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

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President Tsvangirai's Address On the Way forward

Extracts

 

"We believe that the only way to resolve the current crisis and salvage what remains of the nation is through a process of serious and sincere dialogue between the MDC and ZANU PF."

"The MDC will not accept any transitional model, which simply seeks to incorporate us, as junior partners, into the structures of illegitimate power dominated by Mugabe and his cronies. We will neither be part to a dubious process that seeks to expand and sanitize ZANU PF's illegitimate rule nor will we accept a secondary role in any transitional arrangement. "

"...... we are willing to give them [Mbeki and Obasanjo] a second chance. For them to regain our confidence, they must renew their credibility. Their impartiality must be beyond question and there must be a practical and tangible demonstration of their even-handedness in their dealings with the parties to the Zimbabwe crisis."

 

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President Tsvangirai's address to senior party officials, city councillors and members of parliament on the way forward
MDC Press

May 30, 2003


It is now quite clear even to Robert Mugabe himself that repressing peaceful legitimate protests is no longer an effective strategy to maintain illegitimate power. The only safe exit for Mugabe and his cronies is through a restoration of the rights of the people, the restoration of the legitimacy of government and the opening up of democratic space.

The MDC is quite clear about how this should be achieved. We have a clear vision of the future of this country and the resolution of the crisis besetting the nation. We believe that the only way to resolve the current crisis and salvage what remains of the nation is through a process of serious and sincere dialogue between the MDC and ZANU PF. Such a process can only start in earnest if the Mugabe regime commits itself to the creation of a peaceful environment in the context of which a meaningful political engagement can be undertaken.

As a demonstration of its sincerity, the Mugabe regime must immediately put a stop to all forms of state-sponsored violence, uphold the rule of law and respect human rights. All ZANU PF militias must be disbanded, their training must stop immediately and the war veterans must be disarmed.

The regime must ensure that the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) and the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) must operate professionally in accordance with their constitutional mandates and cease to participate in politics as organized units on behalf of ZANU PF and against the wishes of the people. Repressive and anti-democratic laws such as POSA and AIPPA must be immediately revoked.

These are the minimum conditions that would create a peaceful political environment that would enable serious dialogue to take place. It is only in the context of such an environment that negotiations towards a transition to legitimacy and a democratic government can take place.

The transitional period should never be used as a weapon to diffuse ZANU PF's responsibility for the national ills confronting the nation. Any transitional arrangements must focus specifically on the implementation of agreed measures necessary to return the country to legitimacy, democracy, peace and stability.

The essential goal of the transitional period therefore must be to put in place irrevocable measures leading to and facilitating the holding of free and fair presidential polls, ushering in a legitimate government expressing the will of the people of Zimbabwe.

The transitional period will have to be unequivocally defined and there must be guarantees for an unimpeded progress towards democratic legitimacy. There must be a deliberate effort to harmonize the state structures with the reality of the people's sovereign wishes and this can only be achieved through the creation of institutions that recognize and guarantee democracy and multi-party electoral politics.

In particular, the conditions for free and fair elections must be tested against the SADC Electoral Norms and Standards to which even the illegitimate Mugabe regime is a willing signatory. Domestic and international election observers must be allowed free and unfettered access to observe the polls. There must be unrestricted local, regional and international media coverage of the elections and all the freedoms of association and assembly must be guaranteed

The sacredness of the people's vote must be recognized and protected. In that regard, an Independent Electoral Authority composed of Zimbabweans of integrity will have to be established and a transparent and accurate voters' roll is indispensable to the expression of people's sovereign will.

The MDC will not accept any transitional model, which simply seeks to incorporate us, as junior partners, into the structures of illegitimate power dominated by Mugabe and his cronies. We will neither be part to a dubious process that seeks to expand and sanitize ZANU PF's illegitimate rule nor will we accept a secondary role in any transitional arrangement.

We understand that Mugabe is only prepared to relinquish his illegitimate power if he is guaranteed what he calls a safe exit. At last he has accepted that he is totally irrelevant to the future of the country and an obstacle to constructive change. In that regard, let me set out clearly the position of the MDC.

First, we in the MDC have never preached or practiced the politics of vengeance and retribution. I have stated several times to local and international audiences that we are determined never to allow the horrors of the past to haunt and influence the future of our country. That position has not changed.

Second, we are more than prepared and ready to consider Mugabe's immediate exit, but that should not be a precondition for engaging in transitional dialogue. Mugabe is now a clear liability to the country, the region and internationally.

Third, the current constitution is quite clear on the process that should be followed after Mugabe's departure. We see no reason why those provisions should be varied or tampered with.

