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

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Letter from Zim

Hi There
This email is from my sister, hijacked out of the diesel queue on Monday 28
April, in Bulawayo. On Monday and Tuesday last week there were 17 hijackings
in Bulawayo alone. That excludes failed hijackings, like my cousin Neville,
who escaped the team that got Tina only 5 minutes later. News yesterday is
that the car has been recovered in Vic Falls, with Zambian Number Plates,
documentation etc.. Police had found 4 of the hijacked vehicles there,
awaiting the arrival, via Lusaka, of a SA businessman who had ordered them.
The Cops have been in ambush waiting to apprehend him when he comes across
the border. Tina is full of praise for the Police CID department in
Bulawayo, and this has restored some of her confidence in sections of the
police!!
Bye now
Peter


Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2003 9:39 AM
Subject: Tina hijacked


Dear friends


I had a gun put to my head and my car taken on Monday. This was an
experience I would not wish on worst enemy, but I want to share my story
with you all. The councillor I am working with says I must talk & tlak &
about it as it may help ease what I am going through at the moment.

I was sitting in a diesel queue 2.15pm Monday 2pm at the hillside shops just
down the road from our house. 3 very well dressed young gentlemen approached
me - 1 to the left and 2 to the right). The fellow on the right very
politely said "excuse me madam we want your car" and promptly cocked his
9mill pistol - which was pointed at my middle. My reaction was to try & grab
my phone and on turning to my left to my horror there was another
"gentleman" already IN THE CAR with another pistol pointed to my head.

Believe me when I tell that things flash through your brain when confronted
with death. Last week another guy we knew resisted and was shot in the
middle. Today he is possibly paralysed! Well I saw a body covered with blood
lying on the floor. I also quite clearly heard Ken tell me " Tina put your
hands in the air and get out". I had the keys lying on the floor under my
feet (a protection against being hijacked). The one on the left was shouting
"where are the keys tell me or I am going to kill you" so I showed them. The
one on the right them shouted "show me the anti hijack or I am going to
shoot you" - I said it was on the keys. By now they had the door open and
keeping my hands in the air at all times I got out. I had taken my shoes off
and asked for them- which then threw out the window. I turned and ran onto
the road and flagged down a car. An elderly couple were inside and they
stopped. However they had blocked the exit for the getaway car and my car.
The gun man turned on them shouting at them to drive on. I stood screaming
at the lady drive to go go go - fortunately she did as he had the pistol
pointed at them by then. I certainly did not need their blood on my hands. I
then ran down the road. 2 cars down was a European gentleman aged mid 50s. I
asked for his phone and got hold of ken. By then the most fantastic African
gentlemen had come to help me. They had tried to help whilst it was all
going on, but the gun man turned on them so they backed away. What hurts the
most is that white man - sorry I can't bring myself to call him a gentleman
DID NOT EVEN ASK IF I WAS OK. He just wound his window up and sat there as
if nothing was going on. I hope he has nightmares for the rest of his life.
I do believe he learnt a few swear words from me!!!!!

The African guys were brilliant. They had the no and make of the get away
car, one had contacted the police and one had his arm around me - just
giving me some support. I was offered a coke, a seat etc. I was totally cool
calm and collected through out it all. I never raised my voice or got
defensive. I did as I was told and I believe that saved my life.   The
police were there in minutes and the getaway car has since been recovered.

How am I now? It is like life is going on around me and I am not quite
participating yet. I have just been to gym as I know I must put it all back
on track as soon as I can, but that was a mission. Monday night I watched TV
all night. Every time I shut my eyes all I could see was that gun pointed AT
ME!!! Ken got me some "Happy" pills from the doctor which are helping, but I
hit an extreme low when they wear off. I cried all Tuesday and today I feel
sick. I feel violated, dirty and totally stupid.

I know my strength will pull me through this all. My friends far & near
thank you for your love & support. The phone calls have helped in a way I
can't tell you. To those who phoned on Monday - my apologies I couldn't
speak to anyone.  Just to know that you have taken the time to spare some
thoughts  for me means so much. Thank you.

For those of you who have asked - no I have not packed my bags to leave. I
have no intention of going anywhere. I love Bulawayo. I love my country, I
love my family and friends.   Ken has been the most supportive person of
all. My rock - as always. He put his arms around me and said the following -
" my darling the car has gone but you are still here. Had you gone my life
would also be gone". How's that for love!!!!

take care Tina
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Interpol Honours Chihuri

The Herald (Harare)

May 7, 2003
Posted to the web May 7, 2003

Tsitsi Matope
Harare

IN a show of confidence in Zimbabwe's police force by the international
community, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri has been awarded the
honorary vice presidency of Interpol, an international police organisation.

