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

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Business Day

Zimbabwean nationalism' is the brainchild of exploitative elite

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------ONE OF my favourite political essays is Isaiah Berlin's The Bent Twig.Berlin borrowed the metaphor from Friedrich Schiller's explanation of theferocity of German nationalism as a reaction to humiliation by the French in18thcentury Europe. Thus, while nationalism represents the straightening ofbent twigs or bent backs among formerly oppressed people, we also know fromGerman history that the backlash can be vicious.Berlin says nationalism as a backlash can even "create a mood in which menprefer to be ordered about, even if this entails ill treatment, by membersof their own faith or nation or class, to tutelage, however benevolent, onthe part of ultimately patronising superiors from a foreign land or alienclass or milieu". Indeed. How else do we explain political and intellectualdefences of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in SA? Unfortunately,political and cultural nationalism also becomes the basis for aselfinterested economic nationalism.

In his book, Reclaiming Zimbabwe, the radical Africanist scholar HoraceCampbell traces the "executive lawlessness" in Zimbabwe to a "conceptualincarceration" through which post-independent leaders maintained theexploitative and coercive production regimes of colonial administrations.

Immediately after independence, Mugabe had particularly close relations withZimbabwe's largest landowner and Zanu-PF donor, Tiny Rowlands of Lonrho, andconsulted Anglo American on land reforms.

The philosophical basis for the protection of white large landowners wasthat they provided desperately needed foreign exchange, a bias thatcontinued even after the 10-year limitations of the Lancaster Houseagreement had expired. Even under the agreement, the government was allowedto acquire underutilised land but did nothing. It complained about lack offunding but spent $250m reequipping its air force. And donor support camewith a bias towards large-scale, market-oriented land policies that hadnothing to do with the poor.

Meanwhile, the black elite was growing restive at its minimal participationin the accumulation process, and organised itself under bodies such as theIndigenous Business Development Centre and the Affirmative Action Group,leading to what some called "a clash between elite black males and elitewhite males".

But government support for largescale white commercial farmers in the exportsector continued under the structural adjustment programme of 1991. Beingnon-farmers and therefore unable to adapt to structural adjustment, theblack economic nationalists cried foul again. They tied their fortunes tothe social movements that were protesting against Mugabe in the late 1990s,fuelling the government's support for farm invasions.

What we in SA know as black economic empowerment had become the vehicle fora virulent, self-interested economic nationalism.

But the poor were duped again. Less than 2% of the land that was confiscatedwas given to farm workers, most of whom were disenfranchised women andchildren.

What emerges from all of this history is what Campbell describes as "a classof African capitalists who treated the rural workers (in relation to wages,healthcare, housing and exploitation of children) in the same manner as thewhite settlers did".

Given this history of an exploitative, manipulative, self-enriching elite, Ido not know how President Thabo Mbeki gets to conclude that "the economiccrisis affecting Zimbabwe did not come from a reckless political leadershipbut out of a genuine concern to help the black poor".

I cannot conclude this column without pointing to the whitewash or is it ablackwash? of the true pioneers of Pan Africanism such as Robert Sobukwefrom an Africa Day advertisement government took out on the weekend.

Purporting to speak for all of us, the advertisement says that "thepresident and the people of SA join the continent in honouring" a whole hostof African heads of state, and then, "as well as Albert Luthuli, OliverTambo, Charlotte Maxeke, Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela and many others whoblazed the trail towards the great African future that beckons". Who arethese nameless others, I ask?

I fear that our present rulers have adjusted all too well to the "conceptualincarceration" of denial that has thus far been the province of their formeroppressors.

They ignore at their peril Immanuel Kant's admonition that "out of timber socrooked as that from which man is made nothing entirely straight can becarved". Kant was warning against the nationalist tendency to imposeideological uniformity on diverse political societies.

At another time I hope to return to the subject of how to build ademocratic, pluralistic, tolerant nationalism so that a great future for ourcontinent can beckon on the basis of a true, fair representation of ourhistory.

Mangcu is executive director of the Steve Biko FoundationMay 29 2003 07:18:10:000AM† Business Day 1st Edition

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THE PRESIDENTíS MESSAGE TO THE NATION.

ACTION FOR NATIONAL SURVIVAL.