Fourth, we shall never accept the linkage of the dialogue towards a transitional period to Mugabe's succession plans within his own political party ZANU PF. The MDC cannot reasonably be expected to be part to the reorganisation, renewal and or restructuring of the ZANU PF leadership.

Negotiations must be sincere and in good faith. It will be foolhardy for Mugabe or anybody else in ZANU PF to delude themselves and think that the transitional arrangement will present an excellent opportunity for them to dissolve the unity of purpose of the MDC or force us to become secondary players in the whole scenario. We are unshakeable in our conviction that the transitional period must be used to break the mould of tyrannical politics in Zimbabwe and create a new democratic culture with underpinning political institutions in the country.

We are watching developments on the diplomatic scene with a sense of suspicion and anxiety. We understand that General Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Mr. Thabo Mbeki of South Africa are expressing renewed interest in the Zimbabwe crisis. As long as this renewed interest is sincere, we have no problems with that. But, so far, the record of these two presidents is worrying. They recognized the Mugabe regime after a clearly fraudulent election even in the midst of post-electoral violence. They have subverted and scuttled the multilateral effort through the Commonwealth Troika. They have demonstrated in the past their total support for the illegitimate Mugabe regime. They have shielded the regime against international censure, providing it with succour and comfort. In short they have demonstrated beyond doubt that they are not honest brokers.

There is a common denominator among Mugabe, Mbeki and Obasanjo. In their own reckoning, the transitional process revolves around hammering out a Mugabe succession and exit plan. The reforms, which they have in mind, are simply concessions calculated to incorporate the MDC and save ZANU PF from political oblivion. It is a strategy to ensure that Mugabe's illegitimacy remains unchallenged.

Once again I would like to state quite clearly that we shall never be part to such diabolical schemes. Any Obasanjo-Mbeki diplomatic effort premised on this false start is completely futile.

However, we are willing to give them a second chance. For them to regain our confidence, they must renew their credibility. Their impartiality must be beyond question and there must be a practical and tangible demonstration of their even-handedness in their dealings with the parties to the Zimbabwe crisis.

Finally we in the MDC are ready to govern. We have policy packages ready for implementation and are designed to launch a sustained programme of national revival and reconstruction of our economy in the agricultural, mining and tourism sectors etc. Unemployment has risen to dangerous levels we have emergency plans to kick start the economy and generate the much needed jobs. Our education and health sectors have virtually ceased to function. We have in place a national rescue plan specifically targeted at these critical sectors to ensure that the skills base of the nation is revived and the people's health can be protected.

Internationally we have remained in constant touch with our bilateral and multilateral partners. We have indicated to them and they have agreed to stand ready to offer strategic assistance in critical areas. We are determined that on the morrow of an MDC government, the pariah status earned by the Mugabe regime evaporates and Zimbabwe reassumes its position in the community of respected law-abiding nations.

 Thank You.

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Reuters

Zimbabwe opposition ready for talks, plans protests

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, April 30 - Zimbabwe's opposition leader said on Wednesday his party
was ready for talks with President Robert Mugabe on the country's deepening
crisis, but he also warned of more protests against Mugabe's rule.
       Morgan Tsvangirai's remarks followed news that the leaders of South
Africa, Nigeria and Malawi would travel to Harare next week to urge dialogue
between the government and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
       Tsvangirai said his party's willingness to talk should not be taken
as ''a sign of capitulation'' and it still planned a ''final push'' to drive
Mugabe from power.
       ''It is a sign of being magnanimous and of realising that without
dialogue, without negotiations, this country is doomed,'' Tsvangirai told
reporters in Harare.
       Mugabe has said he is ready to talk if Tsvangirai recognises his
disputed re-election last year. The MDC has refused to recognise Mugabe as
the country's ''legitimate'' leader, and pressed ahead with a legal
challenge of the results.
       Zimbabwe's problems have spiralled since Mugabe defeated Tsvangirai
in presidential polls last year that some Western governments condemned as
fraudulent. Many blame him for high unemployment and shortages of fuel, food
and foreign exchange.
       Mugabe says the economy has been sabotaged by domestic and Western
opponents of his campaign to seize white-owned farms for redistribution to
landless blacks.
       Speculation over Mugabe's future has been rife since the 79-year-old
leader hinted last week at his possible retirement by encouraging an open
debate on his successor as head of the ruling ZANU-PF party.
       Zimbabwe said on Tuesday that Mugabe did not plan to retire before
his current six-year term ends in 2008, calling media reports on an early
exit strategy ''wishful'' thinking by opponents who have led two widespread
strikes in recent weeks.