This is in recognition of the dedication and skills he exhibited in the
discharge of his duties during his term of office as Interpol's vice
president for Africa.



He becomes the first Commissioner of Police from Southern Africa to hold
such a prestigious post in the august international police body.

Police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said the honorary
vice presidency was awarded to Comm Chihuri after a resolution at the 137th
session of the Interpol executive committee meeting in Lyon, France, in
February.

"The Interpol president Mr Jesus Espairagares Mira communicated this award
to Cde Chihuri in a letter dated March 2, 2003. Cde Chihuri has since
accepted the title," said Asst Comm Bvudzijena.

"He has the distinction of becoming the first Commissioner of Police from
Southern Africa to be elected as vice president to the august international
police body," said Asst Comm Bvudzijena.

Comm Chihuri served as Interpol vice president for Africa for two
consecutive three-year terms which expired last October. He was first
elected to Interpol's executive committee in 1996 and was re-elected in
Seoul, South Korea, in 1999.

He played a critical role in the establishment of the Southern Africa Region
Police Chiefs Co-operation Organisation (SARPCCO) which he has chaired twice
in a period of seven years. SARPCCO is a Sadc regional police chief's body
which seeks to enhance policing initiatives in the region.

He said Comm Chihuri's involvement in international policing affairs would
shame the detractors of the Zimbabwe Republic Police who did not want to see
the rule of law prevail in the country.

The country's detractors had sought to vilify the ZRP in an effort to
further their criminal and political agendas by spreading various
allegations about the lack of professionalism in the police.

They had also sought to portray the country's police as partisan.

Officers from the ZRP have over the years served on various United Nations
peacekeeping missions with distinction. They have served in Kosovo, East
Timor, Sierra Leone and Angola where they have held the Zimbabwean flag
high.

"This attribute among ZRP officers is a result of the competences they have
acquired in their policing endeavours locally," said Asst Comm Bvudzijena.
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Independent (UK)

Zimbabwe court waters down media restrictions
By Angus Shaw in Harare
08 May 2003


The nation's highest court threw out a section of Zimbabwe's stringent media
laws yesterday, saying it violated journalists' constitutional right to
freedom of expression.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku overturned the clause
outlawing the publication of "falsehoods", which the law said abused
journalistic privilege.

The clause held journalists responsible for incorrect information that was
published. State attorneys did not oppose the appeal by the independent
Daily News of charges against its former editor, Geoff Nyarota, and reporter
Lloyd Mudiwa that they falsely published a story alleging an opposition
supporter was beheaded during political violence.

The journalists faced up to two years in jail under Zimbabwe's media laws,
known as the Access to Information Act. The Act has been criticised by
independent lawyers and human rights groups as a tool to stifle criticism of
President Robert Mugabe's government.

Gugulethu Moyo, the newspaper's lawyer, said yesterday's ruling was "a small
victory". She said: "The entire legislation should be condemned."

She said state attorneys did not oppose the constitutional challenge on the
falsehoods clause, saying amendments on it were being considered anyway.

But an adjacent clause, making falsification or fabrication of information
an offence by journalists, remained. Unlike the one struck down, it required
the state to prove the journalists intentionally published a falsehood.

Yesterday's ruling was the first on a constitutional challenge to the media
laws. Several others by media organisations are pending.

At least 16 journalists have been arrested and charged with violating the
media laws since they were passed before presidential electionslast year. No
state media journalists have been charged.

Three journalists have been expelled from the country over the past two
years and only a handful of foreign reporters has been granted visas to
enter Zimbabwe.
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SABC

            Opposition members arrested outside Mugabe's house
            May 07, 2003, 20:00

            Eight members of a small opposition party in Zimbabwe have been
arrested outside president Robert Mugabe's official residence, the party
said.

            Rabson Maserema, spokesperson for the National Alliance for Good
Governance, said the eight, who carried placards calling for Mugabe to step
down, were bundled into police trucks just metres away from the gate to
State House. "On approaching the boom to state House, they were cornered and
bundled into two police trucks," he said.

            "The theme of the message was that the president should step
down because we have suffered enough under a corrupt and insensitive ZANU-PF
government," he said.