Fellow citizens,

You are all aware of the new dimensions of the political and economic crises that have gripped Zimbabwe over the last few weeks:

  • There is virtually no fuel in the country;

  • There is no money in the banks;

  • The supply of electricity has become even more erratic;

  • Industry is now virtually on its knees and there are no jobs;

  • We all know that the Mugabe regime has become the largest dealer in foreign currency on the black market.

  • The black market is incapable of meeting the national needs in terms of hard currency requirements.

The Mugabe regime has neither the imagination, the capacity nor policy package to get out of the crisis.

Poverty, hunger, joblessness and disease have reached dangerous levels, destroying the social fabric of our nation.

Against this background the MDC, which carries the mandate of the majority, appeals to all Zimbabweans, across race, religion, ethnicity, age, gender and political affiliation to register your concern over the current state of affairs.

Guided by our non-violent conviction and approach to the resolution of the crisis we call upon you to take charge of your destiny.

  • Participate in the on-going prayer sessions for our bleeding nation. In your villages, growth points, towns and cities, seek divine guidance and intervention to lay a healing hand upon our nation.

  • From Monday, 2nd June 2003 to Friday 6th June 2003, rise up in your millions and take part in nationwide peaceful protest marches for DEMOCRACY and GOOD GOVERNANCE to encourage ZANU PF to take dialogue seriously.

  • Donít go to work for the whole week.

  • Stand-up and be counted. Demonstrate your anger

  • Action must take place everywhere in Zimbabwe.

Be peaceful. Be disciplined. Be vigilant. Be courageous.

ZANU PF, the so-called war veterans and the Green Bombers are actively planning to start violence.

  • Do not be provoked. Exercise maximum restraint.
  • Beware of the ZANU PF merchants of violence.

Morgan Tsvangirai.

President MDC.

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ZIMBABWE: Focus on the succession debate
††††† IRINnews Africa, Thu 29 May 2003
††††
††††† ©† Anthony Mitchell

††††† President Robert Mugabe has led Zimbabwe for 23 years

††††† JOHANNESBURG, - President Robert Mugabe's call for open debate over
his succession within the ruling ZANU-PF party has led to a spate of media
reports suggesting that he could leave office before the expiry of his term
in 2008.

††††† "It's not normal, in a country where the president still has five
years to run, that everybody is publicly discussing his succession -
something is happening," a Harare-based diplomat told IRIN.

††††† Mugabe, 79, who has ruled Zimbabwe for the past 23 years, is currently
touring the provinces, meeting ZANU-PF supporters in what the media has
described as a "lap of honour". During rallies last week, while calling on
party leaders to end clandestine campaigning for his job, he also extolled
the success of fast-track land reform, a programme he has elevated to the
signature achievement of his government.

††††† "Mugabe has in the past prayed to God that he be given a longer life
to ensure that land is returned to the black majority. That was his
justification to remain in power. And even though I feel that the land
reform has not even begun, he thinks otherwise, hence his repeated
encouragement to people to discuss his succession," political analyst
Shakespeare Maya told IRIN.

††††† Mugabe opened the door to public discussion of a new presidential
candidate for ZANU-PF, a previously taboo subject in the party, in an April
interview on state-run television to mark the country's 23rd independence
anniversary.

††††† ZANU-PF information and publicity chief, Nathan Shamuyarira,
reportedly confirmed that the president was sincere. Shamuyarira was quoted
by the pro-opposition Daily News as saying the process to choose a successor
would start in the provinces, move to the central committee and, finally,
the party's supreme decision-making body, the politburo.

††††† TRANSITIONAL ARRANGEMENTS

††††† But pressure is increasingly mounting on Mugabe to quit well before
2008.

††††† The economy is in serious difficulty, with acute currency shortages,
fuel, electricity and basic commodities. Inflation is threatening to shoot
beyond 300 percent. A humanitarian crisis, driven partly by drought but
also, according to UN agencies, the government's land reform programme and
aspects of economic policy, has left more than half of the population in
need of food aid.

††††† On the political front, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), which is disputing the result of last year's presidential election in
the courts, is planning anti-government street protests next week. The
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions is reported to be considering
collaborating with work stay-aways.

††††† Panic buying has been reported as Zimbabweans stock up ahead of what
the MDC has billed as "the final push", a week of street demonstrations
which are illegal under the Public Order and Security Act. The authorities
have warned they will crack down on any unlawful protest action, raising the
prospect of violent political confrontation.

