfect, can be a turning point, and a first step toward national
restoration -- if they result in a parliament that reflects Zimbabwe's
entire electorate and gives voice to all the elements of the political
spectrum."

"All political groups must have access to the media; there must be free and
open political debate with candidates to be able to communicate with all
segments of the population. Robert Mugabe has it in his power to meet all
these conditions. Anything less will ensure that the elections are a farce
and will achieve nothing except to perpetuate Zimbabwe's isolation and
economic crisis."

Despite the negatives, Woods emphasized, there are many conditions in
Zimbabwe that bode well for a successful transformation to democracy: an
educated populace, vestiges of a productive economic infrastructure, and a
large and vocal civil society.

Finally, he said, the key to democracy in Zimbabwe lies within the region.
"Regional governments and public opinion have more potential to influence
events in Zimbabwe than anything done by faraway countries such as the
United States. The government in Harare cares about its standing in the
region."
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IOL

Mugabe 'disappointed' by new black farmers
          March 01 2005 at 04:32PM

      Harare - Less than half of the millions of acres seized from white
farmers and given to black commercial farmers is properly used, Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe was quoted as saying by state television on Tuesday.

      "President Mugabe expressed disappointment with the land use by A2
(commercial) farmers, saying only 44 percent of the land distributed is
being fully utilised," television cited Mugabe as saying.

      "He warned the farmers that government will not hesitate to
re-distribute land that is not being utilised," it said.

      Mugabe was speaking at a rural school near his birthplace, where he
donated 40 computers to four schools in the area.

      A government land audit report released late last year showed that
4.2-million hectares of land had been allocated to fewer than 200 000 black
commercial farmers and ordinary agriculturists.

      Zimbabwe embarked on its land redistribution programme in February
2000, taking away prime farm land owned by 4 500 white farmers and handing
it over to the landless black majority.

      Before the land seizures, 70 percent of the most fertile land in the
country was owned by white farmers who were mainly descendants of British
settlers.

      Of the 4 500 large-scale commercial white farmers operating in
Zimbabwe five years ago, there are about 600 now. Many have relocated to
neighbouring countries and as far afield as Nigeria.

      In December last year, government officials reported that less than a
quarter of planned Zimbabwean land had been put under crop, raising fears of
looming food shortages this year.

      A combination of factors, including poor planning, lack of resources,
Aids and drought have led to a huge slump in agricultural production in
recent years in the southern African country, once a breadbasket of Africa
and a food exporter. - Sapa-AFP
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Zimbabwe: New Farmers Without Workers

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

March 1, 2005
Posted to the web March 1, 2005

Harare

New commercial farmers who benefited from Zimbabwe's fast-track land reform
programme are now hamstrung by a lack of labour to work their fields.

Unions representing farmers and farm workers admit that the shortage of
labour is acute, and have warned that urgent action is needed to revive the
agricultural sector, thrown into disarray by the land redistribution
programme that began in 2000.

An estimated 300,000 farm workers were displaced during the government's
accelerated land reform programme, when white commercial farmers were
removed from their farms to make way for black settlers.

Only a small number of the workers remained on the land because of the poor
wages being offered by the new farmers, who were struggling to get on their
feet. Some preferred to return home, while others sought employment in
nearby towns or took up illegal gold panning.

"The problem is very serious, and even though there are other factors like
drought, there is hardly anything going on the farms. Farm workers are
shunning us for a number of reasons, but the foremost factor is that of
wages," acknowledged Denford Chimbwanda, chairman of the Grain and Cereal
Producers' Association.

"The workers are asking for unrealistic wages", he told IRIN. "Farmers are
still struggling to consolidate their activities and there is no way in
which the workers should ask for so much, otherwise we will collapse."

There was a real danger, Chimbwanda said, of the maize and wheat that had
already matured rotting in the fields because the new commercial farmers
could not get enough labour to harvest their crops.

The minimum monthly wage for a general farm worker is currently Zim $169,000
(about US $28), but according to the latest report by the Consumer Council
of Zimbabwe, an average family requires Zim $1.5 million ($248) a month to
live on.

Memory Murombedzi, a veteran journalist who now owns 300 hectares of land,
acknowledged that she was battling to find labour she could afford to help
with her 10 hectares of tobacco.

She has only nine full-time workers and has to rely on part-time labour from
the nearby town of Chegutu. Every morning she sends a tractor 30 km to town
in search of workers, but it sometimes returns empty because the going daily
rate was more than she could afford.