            Critics and opposition blame President Mugabe for Zimbabwe's
deepening economic crisis. Police were not immediately available to confirm
the arrests of the opposition activists. - Sapa
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Herald

Farmers Fail to Transport Produce

The Herald (Harare)

May 7, 2003
Posted to the web May 7, 2003

Harare

New sugarcane farmers in Chiredzi are unable to sell their maiden crop after
transport operators hiked fares by 300 percent last week.

With harvesting having started in earnest, the black farmers, who have gone
through a farming season riddled with problems emanating from the resistance
by former farm owners now find themselves forking out $19 000 per kilometre
for a tonne of cane, up from last year's $152.

Ironically, it is the former farm owners who run the transport industry in
the area, putting the new farmers in a fix.

With the new charges, the new farmers would see their profits margins eroded
to zero.

What makes the situation complicated for the farmers is that sugarcane
should be delivered within three days of being harvested, failure of which
it deteriorates into molasses.

Last weekend, the new farmers held meetings in a bid to find a solution to
their problem.

Farmers appealed to Hippo Valley Estates for assistance in transporting
their cane to its mills.

"We feel that since we have milling contracts with Hippo Valley the company
should assist us but we are told they have their own 1,4 million hectares of
the crop to deal with.

"We have, however, send a letter requesting them to assist us," said one of
the farmers, Mr Nicholas Mudehwe.

Hippo Valley chief executive officer, Mr Sydney Mutsambiwa, refused to
comment and asked for written questions.

"Well, we don't communicate over the phone and what we do is that you put
your questions in writing and then we respond," he said.

Resettled farmers in Chiredzi are this year expected to produce over 500 000
tonnes of sugarcane worth billions of dollars.

But they are worried about the Government's delay in announcing new producer
prices for cane, which had been expected before this marketing season.
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Commuters Stranded As Filling Stations Dry Up

The Herald (Harare)

May 7, 2003
Posted to the web May 7, 2003

Harare

Most filling stations in Harare have run out of fuel amid reports that the
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe reserves have dried up.

Sources in the fuel industry said the country's sole fuel procurement body
had appealed to all banks to source foreign currency to buy fuel.

"They (Noczim) have asked all the banks to source foreign currency, at any
rate, to buy fuel as their reserves have hit an all time low," said a
source.

The recent fuel shortages have also been blamed on some unscrupulous service
station owners who are offloading their allocations to the thriving black
market.

Petrol is reported to be selling at between $1 800 and $2 000 per litre
while diesel is going at about $1 000 a litre on the black market.

Repeated efforts to get comment from the Ministry of Energy and Power
Development and Noczim were futile.

Thousands of commuters were left stranded as transport operators failed to
get them to and from work.

While the situation was normal on Monday morning when commuters managed to
get transport to work, it was different in the evening with few operators on
the road.

Yesterday only a few commuter omnibuses were operating, resulting in long
queues at most ranks in the city.

Commuter operators plying the Highfield, Mabvuku, Hatfield, Budiriro and
Chitungwiza routes said most filling stations had run dry.

Commuters had to endure periods of up to two hours waiting for transport.

To add to their woes, commuter operators are charging fares as high as $500
to go to Mabvuku, Budiriro and Glen View.

"Commuter omnibus operators now charge $500 from Mabvuku to Msasa and
another $450 or $500 to get into town," said Mr Allan Mambo of Mabvuku.

Commuters appealed to the Government to bring to book unscrupulous commuter
operators taking advantage of the unavailability of fuel to charge high
fares.

Transport operators have been urged to stick to the gazetted fares announced
on Friday last week.

Police spokesperson Inspector Andrew Phiri assured the public that operators
found overcharging would be fined $5 000 or jailed for one month.

"A commuter omnibus operator who continues to charge illegal fares will pay
$5 000 or one month imprisonment or both," said Insp Phiri.

According to the Government Gazette, conventional omnibuses are required to
charge $60 for a distance between zero and 6km and $100 for 6,1km to 10km.

One is required to pay $200 for a distance between 10,1km and 20km and $300
from 20,1km to 35km.

"The fares also apply to omnibuses that have a sitting capacity of less than
30 people," said Insp Phiri.

Urban commuter trains are required to charge $60 on all routes in Harare and
Bulawayo while a child under four years travelling in the company of adults
is permitted to travel free of charge.

Children in school uniform are required to pay half the stipulated fare on
any omnibus.