††††† Neighbouring countries, led by South Africa, have stepped up their
encouragement of a political resolution to the country's crisis, which has
reportedly focussed on a proposed "transitional arrangement" that includes
the MDC, to run Zimbabwe until fresh polls can be organised.

††††† But Mugabe has refused to negotiate with the MDC until it withdraws
its legal challenge over the 2002 election, while the opposition has
demanded Mugabe's retirement and an end to political violence as the price
for its participation.

††††† Some analysts suggest that with the military, police and the
pro-government youth brigades under his control, Mugabe is in a far stronger
position than generally appreciated, and can dictate the pace of events.
These analysts maintain that change can only come from within ZANU-PF,
rather than being imposed by the opposition.

††††† There has been much speculation about a "succession plan" in which
Mugabe chooses his replacement, leaving office with dignity. Under this
arrangement, the post of an executive prime minister would be created, with
Mugabe possibly staying on as a titular head of state until general
elections in 2005. Critics of this scenario argue it would mean the
continuation of ZANU-PF rule, the party blamed in many quarters for the
country's current crisis.

††††† CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM

††††† But whether change will come as part of a process controlled by
ZANU-PF, or in a deal encompassing the opposition, attention has
increasingly focussed on the need for constitutional reform. Should Mugabe
quit before 2008, the constitution demands fresh elections within three
months, a period considered too short by civil society groups to institute
the kind of democratic reforms needed, they say, before a new election can
be held.

††††† "The issue of the constitution is central in any exit plan. There is
absolutely no way in which Zimbabwe should achieve leadership change without
first overhauling the current constitution," Lovemore Madhuku, the leader of
the anti-government National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) told IRIN.

††††† Ironically it was the NCA that helped mobilise public rejection of a
government-approved constitutional reform proposal in 2000, which included
the post of an executive prime minister. Mugabe accepted the "No" vote in
the referendum and has since made it clear he is no hurry to come up with a
new constitution.

††††† David Chimhini, a lawyer and human rights activist, has warned against
a hurried exit arrangement, saying careful consideration should be made in
drafting a new constitution which should serve to dilute the extensive
powers currently held by the president. It should not be "owned" by any
political party, but instead be "the product of popular participation by
Zimbabweans".

††††† Ibbo Mandaza, publisher and ZANU-PF loyalist, who is reportedly
leading a team of academics to explore workable strategies for Mugabe's
eventual exit, also says constitutional reform is necessary.

††††† "Zimbabwe's 'road map' to 2005", when presidential and parliamentary
elections are expected to be held, should "hinge on the centrality of
constitutional reform and the need to put in place the attendant
institutions". These institutions, Mandaza adds, must include independent
commissions on human rights, the election process, gender and the media.

††††† However, at a briefing this week to ambassadors of G8 countries in
Harare, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai rejected the idea of a transitional
arrangement. In an apparent hardening of the party's position, Tsvangirai
stressed the MDC would "neither be part[y] to a dubious process that seeks
to expand and sanitise ZANU-PF's illegitimate rule, nor will we accept a
secondary role in any so-called transitional arrangement."

††††† Rather than a transitional government, the MDC's position was that the
current constitution should be adhered to, should Mugabe announce his
departure.

††††† "An interim/acting president, logically from the ruling party, would
take over the office of the president, and the presidential polls shall be
held within a period of 90 days to choose a new and substantive president.
This is a cast-iron constitutional provision and there are no compelling
reasons to deviate from it... The issue of a constitutional amendment to
enable the formation of a so-called transitional government therefore does
not arise," an MDC statement quoted Tsvangirai as saying.

††††† Brian Kagoro, a leader of the civil society-led Crisis in Zimbabwe
Committee, said he was surprised by Tsvangirai's comments, which appeared to
contradict the MDC's earlier stated position on the need for political
reform prior to elections.

††††† "It's inconceivable that within three months [a caretaker government]
could have a new voters' register, reconstitute the electoral institutions,
repeal repressive laws and end political violence [all previously MDC
demands]," Kagoro told IRIN.

††††† He added: "Looking at it positively, our hope is that [Tsvangirai's]
statement is not cast in stone, and it was made just to heighten the stakes
to make the Mugabe regime realise the opposition is not ready to come to the
table without putting up a fight."