"I have been forced to contract workers, but they do not report for duty
regularly," said Murombedzi. "They mostly prefer go to the farmer paying the
most."

Julius Ngorima, president of the Zimbabwe Association of Tobacco Growers,
said if the current labour shortage persisted, production would continue to
suffer. "This tragedy could not have come at a worse time. The production of
tobacco is a labour-intensive process and the leaf could rot if it is not
speedily cured," he told IRIN.

Before the advent of the land reform programme, Zimbabwe accounted for 19
percent of the world's total tobacco exports, but since then production has
slumped from 237,000 mt in 2000 to 60,000 mt in 2004, according to a US
Department of Agriculture report.

Ngorima said most of the displaced farm workers preferred to work two or
three times a week, adding that some of the contract farmers now also owned
their own plots, which required their attention.

"While it is desirable to pay these workers more than the minimum wage, the
economy is generally in bad shape. Inflation also affects the employers, who
have to contend with spiralling prices of inputs, farm equipment and huge
electricity bills," he explained.

The official daily newspaper, the Herald, recently reported that the
electricity supply of a significant number of new farmers had been
discontinued because of unpaid bills, jeopardising the tobacco curing
process.

However, the General Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe
(GAPWUZ) has accused farmers of exploitation. "We have had a tough time
trying to negotiate for better wages for farm workers through the National
Employment Council because the new farmers keep on insisting that they do
not have the money," GAPWUZ general secretary, Gertrude Hambiya told IRIN.

Ngorima urged the government to assist farmers with loans, to be disbursed
in good time, part of which could be used to pay workers proper wages.

But GAPWUZ cautioned the not all farmers had the welfare of their labourers
at heart.

"We are aware that farmers misrepresent facts, by and large. They go and
obtain funding from government departments and state that 60 percent of the
money they apply for will go towards wages and salaries. Instead, they will
divert the money to other uses, sometimes totally unrelated to agriculture,
hence their failure to pay the workers," Hambiya alleged.

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

Cosatu plans vigil at Beit Bridge
Sapa

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Members of the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) will picket overnight at
Zimbabwe's border post the day before elections take place in that country.

The protests on March 30 would be the culmination of other blockades and
demonstrations throughout March at the Beit Bridge border post and at the
Zimbabwe High Commission in Pretoria.

Cosatu secretary-general Zwelenzima Vavi said the protests signified how
little faith workers in Zimbabwe and South Africa had in the elections set
to take place on March 31.

"Clearly we can see what will happen beyond March 31; the winner will be the
one with the odds skewed in his favour," Vavi said at a press conference in
Johannesburg.

He said Cosatu expected to have to continue to fight for worker's rights
after the elections, and were "bracing ourselves for further actions".

Cosatu would not call for economic sanctions against the country unless
requested to by the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions, Vavi said.

"We are not leading the struggle, we are supporting the Zimbabwean workers.
The main struggle must happen in Zimbabwe," he said.

Protests at the Zimbabwe High Commission would take place on March 9 and
March 16, with a mass march to the commission on March 23, Vavi said. The
border blockades would occur on March 11, and 18, with another mass march
and night vigil on March 30.

He said the regional branches were in the process of submitting applications
to the police and local authorities for permission to demonstrate.

Vavi said this sort of border mass action was neither abnormal nor illegal.
He would be "very worried" if permissions were not granted, he said.

"We would have to ask what is special with Zimbabwe?" Asked what Cosatu
hoped to achieve with its actions this month, Vavi said: "A struggle is not
an event. It is a process that may, in time, produce a result.

"We were asked the same question when we were struggling against apartheid,
but we persisted." The trade union federation also revealed the programme
for its 20th anniversary conference which will take place from March 5 to 7
in Midrand.

Speakers include Deputy President Jacob Zuma, labour minister Membathisi
Mdladlana, and critics of Cosatu from left and right of the political
spectrum, Vavi said.

"We are not just inviting good friends who agree with us." He said the
conference aimed to spark critical thinking about the performance of Cosatu
over the last 10 years, and its future direction.

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The Scotsman
Tue 1 Mar 2005
Straw Accused of 'Deafening Silence' on Zimbabwe

By Trevor Mason, PA Parliamentary Editor

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw was accused by the Tories today of a "deafening
silence" over human rights abuses in Zimbabwe ahead of the general election
there.

Shadow foreign secretary Michael Ancram warned that "quiet diplomacy" was
simply not enough in the face of President "Mugabe's tyranny".