SUCCESSION TALKS?
       Tsvangirai said the African leaders due to meet Mugabe on Monday
should work to bring the Zimbabwean leader and his party to the negotiating
table.
       ''Otherwise, if they allow a situation where the street will be the
theatre of the resolution of the crisis, then I think they become totally
irrelevant to the situation,'' he said.
       ''We hope that they will be honest brokers, and that they will be
consistent to ensure that Zimbabweans, both ZANU-PF and the MDC, are brought
to the negotiating table,'' Tsvangirai said.
       South African President Thabo Mbeki, newly re-elected Nigerian
President Olusegun Obasanjo, and Malawian President Bakili Muluzi, will hold
separate talks with Mugabe and Tsvangirai on Monday.
       Mbeki's spokesman rejected South African media reports that the talks
would focus on Mugabe's succession, saying they would concentrate on
bringing ZANU-PF and the MDC together.
       Tsvangirai has accused Mbeki and Obasanjo of working to shield Mugabe
from international censure after they recognised his re-election last year
in polls condemned as fraudulent by some Western governments and the
Commonwealth.
       Tsvangirai said the MDC's demands in any talks would include the
restoration of law and order, repeal of harsh security and media laws, an
end to political violence, and a review of electoral laws to guarantee free
and fair elections.
       ''These are the minimum conditions that would create a peaceful
political environment that would enable serious dialogue to take place,''
Tsvangirai said.
       He said the MDC, which led a two-day national strike last month that
shook the Mugabe government, said it would soon stage a ''last push mass
protest,'' but he gave no date.
       ''I am afraid I am going to disappoint you but I am not going to give
you details,'' he said.
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Mail and Guardian

Mbeki won't be 'effecting regime change' in Zim

      Harare

      30 April 2003 15:36

The presidency has rejected reports that President Thabo Mbeki intends
urging Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down when he visits Harare
next week.

"We strongly reject the notion that the president can go to another country
to effect a regime change there," presidential spokesperson Bheki Khumalo
said in Pretoria.

"It is up to Mr Mugabe to deal with such issues."

Mbeki is to hold talks with Mugabe as well as Zimbabwean opposition parties
on Monday. Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and his Malawian counterpart
Bakili Muluzi will also attend.

Khumalo said: "The president's visit forms part of ongoing South African
efforts to assist the people of Zimbabwe in the challenge of reconstructing
their country."

There has been widespread speculation that the 79-year-old Mugabe might
leave office after he hinted in an interview last week that he was "getting
to a stage" where retirement might be possible.

Information minister Jonathan Moyo reportedly denied on Tuesday that Mugabe
would bow out before his six-year term ended in 2008.

Earlier on Wednesday, Zimbabwe's main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai,
said that his party is willing to hold discussions with the ruling party to
pave the way for Mugabe to leave power "smoothly".

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader said his party has mapped
out a way "to ensure a smooth exit" for Mugabe from power and to ensure that
the southern African country moves to a "post-Mugabe era".

"The only way to resolve the current crisis... is through a process of
serious and sincere dialogue between the MDC and Zanu-PF," Tsvangirai said
in a statement.

Relations between the government and the MDC are at a low point following a
national strike last week over massive petrol price increases and the
suspension of Harare's opposition mayor on Tuesday.

"The MDC has five key points to ensure that this country moves to a position
of post-Mugabe era," Tsvangirai said in separate comments to reporters.

He said that his party's solutions to Zimbabwe's current economic and
political crises emphasised negotiation, but insisted talks had to take
place in a "peaceful environment".

"Without dialogue, without negotiation this country is doomed," Tsvangirai
told reporters at a press conference held ahead of May Day celebrations on
Thursday.

He said the "way forward" for the country's workers -- who form a key
constituency of the MDC -- also included national efforts at
confidence-building in the country's democracy and engaging international
support.

Tsvangirai lost a presidential election to Mugabe in 2002, and is due to
petition the result in court. - Sapa-AFP
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Industry Struggling to Cope With Power Cuts

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

April 30, 2003
Posted to the web April 30, 2003

Johannesburg

Regular power cuts are the latest burden placed on Zimbabwe's struggling
industries, following the introduction of "load-shedding" this month by the
cash-strapped Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA).

"Due to scarcity of foreign currency ... the importation of power and energy
from the external sources have been reduced to levels that necessitate
load-shedding at times of peak demand. Consequently, therefore, electricity
supplies to our customers may be interrupted daily during periods 06:00 to
11:30 and 17:00 to 20:00," ZESA said in a statement warning of the impending
blackouts.


"Industry cannot operate without electricity, we are really struggling," a
senior Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) official told IRIN. "I
don't see it being resolved in the near future, it could even get worse."