The new commuter fares were gazetted following fuel price increases last
month, which saw petrol rising to $450 from $145,20 per litre and diesel
jump to $200 from $119, 43.
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CNN

UK, Australia hit out at Mugabe
Wednesday, May 7, 2003 Posted: 11:36 AM EDT (1536 GMT)

LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Britain and Australia attacked Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday saying there was no prospect of
welcoming Zimbabwe back into the Commonwealth until a return to democratic
rule was under way.
Prime Ministers Tony Blair and John Howard said they would work to exert
maximum international pressure on Mugabe in order to change the political
climate in Zimbabwe.
"Until a serious attempt at returning to democratic rule is made there can
be no question of Zimbabwe ... being readmitted to the councils of the
Commonwealth," Australia's Howard told reporters in Blair's Downing Street
home after bilateral talks.
Blair added: "There are no grounds as far as we can see for saying that
there has been any significant progress at all, indeed if anything the
situation has got worse."
"That means we have got to keep up maximum international pressure on the
regime."
The Commonwealth group of mainly former British colonies suspended Zimbabwe
from its midst for a year in March 2002 and has since extended that ban
until at least next December.
The 54-nation body acted after observers said Zimbabwean elections were
flawed, and in protest at Mugabe's policy of seizing white owned farms for
redistribution to landless blacks.
"The suffering of the people, both black and white, is inexcusable and
appalling and a terrible indictment of somebody who has lost any pretence of
governing for the welfare of the people of that country," Howard said.
Meetings between Mugabe, his main political opponent Morgan Tsvangirai and
visiting African leaders in Harare on Monday made little progress with the
opposition's refusal to recognize Mugabe's March 2002 re-election proving a
major obstacle.
The opposition MDC is challenging Mugabe's re-election in court. Mugabe says
he will not talk to the MDC until it drops its case while Tsvangirai refused
to accept conditions to talks.
"The issue is how do we put the maximum pressure on Robert Mugabe's regime
in order that we change the situation in Zimbabwe and change it for the
better politically but also in humanitarian terms," Blair said.
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Ananova

      Protesters target MCC over Zimbabwe cricket tour

Protesters have turned their sights on one of cricket's most influential
bodies in their continuing campaign against Robert Mugabe's regime in
Zimbabwe.

The Stop the Tour group organised a small demonstration to confront MCC
members as they arrived for their annual meeting at Lord's.

The protesters, led by campaigner Peter Tatchell, were hoping to urge MCC
members to condemn the Zimbabwe cricket tour in England and boycott the
matches.

It is part of a campaign against a cricket team which protesters say is an
advertisement for Robert Mugabe's regime, which is accused of human rights
abuses.

In January this year, Mr Tatchell led campaigners who forced their way into
Lord's and broke into a meeting of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)
as the governing body was deciding whether a World Cup match in Zimbabwe
should be played the following month.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tony Blair called for "maximum international
pressure" to be maintained on the Mugabe regime to restore democracy and
human rights in the country.

Up to a dozen protesters from the Stop the Tour group handed out open
letters to members as they entered the gates.

Mr Tatchell said: "We urge the MCC members to publicly condemn the Zimbabwe
cricket tour and encourage them to boycott all their matches."

Asked if he was disappointed with the turnout - at one point police
outnumbered protesters - Mr Tatchell said: "Our intention was to have a
small, symbolic protest."


Story filed: 16:32 Wednesday 7th May 2003
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      conservatives.com

      Conservatives seek assurances over Mugabe "invitation"

      Michael Ancram has demanded Government assurances that Zimbabwe's
rogue dictator Robert Mugabe will not be invited to the forthcoming G8
summit in France.

      The Deputy Conservative Leader fired off a letter to Foreign Secretary
Jack Straw amid suggestions that French President Jacques Chirac has invited
Mugabe to the gathering of leading industrialised nations - to be staged at
Evian at the beginning of June.

      Mr Chirac embarrassed Premier Tony Blair, and betrayed the beleaguered
people of Zimbabwe earlier this year, when he invited Mugabe to a summit in
Paris, despite an EU ban imposed as a result of human rights abuses.

      Pointing out that one of the major themes of the Evian summit will be
development of the "partnership for Africa" initiative, Mr Ancram wrote: "As
extraordinary as it would seem, it appears that the French are up to their
old tricks again. Does this mean that Robert Mugabe will be invited to
attend yet another international conference, once again on French soil? What
representations have you made to your French counterpart on this matter?"