 But junior Foreign Office minister Chris Mullin rejected the charges and
insisted "strong" objections had been raised with the Zimbabwean ambassador
late last month over the "continued intimidation" of the media and
opposition politicians.

"I made clear that we wanted to see free and fair elections and that these
developments augured badly. We had a robust exchange," he told the Commons
at question time.

"We see no sign at all that Zimbabwe is preparing for a fair election. As in
the past, the electoral register contains thousands of ghost voters and many
entitled to vote have been left off.

"Journalists are being harassed, independent newspapers suppressed and
opposition meetings are broken up."

Mr Ancram, however, was critical of the Government's response.

"Given his vocal support for democratic elections in Iraq and the Ukraine,
why the deafening silence from the Foreign Secretary on Zimbabwe's coming
election?" he asked.

"With opposition candidates being beaten up, newspapers being banned, with
politicians rather than judges imprisoning political opponents ... quiet
diplomacy and quite words with the High Commissioner for Zimbabwe are simply
not enough.

"What is the Government going to do to protect the the democratic rights of
the people of Zimbabwe from Mugabe's tyranny or is he, once again, for the
third time under this Government's watch, going to be allowed to laugh in
the face of democracy, while this Government walks by on the other side?"

Mr Mullin said: "We're always in the market for constructive suggestions but
we don't hear many from you. What we hear is a great deal of huffing and
puffing ... which frankly won't make the slightest difference.

"Indeed it plays straight into Mr Mugabe's hands because one of the planks
of his electoral platform is that the opposition in Zimbabwe are British
stooges.

"That is not the case but every time you and your colleagues start letting
their mouths go, it does rather give that impression.

"We haven't been at all silent on what is going on in Zimbabwe. One thing we
have achieved is the rollover for another 12 months of EU sanctions."

Senior Tory Sir Peter Tapsell (Louth and Horncastle) asked: "Has this Labour
Government explained to Mr Mugabe the splendid opportunities for electoral
fraud offered by the widespread introduction of postal voting?"

Amid laughter, Mr Mullin replied: "No we haven't. When it comes to electoral
fraud there's not a lot we can teach Mr Mugabe."

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Mail and Guardian

      Observer team to get to Zim 'as soon as possible'

      Pretoria

      01 March 2005 01:34

            The Southern African Development Community (SADC) hoped to
speedily set up a team to observe Zimbabwe's March 31 elections, South
Africa's Deputy Foreign Minister, Aziz Pahad, said on Tuesday.

            South Africa, as chair of SADC's organ on politics, defence and
security, has sent letters to member countries asking for nominations for
the observer mission.

            The team would not be limited to observing the actual elections,
but would also be tasked with ensuring that conditions were conducive for a
free and fair poll, Pahad told reporters in Pretoria.

            The team's departure date would "depend on the capacity of the
[SADC] secretariat to get the delegation ready". Its size would be
determined by available resources.

            As to South Africa's own participation, Pahad said the country
has been invited to observe the Zimbabwean poll in at least five different
capacities.

            It has been invited as a member of SADC, as chairperson of the
organ on politics, defence and security, and as a neighbouring country. The
ruling African National Congress has also been asked to send an observer
team, while Parliament has set up a multi-party delegation.

            The Cabinet was expected to discuss on Wednesday how the country
would approach the matter and how many teams to send.

            "We hope to get them there as soon as possible," Pahad said.

            He added that the Zimbabwean government has not objected to any
of the SADC observer team's mandates, and it was expected to be allowed to
deal with complaints from all political camps. - Sapa
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Daily News online edition

      Someone ought to pay for this arrogance

      Date: 1-Mar, 2005

      THE government's treatment of the independent media displays an
arrogance which cries out for some form of punishment. The closure of The
Weekly Times is an example of the impunity with which this government has
trampled upon the people's inalienable right to consume any and all
information available to them.

      The newspaper, the latest victim of a government frightened into
hysteria by the truth, was duly registered under the Stalinist Media and
Information Commission, headed by The Sunday Mail's regular columnist,
Tafataona Mahoso.

      The Sunday Mail is a weekly newspaper in which the government has a
majority stake. Although The Weekly Times came out on Friday, and not
Sunday, it can still be considered a competitor of the government newspaper
which carries the thoughts of the MIC chairman every week.

      But apart from that the reasons for shutting down the newspaper sound
monumentally obtuse. The definition of "development" news could be highly
subjective.

      An editor or publisher could argue convincingly that publishing news
of a political nature, which involves the development of the country, is a
legitimate pursuit of the objectives set out in the paper's application to
the MIC.