The Mozambican power utility, Hydro Cahora Bassa, cut exports to Zimbabwe by
two-thirds last month as a result of ZESA's inability to meet its foreign
exchange payments, news reports said. Local production was also recently
affected by a breakdown at the Wankie Colliery, Zimbabwe's sole coal
producer, which supplies the coal-fuelled Hwange power station.

The CZI official said his organisation was encouraging members to use
off-peak hours for production by introducing evening shifts or weekend work.
But he noted that planning was being undermined by the unreliability of
ZESA's power-shedding schedule for the capital, Harare.

"We are just hoping that the government can channel some of the resources
from the coming tobacco season towards settling the debt with Mozambique and
Eskom [the South African power utility], otherwise the country will grind to
a halt," the official commented.

He said although no major firm had yet shut down, some small companies had
advised the CZI that they would close temporarily while awaiting an
improvement in the power situation.
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      ZIMBABWE: Mayor says suspension is political
      IRINnews Africa, Wed 30 Apr 2003

        IRIN

      Zimbabwe's capital Harare has suffered recent water shortages

      JOHANNESBURG, - The elected mayor of Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, has
condemned the government's decision to suspend him as "political", rather
than based on his performance.

      Local Government Minister, Ignatius Chombo, on Tuesday suspended Elias
Mudzuri, a member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
alleging mismanagement, flouting tender procedures and anti-government
political activity.

      "This challenges the democratic right to elect someone to office,"
Mudzuri told IRIN. "I was elected by the residents and the decision should
be up to them."

      Mudzuri has come under fire in recent months over water shortages, due
to the council's inability to procure water treatment chemicals. He has also
faced demonstrations from residents demanding better services.

      He was arrested earlier this year under the Public Order and Security
Act for addressing a ratepayers' meeting which police described as a
political gathering, but was released without charge.

      Mudzuri also faces the reduction of his powers if the government goes
ahead with a proposal to install governors to oversee the running of the two
MDC-led councils in Harare and Bulawayo - the country's two main cities.

      "The minister has wanted to suspend me from the day I started work,"
he continued. "He has not allowed me to work, and the suspension is not
substantiated and is purely political. I couldn't borrow money for the whole
of last year, I was arrested when I spoke to residents about water problems,
and couldn't help [with the purchase of water treatment chemicals] because
we don't have foreign currency."

      "I am prepared for any investigation as long as it's impartial," said
Mudzuri, who replaced ZANU-PF's Solomon Tavengwa. Tavengwa and the entire
Harare council were sacked by the government in 1999 following allegations
of corruption and mismanagement.

      Chombo said a committee of inquiry would be appointed next week to
investigate allegations against Mudzuri. Meanwhile, deputy mayor Sekesai
Makwavarara, also of the MDC, takes over as acting mayor.
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Reuters

England braced for troubled Zimbabwe tour

By Tony Lawrence
LONDON (Reuters) - Zimbabwe arrive in England on Thursday for a cricket tour
in danger of featuring more drama off the pitch than on.

Human rights activists have promised a string of protests against President
Robert Mugabe's government throughout the tour, while some British
politicians have also spoken out against the visit.

That has shifted the focus firmly from the cricket -- Zimbabwe, ranked a
lowly ninth out of 10 in the test championship, will field a young and
inexperienced side -- to security issues.

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) spokesman Mark Hodgson said on
Wednesday: "We have been reading about what potentially may happen.

"We have been discussing security around international matches and the
appropriate measures will be put into place."

Human rights activist Peter Tatchell, who has made several attempts to have
Mugabe arrested, has been quoted in the British media warning of protests at
matches.

Zimbabwe are due to play two tests against England before taking part in a
triangular one-day tournament involving South Africa.

Security at English cricket venues, which are unprotected by fencing, has
been a major issue for several years.

Tatchell and a group of fellow protesters highlighted the point by forcing
their way past Lord's security guards during an anti-Mugabe protest before
this year's World Cup in southern Africa.

During the 1999 World Cup in England, players from several teams complained
they were forced to run off at the end of matches because stewards were
unable to stop crowd invasions.

In 2001 during a triangular series between England, Australia and Pakistan,
experimental plastic fencing and extra stewards were introduced.

But England conceded defeat against Pakistan rather than resume the game at
Headingley after Pakistan fans, sensing victory, ran onto the square and
ripped up the stumps. A steward was injured during the invasion.

BEVAN INCIDENT

Australia captain Steve Waugh also led his side off at Trent Bridge against
Pakistan after a firecracker exploded near fast bowler Brett Lee, while
Michael Bevan was struck in the face by a full beer can thrown from the
crowd after Australia beat Pakistan in the final at Lord's.

Spectators invading cricket pitches in England now face fines of up to 1,000
pounds.