      Mr Ancram emphasised the importance of isolating Robert Mugabe and his
regime. "To allow him to appear on yet another world stage would be
preposterous," he declared.
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BBC
 
Mugabe 'victim' condemns cricket tour
Maria Stevens with her two children at the funeral of her husband
Maria Stevens lost her husband three years ago

The wife of a man murdered three years ago during the occupation of white-owned farms in Zimbabwe has criticised the current tour of England by the country's cricket team.

Maria Stevens' husband David was dragged from his farm and shot by self-styled war veterans during the 2000 occupations. She blamed the government of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe for his death.

The tour is controversial because Mr Mugabe is patron of the Zimbabwean cricket team.

Speaking on the BBC World Service's Outlook programme, Ms Stevens condemned both the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the UK Government for allowing the tour to go ahead.

The decision is not for individual players - they are living under such stress in Zimbabwe that they are most probably incredibly grateful to get out
Maria Stevens

Both, she said, "didn't have the guts to say: 'It is wrong, it is genocide in Zimbabwe, they are killing and murdering people, we should not support that regime'."

On Tuesday UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told the House of Commons that he supported the tour, saying stopping it would only punish "ordinary Zimbabweans".

World Cup blame

But Ms Stevens said that the wrong messages had been sent out when England went to the World Cup in southern Africa, despite being asked not to by the UK Government.

"The damage had already been made when England were prepared to go to Zimbabwe and play cricket," she said.

The ECB told the government at the time that, if it did not want England to play the match, it must pay them compensation.

When this did not happen, England's players eventually took the decision not to play on the grounds of safety concerns.

Players under stress

"I do know that a lot of people feel that politics and sport cannot be mixed together, but we must remember that the cricket team that is here is here under circumstances that, had politics and sport not mixed, would not be here," Ms Stevens added.

"A lot of players that should have been in the team are not allowed to play."

Protesters against Robert Mugabe's government
Protests against the tour are already under way

Fast bowler Henry Olonga is among those who would possibly otherwise have been included in the squad.

He has fled to England since the World Cup after making a protest against Mr Mugabe in Zimbabwe's opening match.

Ms Stevens added that she did not blame Zimbabwe's players for going on the tour.

"Of course it's not for individual players - they are living under such stress in Zimbabwe that they are most probably incredibly grateful to come out of Zimbabwe to just get peace of mind, to know that you can get food," she said.

"In Zimbabwe you can't get food, you can't get any of the commodities you need for a normal life, you are scared that you're going to be murdered by the government militia or police.

"Now that they are here I feel that the best team must win, and good luck to our boys."

She added that what had happened to her husband's killer since his arrest had only confirmed her suspicions about the involvement of Mr Mugabe's regime in Mr Stevens' death.

"There was a man put in jail, and he did go through court and he was found guilty - but Mugabe gave him amnesty and I assume he is now part of Mugabe's outstanding society."

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epolitix.com

      Mugabe's days are numbered, claims Short


           The days of Robert Mugabe's regime are numbered, Clare Short has
predicted.

            The international development secretary told MPs that there were
increasing signs that Zimbabwe's leadership was beginning to crumble.

            "Things seem to be moving," she told MPs on Wednesday. "The mass
stay-aways seem to be quite big. My instinct is that the end is coming. It
can't come soon enough."


            Short said efforts to bring an end to the Mugabe regime had been
hampered by the absence of an international court and the lack of political
will among Zimbabwe's neighbours.

            "We don't have the tools to deal with these individual
dictators," she told MPs, adding later that the pressure on Mugabe from
within Africa "has been much less than it should have been".

            And she warned that the "disaster is quite terrible in terms of
destruction of the economy, thuggery and hunger and suffering".

            Shadow international development secretary Caroline Spelman
voiced concern that this week's private meeting between Robert Mugabe and
African leaders failed to make progress.

            She called for action to stop state-sponsored violence being
organised by Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

            Speaking earlier in the day, the prime minister called for the
international community to put the "maximum pressure" on the regime.
             Short: "My instinct is that the end is coming. It can't come
soon enough"



            "The situation in Zimbabwe remains a very serious situation
indeed. There has not been real progress there at all, in our view," Tony
Blair said in Downing Street.

            "We continue to have not merely a situation where there is a
lack of proper democracy and proper adherence to human rights, but also the
appalling humanitarian situation that has been exacerbated by the political
situation.

            "We will work together and do everything we possibly can in
order to try to bring relief to people in Zimbabwe who are suffering so
much, both in a political sense and because of the humanitarian crisis that
has been allowed to develop."