      Mahoso may be unaware of this, but there has been a raging debate on
the definition of "development news" in the African context. Regimes with
traces of dictatorship, of which Zimbabwe has been identified as one, tend
to define "development news" as news about government projects.

      Such news is confined to reports on the opening of new roads, bridges,
hospitals, schools, lavatories or soup kitchens. To such regimes news of
demonstrations against government policies, or the opposition parties'
thoughts on any subject under the sun, does not fall under the category of
"development news".

      The closure of the newspaper brings to four the number of publications
banned under Jonathan Moyo's Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act. It has a particular poignancy because it has been done only a few weeks
before the March 31 parliamentary elections.

      The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) should take note of
this timing. Its guidelines specifically call for free media participation
during the election campaign.

      In banning the newspaper at this time, the government of Zimbabwe is
thumbing its nose at the SADC guidelines. For that it ought to deserve the
severest punishment of the grouping.

      The people could, of course, signify their contempt through the ballot
box. They could vote to reaffirm their commitment to a free press, which
this government has abused.
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Daily News online edition

      Zimbabwe, Namibia joint news venture fumbling

      Date: 1-Mar, 2005

      JOHANNESBURG - The Southern Times newspaper, a joint venture
propaganda project between Namibia and Zimbabwe, has failed to make an
impact amid reports of poor sales in the region.

      About 20 000 copies of the paper were sold during its first two months
in circulation last year. Namibia's main newspapers sell this number of
papers daily while Zimbabwe's largest paper, the banned Daily News, sold an
average of 100 000 copies daily.

      The Southern Times, a brainchild of disgraced former Zimbabwe
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, got off the ground through a partnership
agreement between New Era and Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Limited (Zimpapers)
last September.

      New Era is owned by the Namibian government while Zimpapers is also
state-controlled. The paper was touted as a weapon to fight
western-influenced propaganda peddled by what Moyo called the "apartheid
press".

      Namibia's Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Nangolo Mbunda,
however remains optimistic that the newspaper's fortunes will improve.

      According to The Namibian newspaper, he told the Namibian National
Assembly last week that the publication was "gaining momentum" and
"acceptability" in the region as it was telling "stories from a Southern
African regional perspective". He had been asked to explain in parliament
how the paper was faring.

      The Southern Times was set up to challenge the influence of South
Africa's top selling weekly, The Sunday Times, which circulates widely in
Southern African countries, including Zimbabwe.

      It was one of the self-serving media projects launched by fired former
Minister of Information in Zimbabwe, Professor Jonathan Moyo, and meant to
neutralise voices bent on exposing Moyo's scandals in South Africa and
Kenya.

      The weekly is edited by Moses Magadza, a former assistant editor at
The Herald and one of Moyo's blue-eyed boys.

      Initially, the paper was going to be called The New Sunday Times and
in its efforts to confuse readers, it adopted a masthead with lettering
identical to that of the original Sunday Times. It took court action for the
new paper to change its name to The Southern Times, although it still
maintained the copy-cat colour and fonts of the masthead.

      The Sunday Times had become a target of vitriolic attacks by Moyo
after it embarrassed him several times with revelations of his shopping
sprees, the auctioning of his house in Johannesburg over debts and the
scandal over research funds Moyo was alleged to have embezzled at Wits
University.

      But things don't seem to be working out well for the paper, which is
printed in Harare and has headquarters in Windhoek , and is supposed to be
sold throughout the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

      It remains to be seen if it survives the wholesale changes to Moyo's
legacy in the state-controlled media which the Zimbabwe government is
reported to be ready to implement.

      Namibia's Mbunda, however, remains optimistic.

      "It is imperative to point out that since The Southern Times only
started its operations in September 2004, it would be inappropriate to judge
its performance in a time frame of six months," Mbumba said, maintaining
that it would become a "force to be reckoned with" in the near future.