Before the World Cup earlier this year, the British government called on
England to boycott their match in Zimbabwe as a protest against Mugabe.
England rejected those overtures, saying they were sportsmen and not
politicians, but eventually forfeited the match over security concerns.

Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth last year after allegations
that Mugabe had rigged his re-election as president.

Around half the country's 14 million people are suffering food shortages, a
crisis which Mugabe critics have blamed in part on his policy of
redistributing white-owned farms to landless blacks.
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      Report launch
      Amnesty, Wed 30 Apr 2003


      Media Advisory

      AI Index: AFR 46/021/2003 (Public)
      News Service No: 106
      30 April 2003
      Zimbabwe: Report launchAhead of World Press Freedom Day, Amnesty
International invites journalists to the launch of its latest report:
Zimbabwe: Rights Under Siege. The report will be launched in Johannesburg,
South Africa on 02 May 2003
      In its report, Amnesty International examines the new laws that have
been introduced and the existing laws that have been amended to shield the
government from mounting domestic and international scrutiny and to
clamp-down on its perceived opponents, including domestic and international
press.

      The launch comes amid reports of worsening human rights violations,
national "stayaways" and discussions on ZANU - PF leadership succession
plans.



      Further Conference Details
      DATE: 02 May 2003
      TIME: 10:00 a.m. Johannesburg Time (09:00GMT)
      VENUE: Board Room 1
      1st Floor
      Parktonian Hotel
      Braamfontein
      JOHANNESBURG

      Tel: 27(11) 403-5740

      For further details contact Samkelo Mokhine at AI South AfricaTel:
27(0)83261265
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Challenges for AU And Member Nations

Vanguard (Lagos)

OPINION
April 30, 2003
Posted to the web April 30, 2003

Charles Soeze


The OAU did not dictate that its members should be democratic....At the
final meeting of members held on July 15, 2001 in Lusaka, Zambia the
Organization of African Unity (OAU) that was founded on 25th May 1963
announced its decision to transform from OAU to African Union (AU). It was
then agreed that the newly elected interim head, Amara Essy, Ivory Coast
former foreign minister, would lead the transition.

It was further agreed that the 53 African states that currently compose the
OAU would be members of the new intergovernmental organization - the AU,
which will be loosely modeled after the European Union (EU) and will have
its headquarters in Ethiopia. It was then launched in Durban, South Africa
on the 15th of July 2002.


However, it was agreed that the objectivies of the AU would be similar to
that of OAU that is, to promote unity, solidarity and international
cooperation among the newly independent African states. Despite the fact
that the OAU provided both practical resources and political backing for
countries in their struggle against colonialism and assisted to mobilize the
battle against the apartheid regime in South Africa, it is on record that
the OAU was hindered by the internal conflict and self-serving heads of
state. Most critics believed that OAU protected the interests of African
heads of state without addressing the real palaver. In view of the OAU's
tradition of non-interference in the internal affairs of its member states,
it has proved of limited use across a continent of constant conflict and
widespread government corruption. It has done little to address Africa's
economies or to combat AIDS and other disease plaguing the continent.

Consequently, it was a big relief when the OAU ceased to exist as the
African heads of state solemnly buried it. In the founding documents, it was
agreed that the AU within two years is to be given an African Commission
analogous to the European Commission (EC) in Brussels. To be created at the
same time are an African Central Bank, a court along the lines of the
European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, and an African parliament. It is
therefore clear that the AU has been conceived as a uniquely blatant copy of
the EU.

It is clear that the Western donor countries are not taking the plan very
seriously. While the media pointing out that the AU's financing remains up
in the air, it is being treated as a paper tiger. It may be exciting to take
the African governments at their word and draw a comparison with the forces
in Europe, which favoured integration and led to the creation of the EU. In
other words, it is obvious that the conditions for successful integration
whether economic or political are lacking in Africa.

It seems to me that the calls for African unification have been mainly
characterized by their lack of follow-up. Plans for the creation of an
African Union modeled after the European Union make it worthwhile to examine
the reasons for the lack of success to date. The results of such an
examination are sobering.

Effective institution

Record revealed that the African Union was proposed by the Libyan leader,
Muammar Al Ghadaffi as a more effective institution for increasing
prosperity in Africa. The AU was formally established in September 2001 in
Sirte. While its objective is to harmonize the economic and political
policies of all African nations in order to improve on pan-African welfare,
and provide Africans with a solid voice in international affairs. Supporters
of the AU believe it will have a stronger charter than the OAU, will be
better funded, and will have the "teeth" that the OAU lacked. In other
words, it can bark and bite when necessary. It is believed from certain
quarters that the AU will have the authority, ability and agility to achieve
economic and political integration among member states, as well as work
towards a common defence, foreign and communications policy, national
boundaries will be blurred, armies merged, and a single passport introduced.
I do hope that with the timely birth of the AU, the tortuous journey to the
integration of African continent has recorded a giant stride. According to
John Cherian, the 38 year-old OAU was dissolved to give shape to the AU,
which hopefully will play a more decisive role in the affairs of the
continent.