††††† FEAR OF ETHNIC DIVISION

††††† While the issue of the constitution is a sticking point, analysts also
point out that Mugabe's early exit could depend on other factors, among them
the president's own reservations and fears.

††††† One of his much-stated concerns is the possibility of a split in
ZANU-PF along ethnic or factional lines. "If Mugabe is convinced that the
party will fall apart, he might delay as much as possible his departure. He
views himself as a figurehead that has managed to sustain an acceptable
level of unity in the party," Maya noted.

††††† Zimbabwe is broadly comprised of two ethnic groups: the Ndebele, who
make up around 17 percent of the population, and the majority Shona at 80
percent. It was not until the early 20th century that the peoples speaking
several mutually intelligible languages were united under the Shona name.
The six main language clusters are Korekore, Zeseru, Manyika, Ndau, Kalanga
and Karanga.

††††† Ever since the Unity Accord of 1987, when ZANU-PF merged with its
Ndebele-dominated rival ZAPU, the party has enjoyed relative stability.
However, analysts allege, cracks are beginning to emerge as presidential
candidates jockey for position.

††††† Should Mugabe resign, his two vice-presidents, Simon Muzenda and
Joseph Msika, who are also in their 70s, would be expected to quit as well,
political observers say. The next in line in the party pecking order is John
Nkomo, ZANU-PF party chairman and cousin to veteran nationalist and ZAPU
leader, Joshua Nkomo.

††††† However, Mugabe is widely believed to favour parliamentary speaker
Emmerson Mnangagwa, a lawyer and former intelligence chief. Nkomo beat him
in the ZANU-PF party chairmanship election in 1999, and Mnangagwa was
nominated to parliament by Mugabe after he lost his seat in parliamentary
elections in 2000. He ranks fifth in the party hierarchy.

††††† The military, which reportedly has a powerful voice within ZANU-PF, is
not united behind a single candidate. Prominent names in the armed forces
have thrown their weight behind different factions in the succession debate,
analysts say.

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BBC

††††† Mugabe rival calls week-long strike

††††† The main opposition party has urged Zimbabweans to "rise up in their
millions" against President Robert Mugabe next week.
††††† The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has called a week-long strike
so people can take part in prayer meetings and "democracy marches".

††††† The MDC accuses Mr Mugabe of rigging elections last year and using
state security agents to persecute his opponents.

††††† The government, the army and pro-Mugabe militias have all said they
will crush any protests.

††††† In a statement published in the state-run Herald newspaper on
Thursday, the army said it would "bring to bear its full force upon those
perpetrators of uncalled for violence".

†††† MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said the protests would not stop
until "Mr Mugabe gives a clear signal that he will leave office".

††††† This is the first time the MDC will engage in mass action against the
government.

††††† The MDC leadership has been criticised by some of its activists for
not doing more to make life difficult for Mr Mugabe.

††††† 'Western plot'

††††† Analysts say Zimbabwe's economy is on the brink of collapse - the
latest evidence being a shortage of bank notes.

††††† Last week, there were long queues outside banks despite limits on cash
withdrawals.

††††† There have been shortages of basic commodities such as bread, sugar
and petrol for several months.



††††† The latest statistics show annual inflation is running at 269%.

††††† Some eight million people require food aid, according to aid agencies.

††††† The opposition blame the shortages on economic mismanagement, while Mr
Mugabe says they are a result of a Western plot to bring him down.

††††† As the pressure on Mr Mugabe's Government has increased, so-called
"war veterans" loyal to his Zanu-PF Party have threatened to use force to
prevent any opposition protests.

††††† "Using our military experience, we will mobilise," warned Patrick
Nyaruwata, chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans'
Association.

††††† "We are ready to crush any demonstrations which will lead to the
destruction of property or is a threat to national security," Home Affairs
Minister Kembo Mohadi said earlier this week.

††††† But MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai told thousands of supporters that he
was not afraid.

††††† "We must be prepared to be arrested, we must be prepared to make a
mark to ensure that we will never again be oppressed," he said.

††††† The main trade union umbrella organisation has urged workers to stock
up on the staple food, maize-meal, and cash ahead of the mass protests.
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Army warns it will crackdown on unrest
††††† IRINnews Africa, Thu 29 May 2003
††††† ©† IRIN

††††† The army and police say they will quell violent street protests

††††† JOHANNESBURG, - The Zimbabwe Defence Force (ZDF) has warned the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that it will not be "an idle
observer" during next week's protests planned by the MDC.