      He said New Era, as 50 percent shareholders in the joint venture
Namzim Newspapers (Pty Ltd) had contributed N$1 million, while Zimpapers had
put in N$1, 4 million.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Makwavarara occupies mansion

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-02

THE chairperson of the commission running the affairs of Harare, Sekesai
Makwavarara, who ditched the MDC for the ruling Zanu PF last year, has moved
into the controversial $2 billion mayoral mansion in the plush suburb of
Gunhill.
Harare City Council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi confirmed that Makwavarara
had moved into the mansion last week.
Gwindi scoffed at legal efforts by fired executive mayor Elias Mudzuri to
bar anyone from occupying the mansion.
He said: "She moved in last week. We do not care about Mudzuri's court
application. We cannot wait while a State asset is not being used. We
thought Mudzuri was a reasonable man from his claims but this was a waste of
time and we are taking the mansion. The mansion was meant for the incumbent
mayor, not a dreaming one like Mudzuri."
Makwavarara is occupying the mansion amid claims that the cash-strapped
municipality gobbled millions purchasing furniture for her.
When The Daily Mirror visited the mansion yesterday, council employees were
busy sprucing the yard and confirmed Makwavarara had moved into the mansion.
"She began staying here a few days ago and property worth millions of
dollars was bought for her by the municipality. What is surprising is that
council is buying her property when it is struggling to pay us our salaries
in time. We are suffering," complained the employees.
Mudzuri yesterday said he was bitter with the occupation, which he said was
illegal.
He said: "The case is still outstanding and the courts have been sitting on
the case. The courts are not willing to resolve the Harare crisis as they
have not done anything relating to the matter since I was dismissed in July
2003."
Mudzuri said by allowing Makwavarara to stay in the mansion, the
municipality had breached the Urban Councils' Act, which states that the
mansion was reserved for an elected mayor only.
"That house is meant for the mayor and not the deputy or chairperson of a
commission - the Act spells this clearly," Mudzuri said.
Asked what action he was going to take, Mudzuri replied: "I have been going
to court on several occasions, they do not want to hear me. I am waiting for
the day the court will address my case as it is in the court right now."
He lambasted the courts for not being interested in resolving governance
issues in the council, saying his case should have been prioritised.
"Everything taking place in the municipality has been unlawful. The
commission running Harare itself is unlawful."
Mudzuri also said he had keys to the guest cottage he had occupied while he
was mayor, and that some of his personal effects were locked up in the
cottage.
Efforts to reach Makwavarara were fruitless yesterday.
The mansion has sparked an uproar among some Harare residents since
construction started in the mid-1990s, with an estimated cost on completion
of about $5 million then.
As it took shape, experts in the construction industry estimated the cost to
be way beyond $50 million.
However, the cost kept on soaring to beyond the billion-dollar mark as
residents complained at what they saw as extravagance on the part of the
council.
The Combined Harare Residents' Association once took the commission which
ran the affairs of the city prior to the 2002 municipal and mayoral
elections to court in a bid to bar it from making a decision on whether the
mansion should be occupied  or not. Only an elected council should  come up
with a decision, the association argued.
Makwavarara once raised the ire of her fellow councillors when the council
moved her into a rented house "on security reasons" following the pelting of
her Mabvuku house by suspected MDC youths said to be unhappy with her
alleged siding with the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and
National Housing, Ignatius Chombo.
Then, she was still a member of the MDC, although problems between her and
the party had started simmering.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Dongo fumes over rally

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-02

FORMER Zimbabwe Union of Democrats (ZUD) president Margaret Dongo is fuming
over reports that her campaign rally at the weekend was a flop.
This is despite the fact that less than  30 people are reported to  have
attended the former Harare South MP's "Meet the People Tour" on Saturday out
of families she invited from about six blocks of flats in the Avenues.
In one of her invitations to residents of Burnbury Court for the Saturday
meeting, Dongo, who is standing on an independent ticket in Harare Central,
wrote: "You are invited to meet your candidate Margaret Dongo who is
contesting in the parliamentary elections as an independent on Saturday the
26th of February from 10.00am to 12.00 noon."
There are at least 32 families at Burnbury Court, but the number increases
to about 400 if others from surrounding courts like Moffat Heights,
Charingira, Spencer Cook, Alderbury, Montague Heights and others are
included.
 Responding to the story that her "rally" at Montague Shopping Centre had
flopped, Dongo said: "To start with, I never held a rally at the stated
venue. A simple definition of a rally will indicate that it involves busing
people from all over to boast (sic) the crowd. On the same token, the number
of attendees, excluding my team far exceeded 30 at the 'Meet the People Tour'
that I held at Montague Shopping Centre. I intended to meet a crowd of not
more than 30 people at a time, as it was an exchange forum.
"The figure 30 which your reporter stated in his article is an estimate that
I had forwarded to the police as the expected number of people I would meet
as I had only invited people from the flats in the vicinity of Montague
Shopping Centre," Dongo said.
Dongo will contest with Murisi Zwizwai of the MDC and Zanu PF's Florence
Chideya.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Tobacco prices fall