Libyan leader, Muammar Ghadaffi and Mbeki were the prime movers for the
creation of the AU. Some G-8 countries, such as the United Kingdom, want
countries like Zimbabwe to be isolated for alleged human rights abuses. Some
African leaders like Nigeria's head of state, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo are
strong proponents of Western-style democracy, at the Durban meeting. They
did not criticize fellow-members like Zimbabwe even though Nigeria and South
Africa were party to the Commonwealth decision to suspend Zimbabwe from the
Commonwealth after the recent elections there. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, was
quoted as saying in. Durban that despite doubts about the willingness of
some African leaders to embrace democracy, the continent was moving in. the
right direction, "Some of us will be fast, some of us will be slow, some
will even stop, but provided that when they stumble, they get up and get
going again", said the Nigerian president.

In. his opening address, Mbeki urged the 53-members of the new grouping to
work togther for peace and prosperity. "Today, we must defeat poverty,
disease and ignorance and end the senseless wars and conflicts causing so
much pain and suffering", Mbeki told the 30,000- strong audience at the
inaugural ceremony.

The comment of one Jackson George , a Liberian who lives in. the US, and
wrote to the BBC aptly captures the balance sheet of OAU. He said and I
quote: "After 30-years of existence, the OAU has left Africa in. ruin".
While most of African countries have been freed from direct colonial rule,
it has been replaced by imperialist domination of the continent and the
super-exploitation of its human and material resources by imperialist
multinational corporations and governments.

Low development

According to the annual United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report
released on July 24, 2002, the 27 poorest countries in. the world are all
African. Of the 35 countries classified in. the low human development
category, 28 are from Africa. A continent reputed to have the potential to
feed the world population; millions of Africans still die of hunger and
malnutrition-related diseases. The social, economic and political crisis
ravaging the continent can be seen in. the fact that Africa accounts for
half of world refugees while a substantial percentage of people who live
with HIV/AIDS are from the continent, not to talk of millions who still die
from malaria, cholera and similar or curable diseases.

Since the goal of more effective continental unity is widely shared, there
is widespread skepticism whether the AU will prove more effective than its
predecessor. Some of its challenges are, to ensure a fair balance of trade
among countries with vastly economic powers. Minimum economic standard for
entering the AU like the EU. In. this case, how then will it affect poorer
African states? Can the AU afford to grant loans to poorer countries? There
is a clear indication that the AU has adopted and merged the South African
President's, Thabo Mbeki Millennium Africa Recovery Plan (MAP) and Senegal's
president Wade's Omega Plan, resulting with the New African Initiative
(NAI), for recovering Africa's economy.

Looking at it from the historic perspectives, the OAU did not dictate that
its members must be democratic (policy of non-interference in. internal
affairs). Should there be a standard, such as democracy for joining the AU
(like in. the EU)? What African countries will actually be able to join?
Some critics have claimed that the timetable is unrealistic and might
backfire. This is because the EU took nearly fifty-years to form and it did
not start by including every European country. There are also regional
alliances that may hinder the goal of unity for example, the historical
Casablanca and Monrovia groups.

Again, political stability is a qualification to join the EU so as to avoid
destabiliization of other countries. If all African states automatically
become members, it means that like the OAU, there will be no democratic or
political stability standard. War-torn states will destabilize others.
Setting such standards may mean denying membership from many countries, and
ironically from Ghaddafi's Libya as well. Even countries with well-defined
democratic constitutions many have undemocratic tendencies that will hinder
their recognition as a democracy.

It is abundantly clear that all areas of development are critical for
Africa. However, for the sake of prioritization, areas of infrastructure,
information, technology, human resource development, agriculture and
diversification, are the few areas to be met head on by AU. However, at the
end of the day, finance is really the determinant of the challenges.

Finally, it is of critical importance that member-states are active in. the
design and implementation of the African Union. In this way, it will foster
a sense of ownership and member states will be able to address those aspects
of the day-to-day function of the Union, which will streamline the
implementation of decisions.
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SABC

            Mbeki to visit Zimbabwe for talks
            April 30, 2003, 14:00


            The leaders of South Africa, Nigeria and Malawi will visit
Zimbabwe next week to encourage dialogue between the government and
opposition in the troubled country, Bheki Khumalo, President Thabo Mbeki's
spokesperson, said today.