††††† On Monday the opposition plans to start the "final push" in its
campaign of stayaways to force the government to accede to its demands for
political and economic reform. It hopes to sustain the protest until Friday.

††††† The police, the Department of Home Affairs, the National Liberation
War Veterans' Association and now the military, have vowed to quell the
protests, with force if necessary.

††††† The Herald reported on Thursday that the ZDF said it took "serious
exception" to MDC advertisements urging them to join the opposition's side
and claimed previous stayaways had turned violent.

††††† "In the light of this, the ZDF will not be an idle observer. Instead,
it will bring to bear its full force upon those perpetrators of uncalled-for
violence," the Herald quoted a ZDF statement as saying.

††††† In calling for the stayaway, MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai warned
participants of the potential for violence, urged them not to be provoked,
and to "exercise maximum restraint".

††††† The planned protests and stay-aways are considered illegal under the
controversial Public Order and Security Act because the MDC did not apply
for permission.

††††† However, party spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi told IRIN: "We didn't
bother to apply because we know it will be futile. And it is our democratic
and constitutional right to protest - and it is not just for the party, but
for the citizens of Zimbabwe."
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IOL

Mugabe is arming war veterans - reports

††††† May 29 2003 at 08:10AM

†††† By Basildon Peta


Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is surreptitiously arming his war
veterans and violent youth brigades with guns so that they can crush the
planned street protests to topple his regime next week.

The street protests have been dubbed "the final push for freedom" by the
opposition.

Army sources promised chaos and bloodshed on a scale never seen before if
protesters tried to march into Mugabe's official residence in Harare.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said it would begin street protests
from Monday to force Mugabe out of office, but Mugabe's militant war veteran
supporters have vowed to crush them. They said they would use their military
experience to ensure the MDC protests "don't even take off".


According to sources, Mugabe has "opened army barracks" to the war veterans
and youth militias. The sources said Mugabe was taking the MDC threats
seriously. They said Mugabe was well aware that the last national strike
called by the opposition had been an overwhelming success.

He was therefore taking into account the possibility of an overwhelming
response to the latest call.

"Mugabe's resolve to crush any challenge to his authority must not be
underestimated," said a middle ranking army official, who preferred not to
be identified.

"He has ordered the army to give weapons to his war veterans and the youth
brigades for his defence," added the official, insisting that they would use
these guns only if necessary.

A senior army officer said there was nothing wrong with arming war veterans
and youth brigades because they were considered a reserve force of the
Zimbabwe National Army.

"You may recall that the war veterans have been constituted into a reserve
force of the army. They are entitled to weapons, if this is necessary for
them to defend their leader."

Officials say Mugabe trusts the war veterans more than the young soldiers
who joined the army in large numbers after independence from Britain in
1980. He feels the war veterans are more loyal to him and more reliable than
young soldiers who did not fight in Zimbabwe's liberation struggle, say the
officials.

The notorious war veterans, who spearheaded Mugabe's often violent farm
invasions, last week vowed to use "military tactics" to thwart the planned
protests against Mugabe.

National Liberation War Veterans' Association leader, Patrick Nyaruwata,
said his militias would forcefully resist the MDC "final push for freedom".

"We have stood aside and observed you for too long and this time we will
not," said Nyaruwata. "This time, using our own military experience, we will
mobilise against you. I do not mince my words."

Nyaruwata added: "The consequences of any mass action will be grave. We will
co-ordinate with state security agents to fight you off.

"Remember that most top security agents in defence, the police and the
Central Intelligence Organisation are war veterans and we will be
co-ordinating with them."

The MDC has vowed to press ahead with its protests, despite the threats. Its
spokesperson, Paul Themba Nyathi, said there was nothing wrong with the
people of Zimbabwe using peaceful mass protests to free themselves from
"this rogue regime".

However, the MDC is not taking Mugabe's threats lightly. It has been placing
full-page advertisements in Zimbabwe's independent press, urging the
country's uniformed services not to allow themselves to be used against the
people. The opposition party is telling the army to disobey illegal orders,
warning that those who partake in Mugabe's repression will face serious
consequences under a "future" MDC government. - Independent Foreign Service
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opendemocracy.net

††††††††††† Zimbabwe: people get ready
†††††††††††† Mary Ndlovu
††††††††††† 28 - 5 - 2003

††††††††††† Political repression and economic meltdown are pushing Zimbabwe'
s people to breaking-point. They have come to understand that freedom from
Mugabe's evil regime is in their own hands.