Godfrey Mutsago
issue date :2005-Mar-02

TOBACCO farmers have urged government and Zesa Holdings to consider
reviewing power charges downwards to ensure viability in the sector amid
revelations that international tobacco prices have begun falling and would
affect the crop's output. Last season tobacco was selling at US$2,50 (or
Z$13 000) per kilogramme and is earmarked not to fetch more than US$$2 per
kilogramme this year.
Prices have already nose-dived in Malawi where the golden leaf is selling at
87 cents per kilogramme.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has successfully campaigned against the
use of tobacco products and at least 40 countries are expected to sign a
protocol banning tobacco consumption.
Nevertheless the banning of  tobacco products may not seriously affect
Zimbabwe for some time because the Zimbabwean crop is in high demand due to
its high quality.
President of the Zimbabwe Association of Tobacco Growers (ZATG) Julius
Ngorima last Friday said the government should support the farmers as
production costs were shooting up, when the selling prices were declining.
He suggested a subsidy for such overheads like electricity.
"Government should support tobacco farmers because tobacco is the country's
largest foreign currency earner.
"The high electricity bills are severely straining farmers and impacting
negatively on operations."
Ngorima regretted that government had ignored farmers' pleas for a review of
electricity tariffs by the power company.
Electricity charges in Zimbabwe have been rising regularly, with Zesa
effecting a 526 percent increment early this year.
Ngorima, who was addressing stakeholders at a field day in Beatrice, said
many African countries were producing tobacco of an inferior quality.
"We are still producing quality tobacco that is in great demand at
international markets.
"I attended a meeting of leaders of tobacco growers in Africa held in Malawi
two weeks ago where I learnt that the tobacco price in Malawi was this
season pegged at US87 cents.
"Unless we continue to produce quality tobacco here in our country, we shall
suffer the same fate and prices will fall."
Other hitches farmers faced were interest rates that banks were charging.
"Last year banks were charging 30 percent interest. The financial
institutions this year are charging 70 percent - up by 40 percent.
"Yet when we sold our crop, it fetched US$2,50 per kilogramme. The price
this season is pegged at not more than US$2 per kilogramme."
Ngorima also complained of high telecommunication costs.
"No farmer can work efficiently without using telephone services.
"When telephone bills are added to Zesa electricity bills, you will find
that farmers are in a tight spot."
Meanwhile the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) has urged the WHO
not to penalise developing countries that continued to produce tobacco after
the ratification of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
In a statement yesterday, TIMB said while Zimbabwe complied with FCTC, WHO
should initiate diversification programmes that can sustain the economies of
the developing countries before the banning of the crop's production.
"While a lot of work and efforts have been made on elimination and banning
of tobacco, not much has been done or is being done about funding
alternatives," TIMB said.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Witnesses fail to turn up in spy case

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-02

THE trial of Zanu PF deputy director of security, who doubles up as a music
promoter, Kenny Karidza, was yesterday postponed to today after State
witnesses failed to turn up. Karidza, who pleaded not guilty to contravening
the Official Secrets Act, was remanded in absentia because prisoners had not
been brought to court by the time proceedings kicked off.
However, defence lawyer George Chikumbirike and prosecutor Lawrence Phiri
agreed to remand Karidza in absentia to today since the State had indicated
it would plead for a postponement.
After the court proceedings, Chikumbirike said: "The trial has been
postponed to tomorrow because State witnesses are not available."
Zimbabwe's ambassador-designate to Mozambique, Godfrey Dzvairo was early
last month sentenced to six years in prison on the same charges, while
ex-Metropolitan Bank secretary Tendai Matambanadzo and the ruling party's
director of external affairs, Itai Marchi were each slapped with five-year
jail terms.
However, out-going Member of Parliament for Chinhoyi and businessman Phillip
Chiyangwa was acquitted of the same charges by High Court judge Justice
Charles Hungwe on February 18 this year after spending over two months in
remand prison.
Releasing Chiyangwa, Justice Hungwe said regional magistrate Peter Kumbawa
had been overzealous and injudicious in incarcerating the businessman.
He said that the press had influenced the magistrate's judgment.
Meanwhile, the trial of Kingdom Bank, facing allegations of illegally
dealing in foreign currency involving more than $5 billion, failed to kick
off as the financial institution's lawyer, Chikumbirike was engaged in
Karidza's case.
The trial was postponed to March 24.
Kingdom Bank pleaded not guilty to flouting the Exchange Control Act.
Prosecutor Obi Mabahwana alleged that between March 2002 and July 2003, the
bank illegally sold US$5 822 095 and 4 011 861 rands on the parallel market.
The financial institution allegedly realised $5 129 687 549 instead of $1
756 401 000, the State alleged.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Police bar party supporters