            Mbeki, Olusegun Obasanjo, the newly re-elected Nigerian
President, and Bakili Muluzi, the Malawian President, will meet Robert
Mugabe, the Zimbabwean President on Monday, Khumalo said.
            They will hold separate talks with Morgan Tsvangirai, the
opposition leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

            Speculation over Mugabe's future is rife as a growing economic
and political crisis envelops the country. However, Khumalo said Monday's
talks would not focus on the Zimbabwean leader's succession, and would
instead concentrate on bringing his ruling Zanu-PF party together with the
MDC. "The meeting is going to focus on encouraging dialogue between Zanu-PF
and the MDC," Khumalo said.

            South African newspapers have reported that Mugabe's exit would
be discussed at meetings with the three visiting heads of state, but Khumalo
said that was not the case. "It is not for the President of South Africa to
go to another sovereign country and tell the leader to step down," he said.

            Mugabe has been the country's sole ruler since the former
Rhodesia threw off its colonial reins in 1980. Zimbabwe said yesterday that
Mugabe did not plan to retire before his current six-year term ends in 2008,
calling media reports on an early exit strategy "wishful" thinking by
opponents who have led two widespread strikes in recent weeks.

            The 79-year-old leader had hinted at his possible retirement by
encouraging an open debate on his successor as head of the Zanu-PF. He also
told state television he was ready to meet Tsvangirai to discuss Zimbabwe's
deepening crisis if the MDC recognised his disputed re-election last year.

            Zimbabwe's problems have spiralled since Mugabe defeated
Tsvangirai in presidential polls last year, that some Western governments
condemned as fraudulent. Many blame his policies for high unemployment and
fuel, foreign exchange and food shortages. - Reuters
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Sunday Times (SA)

MDC offers to negotiate Mugabe exit

HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition leader said on Wednesday his party was
willing to hold discussions with the ruling party to pave the way for
President Robert Mugabe to leave power smoothly.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai said his party
had mapped out a way "to ensure a smooth exit" of Mugabe from power and to
ensure that the southern African country moves to a post-Mugabe era.

There has been widespread speculation that the 79-year-old Mugabe might
leave office after he hinted in an interview last week that he was "getting
to a stage" where retirement might be possible.

The Zimbabwe government has dismissed the speculation, insisting that Mugabe
will not leave office until his current mandate expires in 2008.

"The only way to resolve the current crisis... is through a process of
serious and sincere dialogue between the MDC and ZANU-PF," Tsvangirai said
in a statement.

Relations between the government and the MDC are at a low point following a
national strike last week over massive petrol price increases and the
suspension of Harare's opposition mayor on Tuesday.

"The MDC has five key points to ensure that this country moves to a position
of post-Mugabe era," Tsvangirai said in separate comments to reporters.

He said that his party's solutions to Zimbabwe's current economic and
political crises emphasised negotiation, but insisted talks had to take
place in a peaceful environment.

"Without dialogue, without negotiation this country is doomed," Tsvangirai
told reporters at a press conference held ahead of May Day celebrations on
Thursday.

He said the way forward for the country's workers - who form a key
constituency of the MDC - also included national efforts at
confidence-building in the country's democracy and engaging international
support.

Tsvangirai lost a presidential election to Mugabe in 2002, and is due to
petition the result in court.
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VOA

Johannesburg Meeting On Conflict Diamonds Ends
Challis McDonough
Johannesburg
30 Apr 2003, 18:16 UTC


A three-day meeting designed to tighten controls on the trade in so-called
"conflict diamonds" has ended in Johannesburg. Representatives from 70
countries focused on the implementation of what is known as the Kimberly
Process Certification Scheme, named for the South African mining city where
it was launched.

The Kimberly Process aims to eradicate trade in conflict diamonds, also
known as blood diamonds, which are mined in war zones. Conflict diamond
revenues are blamed for fueling conflicts in countries such as Sierra Leone,
Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Kimberly Process agreement applies to countries that produce, process,
sell and buy diamonds. They must all have legal measures in place that ban
trading in rough diamonds without a certificate of origin.

The chairman of the Kimberley Process, Abbey Chikane, says participating
countries have until the end of May to prove that they have passed those
laws. He says he will issue a final list of participating countries by July
31st. Any country not on that list will be, in his words, marginalized and
isolated from the Kimberley Process.

He says, "Effectively, what it means is that that particular country will
not be able to trade with major diamond producing, processing, and exporting
countries around the world. Which means it will not have access to large
markets, such as the United States or Japan. It also will not have access to
trading centers such as India, Israel, Belgium, et cetera."