†††††††† The long-suffering, patient, apathetic Zimbabweans have had
enough. Finally, they are reacting to the horrors of the past three years.
The mix of menace and jubilation, of terror, fear, anger and defiance, is
electric, explosive.

††††††††††† A year ago the mood was different. An election which most
thought would relieve us of deepening poverty and intensifying government
abuse had been stolen. The sacrifices which had been made by thousands of
committed opposition cadres stretching their energies to the breaking-point
seemed to have been made in vain. We stared into a dark future, afraid,
confused and deeply depressed.

††††††††††† And our fears were justified. The past year has been horrendous.
The government has used the Public Order and Security Act to prevent
organised activity by the opposition, as well as all civil society
organisations, even during campaigning for by-elections. Opposition leaders
have been continuously hounded, arrested, harassed and brutally tortured,
while their supporters have been beaten, abducted, raped, and chased from
their homes.

††††††††††† The justice system has been subverted, with the police
selectively arresting members of civil society and the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) without any evidence of crime, while standing
watching government supporters commit the worst atrocities. Independent
judges have been hounded out of office and replaced by those who appear more
compliant.

††††††††††† When these don't satisfy their Zanu (PF) bosses, they too can be
arrested. Cases which threaten to embarrass the government never get hearing
dates, with the result that some election petitions from the 2000
parliamentary elections have yet to be heard, and one year later we are
still waiting for the court challenge to the presidential election.
Constitutional challenges to restrictive press laws are also still awaited.
The courts are rather spending their energies harassing opposition leaders
with spurious charges ranging from fraud to murder and treason.

††††††††††† The civil service has been systematically purged of
non-government supporters. Those in senior posts are expected to publicly
show approval of Zanu policies and make appearances at party meetings.
Hundreds if not thousands of teachers have been chased from their schools as
suspected opposition supporters. Graduates of the government militia who
have been trained in propaganda, brutality and torture methods have been
infiltrated into all government offices and placed on salaries, even though
they have no relevant skills. Teachers colleges, nursing schools,
polytechnics and vocational schools have instructions to give priority to
militia graduates: if they do not satisfy the entry requirements, no
problem; just finish them before completing the course in order to get a
certificate. These torturers and abusers are to be unleashed into our
schools to prepare our children for life!

††††††††††† Meltdown economy

††††††††††† On top of that, there is the economy. A year ago inflation was
70%; today it is 220% - officially. Unofficially probably over 300%. Few
farms function at above subsistence level. Jobs are unobtainable; the
"informal sector" rules. Those living on pensions or savings are destitute;
only the lucky ones have children living outside the country sending pounds,
or dollars, or rands. Those who can still afford to own cars cannot pay for
insurance, and they cannot buy petrol. Eight days in a queue is common.
Those who rely on public transport must be on the street before 6am to get
to work by 8, and even then they are often very late. School children often
leave home at 5am and return at 6pm. Goods are scarce, and expensive.

††††††††††† The government's answer to inflation was to control prices, when
inputs cannot be controlled. The result was predictable - a further collapse
of production and a flourishing black market, frequently controlled by Zanu
bosses. Exports from the manufacturing sector have dropped catastrophically.
The foreign exchange which they should earn to pay for fuel and electricity
imports is not available. We are producing less of our own electricity due
to the break down of machinery and lack of foreign exchange to buy spare
parts. A very vicious circle prevails, producing what has been termed a
"meltdown".

††††††††††† The so-called land reform is a distant memory. The agricultural
sector is drastically diminished. No one is sure what is happening on the
farms: settlers, war vets, Zanu thugs, genuine land-hungry villagers and
government cronies are all battling for a share of the spoils, which no
longer exist, since all the movable property and crops have been plundered
and few of the beneficiaries really wanted to farm. Those who do are
struggling with lack of inputs. Poor rains at the beginning of the season
reduced the output of those who succeeded in planting crops, while much of
the crop is being stolen from the fields by starving villagers and displaced
former farm workers. The prospect for the next planting season later this
year is grim, because very little seed maize has been planted and even less
will be available for use, as it is being eaten.