Clemence Manyukwe
issue date :2005-Mar-02

POLICE in Harare have barred Zanu PF and MDC supporters from toyi-toying,
arguing that it was an uncouth political tactic that could spark
politically-motivated violence ahead of this month's parliamentary polls.
The call came on the backcloth of pressure on Zimbabwe to adhere to Sadc
guidelines on democratic polls, which guidelines Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa said were not legally binding.
National police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said
toyi-toying contravened provisions of the Miscellaneous Offences Act.
He said police had since arrested five Zanu PF women and five MDC youths on
Monday in Zengeza for toyi-toying, as police intensify operations to curb
the eruption of politically-motivated violence ahead of the March 31
parliamentary polls.
"They were charged under the Miscellaneous Offences Act for conduct likely
to provoke a breach of peace," Bvudzijena told The Daily Mirror.
Bvudzijena said the accused persons were detained at Chitungwiza police
station, but could not immediately provide more details on the matter.
However, MDC aspiring candidate for Zengeza Goodrich Chimbaira said his
party's youths were released yesterday after they paid $25 000 admission of
guilt fines each.
He claimed the youths carrying MDC banners were arrested on their way to an
MDC rally in Zengeza 4 and accused of toyi-toying.
On Zanu PF women, Chimbaira alleged that they were arrested because of their
hostility to MDC supporters and that they had moved around the constituency
ordering the closure of all tuckshops and coercing people to attend a ruling
party rally.
But incumbent Zanu PF legislator for Zengeza and also candidate in the March
31 polls, Christopher Chigumba, claimed that his supporters only started
toyi-toying when they realised that their MDC counterparts were doing the
same, without being arrested.
Chigumba was not aware of the fate of his supporters in police custody,
saying he was attending the funeral of the late national hero, Witness
Mangwende.
"Toyi-toying is outlawed. Our people complained that MDC supporters were
toyi-toying, but were not being arrested," said Chigumba.
Last year, The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Shadreck Chipanga told
Parliament that toyi-toying was a banned activity.
This was after the MDC's shadow minister of justice, David Coltart
complained over the arrest of youths in his Bulawayo South constituency for
toyi-toying.
Coltart had argued that the arrests were against the spirit of Pan
Africanism as blacks used the practice - mostly by South Africans during
apartheid - as an expression of opposition to a suppressive system.
Toyi-toying was also popular during and soon after Zimbabwe's liberation
struggle.

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kubatana.net

Peace, the road to unity and prosperity
Students Christian Movement of Zimbabwe (ZSCM)
February 2005

'We want peace, we don't want war, no more war, stop the war' goes the
famous song by a South African singer.

It is presumed that the singer had seen the African nations were lagging
behind in development and in catering for the needs of their people. Wars
had crippled African economies even after attaining independence. All the
efforts and resources were being diverted into dealing with the calamities
and the effects of these wars. The musician thus had to make a call for a
peaceful continent if development and prosperity had to be realised.

Some people might argue that Zimbabwe is not at war at the moment. Yes it is
true, we are not in the battlefield but we have a war with us. This war is
slowly making the people of this land between the Zambezi and Limpopo become
hopeless and defenceless citizens. The war that Zimbabwe has is hampering
national development. The war has divided the people of once a beautiful
nation.

Since the famous 'NO VOTE' in the constitutional referendum to present-day,
the ordinary person in the street has been made to live in fear. People can
no longer voice their concerns or exercise their democratic rights of
association and assembly.

It has become a crime to belong to an opposite party or have views that
contradict the status quo. A famous Zimbabwean scriptwriter lamenting on the
violence being perpetrated to the innocent citizens as they try to air their
grievances or exercise their democratic rights wrote, 'Freedom to say,
Freedom to ask, Freedom to query, or shut down by batons and tear gas'.

This state orchestrated violence has become an everyday occurrence as people
who try to express themselves against oppression and unjust laws are beaten.
To add to this state sponsored violence the so-called war veterans, the
youth militia and other youths are in the forefront of perpetrating violence
against the otherwise peace-loving communities. Destruction of properties,
killing of innocent citizens as well as raping of our dear mothers and
sisters has become a culture.

Violence against the people, Zimbabwe is at war with itself! At war with its
people! But, which country in this world has developed through violent
means?