Liberia has asked to have a monitoring team sent to the country so it can
apply for membership in the Kimberley Process. Liberia was hoping that the
monitors would help convince the United Nations to lift its ban on Liberian
diamonds.

But Mr. Chikane says that as long as the United Nations embargo is in place,
the group cannot send monitors to Liberia or take any other action toward
legitimizing the Liberian diamond trade.

Activist groups such as Global Witness have led the campaign against
conflict diamonds during the past few years. The activists have largely
welcomed a decision to send a review team to the Central African Republic,
to make sure the country is complying with the Kimberley Process after a
recent coup.

But the activists are complaining that there are still too many loopholes in
the process, which could too easily allow the trade in conflict diamonds to
continue.

Global Witness campaigner Corinna Gilfillan says she was hoping the
delegates would agree to include regular, independent monitoring missions
for all member countries - similar to the special team that will be sent to
the Central African Republic.

She says, "We do welcome the fact that there was some progress made on some
key issues. However, one of our main concerns is there was no agreement to
adopt a regular, independent monitoring mechanism into the Kimberley Process
to ensure that it works and it's not open to abuse. As far as we're
concerned, having a credible, regular monitoring mechanism is absolutely
crucial to the credibility of the whole system, and to stopping the trade in
conflict diamonds."

Activists say an independent monitoring program would keep countries from
laundering conflict diamonds by claiming they come from their own diamond
mines. They single out Zimbabwe and the Republic of Congo, both of which
export large numbers of diamonds that analysts say were really mined in the
Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mr. Chikane says such a monitoring program may eventually be necessary. And
he concedes that right now, some countries do not appear to be complying
with the Kimberley Process regulations, although he refused to name names.

But he says the current plan is for a system of peer review, requiring
individual countries to report other members they suspect of breaking the
rules.
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JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM
Email:
justice@telco.co.zw; justiceforagriculture@zol.co.zw
Internet: www.justiceforagriculture.com

Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
justice@telco.co.zw with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.

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Letter 1: Lorna Pearson

FUNDING FOR A BUSINESS COURSE

The Business Link has secured partial funding for displaced farmers who
wish to pursue other business interests.  As we said before it isn't the
situation but what you do about it that shapes your future.

For further details and dates of free introductory sessions, contact Lorna
Pearson 091 305 301 or 04-494283
E-mail
emohruo@zol.co.zw or derryfarm@zol.co.zw

What is `Business Link'?  A hands-on business course based on the
experience of several thousand family-owned business-people who have taken
early versions of this course in Australia, North America, South Africa and
Zimbabwe

Where?  Right here in Zimbabwe

When?  Starting July 03, the eight segments of this very practical
programme will take a year to complete.  Each of the interlinking segments
is part of a Due Diligence procedure examining every aspect of a business -
whether one you currently own, one you are thinking of buying - or even one
you are starting from scratch.

Who should attend?  Business owners and any family members with a vested
interest in the business - even if they play only a passive role in running
the business.

Why business owners?  Because you decide what to produce and how to market
it, whether to grow the business, how to finance it, who will take over
when present management retires or passes on, and so on. We will show you
how to examine all these issues and apply proven techniques to improve your
business.

Do you want more information?  Attend one of our short free introductory
sessions to find out if this course is for you.

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JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM
Email:
justice@telco.co.zw; justiceforagriculture@zol.co.zw
Internet: www.justiceforagriculture.com

Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
justice@telco.co.zw with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.

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

Letter 1: Kerry Kay

Well done to Weinand Breytenbach on his letter about ZTA and the purchase
of tobacco from stolen farms. Two pertinent issues come to mind:

1) I recall phoning ZTA and speaking to one of the "presidential group"
two years ago about a certain Air Force Officer who was squatting on our
neighbours farm and being sponsored as a Small Scale tobacco grower and
enquiring what ZTA's stand was. The response verbatim was "we are only
interested in tobacco, not where it has come from".

2) When Tich Peresu, then Chief buyer for ZITEC drove war vet Chigwedere to
our farm, accompanied by a certain farmer named Chihuri from Wedza, some
twenty months ago and verbally abused Iain for nearly an hour, telling him
to "leave the farm or be killed" and "we will cut your balls off" (am
pleased to report that neither threat has been carried out!) - I rang ZTA
and asked what their opinion was of a supposedly senior tobacco man like
Tich Peresu being involved in this kind of behaviour I was told "well
Kerry I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt".

Well, in retrospect, he (and ZTA) may have got the benefit of the doubt,
and Iain managed to keep his farm for twenty months longer, and the "other
items" to this day!.  Perhaps there is a moral to the story?  Who has the
.......... ???!!!!  Iain has!!!!

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All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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