††††††††††† Donors are distributing food aid in many rural parts of the
country, while in others, hunger and even starvation is common. The
government continues to attempt to interfere, but has in most cases not
succeeded. In towns, staple food is scarce and only obtained through
"connections", political and otherwise. Long queues have frequently been
attacked by riot police beating people (mainly women) with batons and
chasing them away.

††††††††††† The daily struggle for food and transport in towns is what has
brought the people to the breaking point. Women have progressively amended
their family feeding to omit more and more items - cheese, milk, chicken,
meat, fruit - not affordable; mealie meal, flour, margarine, bread,
vegetables, sugar - not available. We are left with beans and rice. And for
most people rice is also not affordable. As the position worsens by the
week, the government has become increasingly repressive.

††††††††††† We have the power

††††††††††† Zimbabweans did not easily give up hope that President Mbeki and
the ANC would finally understand the true nature of our distress. But
finally it has become clear that it was not a question of misunderstanding
but deliberate prevarication in order to positively support Mugabe's
dictatorship.

††††††††††† The shift began with cricket. Failure to get the world to
acknowledge the need to boycott Mugabe by shifting the World Cup matches
made it very plain that our salvation would only come from ourselves. And so
the protests finally began. Henry Olonga and Andy Flower set it off, as if
singing the overture, at the first Harare cricket match. Since then
demonstrations and stay-aways have become a regular feature of our lives.
Brutally suppressed, they have taught beleaguered Zimbabweans the most
important lesson: we have the power, we can face arrest, we can even face
torture. Now the people are waiting for the mass action which will finally
bring the end of this evil regime. It cannot come soon enough.

††††††††††† This article was first published in the newsletter
www.pambazuka.org.
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News24

Witness don't have to say
29/05/2003 20:48† - (SA)

Tsvangirai ruled Thursday that a key State witness would not be required to
disclose sensitive information, the Ziana news agency reported.

The decision followed a request from Security Minister Nicholas Goche, who
argued that Happyton Bonyongwe, director of Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence
Organisation, should not have to answer questions relating to State
security.

Justice Paddington Garwe upheld the request when Tsvangirai's trial resumed
on Thursday, state Ziana news agency said.

Tsvangirai and two top officials of his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party are accused of plotting to assassinate President Robert Mugabe ahead
of presidential elections last year.

They both deny the charges, which carry a possible death penalty.

Tsvangirai's party claims to have been set up by Canada-based political
consultant Ari Ben Menashe, whom it hired to carry out public relations work
and now believes to have been working for Mugabe's government at the time.

Tsvangirai's lawyers wanted Bonyongwe to disclose the nature of the work
that Ben Menashe's firm, Dickens and Madson, performed for the Zimbabwe
government for a payment of US$615 000.

But the security minister argued that such information was classified top
secret and could not be disclosed in court, Ziana said.

"The clandestine activities of security organisations the world over are not
ordinarily for public disclosure in such places as the courts," the judge
agreed in his Thursday ruling.
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News24

Zim printing more money
29/05/2003 20:14† - (SA)


Harare - The head of Zimbabwe's central bank said on Thursday the country is
printing money "at full capacity" in an urgent bid to alleviate chronic cash
shortages gripping the southern African nation.

Leonard Tsumba, governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, told a press
conference that his bank is due to inject Z$24bn into the economy by
mid-June.

But soaring inflation rates mean the problem is likely to persist, he said.

Shortages of bank notes are currently crippling operations in business and
industry. Hundreds of people again queued on Thursday in central Harare in a
bid to withdraw cash from banks.

Banks have limited cash withdrawals, amid reports a black market has arisen
for the local currency.

Tsumba said the situation was "abnormal".

But he said that while measures were being taken to inject fresh cash into
the economy, the problem was likely to remain given Zimbabwe's soaring
inflation rates.

Inflation in Zimbabwe is now 269% and rising.

"What we're trying to do is guard against unnecessary panic," Tsumba said.

He pleaded with people and businesses to bank their cash. Many have been
hoarding cash amid fears they will not be able to access it.

Cash shortages first surfaced after a mass stayaway last month and new
protests are planned for next week.

"An economy that operates on cash alone is a retrogressive economy," Tsumba
said. He urged people to use cheques and credit cards more.

A new 1 000 Zimbabwe dollar note is to be introduced in November, the
banking official said.
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