In all this it is very saddening to note that the youths are the main
perpetrators of violence. The situation has gone out of hand to the extent
that these youths no longer differentiate between the young and the old, men
and women, boys and girls or even children. The politicians have made sure
that they indoctrinate the youths so that they can, with no guilty quality
conscience, cause chaos and mayhem in the communities. They see enemies
everywhere they go. The youths have become 'weapons of mass destruction'.
The most frightening 'animal' for the peace loving Zimbabwean which is
fighting against the wishes and the aspirations of many is the youth.

The youths' focus has been diverted. Instead of using all the youthful
energy in building the future, they waste it in unleashing violence on
helpless citizens. And the returns for all this are not only unbelievable
but an insult? Beer and few dollars not even enough to buy a decent meal for
a week! The effects of violence on innocent citizens will one day come back
to haunt all those who have been used by politicians that they can get into
power. When the effects come, they don't affect the politicians but you.
Uchasara wava wega vagokuramba katatu. It is very important for the youths
to sit down and reflect on the kind of contribution they are giving to their
communities.

Youths should know that the future of this country is in their hands. The
old madalas came and did their part. Good or bad, they have lived their
lives. Youths are thus supposed to have a will to build their nation. What
has now become the trend, violence, is not productive. If anything, through
such activities, the youths are plotting their demise as there will be no
country left to speak about, but ruins.
Zimbabwe will never be built through violence. It is every citizen's right
to participate meaningfully and gainfully in the issues that affect the
nation, respect each other's views and beliefs. Today's Zimbabwe needs boys
and girls who are united in fighting violence that has brought untold
suffering to the people.

It is only when we are at peace that we can contribute meaning fully to the
development of our nation. None other than us brings this peace. The country
is in our hands. Lets build it in peace and harmony and together we will
prosper.

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SABC

Cosatu at odds over Solidarity's participation

March 01, 2005, 16:00

Cosatu leaders seem to be at odds over Solidarity's support of intended
Zimbabwean protests. Zwelenzima Vavi, the union's general secretary, says
they cannot stop opportunists from jumping on the band wagon.

Solidarity has been invited to participate in the protest action by Willie
Madisha, the Cosatu president. Vavi says he's far more comfortable working
with traditional allies of Cosatu. Dirk Hermann, the Solidarity
spokesperson, says they are a little baffled by Vavi's statements,
especially after Madisha asked them to participate. Hermann says Solidarity
wants to overcome racial differences.

Vavi says he will be surprised if they don't get support from the ANC for a
series of protests aimed at Zimbabwe. He announced a programme of pickets
and demonstrations this month at the Beit Bridge border post and at the
Zimbabwean Embassy in Pretoria. These will culminate with an overnight vigil
at Beit Bridge the night before Zimbabwe's election on March 31. Vavi points
out that when Cosatu targeted Swaziland in the past, the ANC had no
objections.

Ronnie Mamoepa, the foreign affairs spokesperson, says while it's support
freedom of expression, this has to be done within the confines of the law.
Mamoepa says as long as Cosatu complies with the law they do not foresee a
problem.

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From News24 (SA), 28 February

MDC man wants out

Harare - A Zimbabwean opposition politician who was handed a 12-month jail
term last year for manhandling a government minister on Monday applied in
court for his release, his lawyer said. Roy Bennett is seeking to be freed
by March 30 when the current parliament is dissolved a day ahead of
elections, because he believes the sentence imposed on him only remains
valid during the life of the sitting parliament. "Our argument is that when
parliament is dissolved... the sentence imposed by that parliament comes to
an end," lawyer Eric Matinenga told AFP. Further, Bennett is also arguing
that he has already served two thirds of his prison term, which means that,
according to the country's prisons law, he can qualify for release on
grounds of good behaviour. "A prisoner such as myself who has earned by
satisfactory industry and good behaviour, a clean record, is entitled to
remission of the sentence by one third," said Bennett in his affidavit filed
before the high court. "I believe that I have been a model prisoner who has
duly employed my skills industriously during my entire period of
incarceration to the benefit of my fellow prisoners," said Bennett, a
commercial farmer by profession. Bennett is jailed at one of the country's
rural prisons. The outspoken Bennett of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) was accused of violating his parliamentary privileges when he lost his
temper during a debate in May last year. He charged at and pushed justice
minister Patrick Chinamasa to the floor after the minister said his
ancestors were "thieves" who stole land from blacks. The court is expected
to make a ruling on the case early next week.
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