            His comments were supported by the Australian prime minister,
John Howard, who said Mugabe's actions were "inexcusable".

            "The suffering of the people, both black and white, in Zimbabwe
is not only distressing but inexcusable and appalling and a terrible
indictment of someone who has lost any pretence of governing for the welfare
of the people of that country," he said.
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Mail and Guardian

Mounting pressure on Mugabe

      Johannesburg

      07 May 2003 14:31

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says it will
launch a mass action campaign to demonstrate the people's "displeasure" with
the government of President Robert Mugabe.

MDC representative Paul Themba Nyathi said on Tuesday the protest action
would begin within the next two weeks, "might last longer" than a two-day
stay away held in March, and involve demonstrations.

Following an inconclusive visit on Monday by three senior African presidents
trying to open a dialogue between Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai,
Nyathi said "our premise was talks can only yield something if further
pressure is brought to bear on Mugabe".

Mugabe demanded recognition as Zimbabwe's legitimately elected leader by the
opposition before engaging in talks on resolving the country's crisis. He
said the MDC would have to drop its court challenge to the results of last
year's controversial presidential election in which Mugabe was declared the
winner.

"I am the president of the country, I have legitimacy which the MDC doesn't
recognise," Mugabe said.

"Does the MDC now say they recognise me? That is the issue. If they do, that
means the MDC court action has to be withdrawn and we can start talks."

Nyathi said the MDC had rejected Mugabe's conditions for talks.

"The three presidents who came here, if they had any doubts on Mugabe's
destructive rule, now have no doubts," Nyathi commented.

"All he does is be a spoiler, but at the moment his back is against the
wall. He's not as important a factor as he claims to be."

Presidents Bakili Muluzi of Malawi, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Thabo
Mbeki of South Africa held separate talks in Harare with Mugabe and
Tsvangirai, to encourage them to restart a dialogue process which collapsed
last May because of the MDC's court challenge.

Obasanjo told journalists that the three visiting leaders were "delighted"
Mugabe and his government were "very anxious" for negotiations.

"There is a little point [the MDC's court challenge] which we can work out.
We will work on it as quickly as possible."

Muluzi said after Monday's deadlock that he was asked by Mbeki and Obasanjo
to hold further talks with Tsvangirai "very soon".

In the meantime, Commonwealth members Australia and Britain are calling for
"maximum international pressure" to be maintained on Mugabe's government to
restore democracy and human rights.

Speaking following a meeting in London with Australian Prime Minister John
Howard, Blair said: "The situation in Zimbabwe remains a very serious
situation indeed. There has not been real progress there at all, in our
view."

Blair referred to a lack of proper democracy and adherence to human rights
and to "the appalling humanitarian situation that has been exacerbated by
the political situation".

Howard said there was "no question" of Zimbabwe's suspension from the
councils of the Commonwealth being lifted unless the country returned to
democracy.

"Even more importantly than that, the suffering of the people, both black
and white, in Zimbabwe is not only distressing but inexcusable and appalling
and a terrible indictment of someone who has lost any pretence of governing
for the welfare of the people of that country," he added.

International Development Secretary for Britain Clare Short, later on
Wednesday added that she believes Mugabe is likely to lose power soon.

"My instinct is the end is coming." - Sapa
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      Ananova

      Blair calls for 'maximum pressure' on Mugabe

Tony Blair has called for "maximum international pressure" to be maintained
on the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe to restore democracy and human rights in
the country.

But he declined to comment on the current tour of England by Zimbabwe's
cricket side, which anti-Mugabe campaigners believe should not have been
allowed to go ahead.

Mr Blair spoke after a breakfast meeting at 10 Downing Street with
Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

Mr Howard said there was "no question" of Zimbabwe's suspension from the
councils of the Commonwealth being lifted unless the country returned to
democracy.

He was one of a troika of Commonwealth leaders who recommended suspension
following Robert Mugabe's disputed victory in last year's presidential
election in Zimbabwe.

On Tuesday Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change rejected an
offer from Mr Mugabe to open negotiations on the political and economic
situation in return for recognition of the election result.

The offer followed a visit to Harare by three African leaders hoping to make
a breakthrough in the crisis.

Mr Blair said after Wednesday's meeting: "The situation in Zimbabwe remains
a very serious situation indeed. There has not been real progress there at
all, in our view.

"We continue to have not merely a situation where there is a lack of proper
democracy and proper adherence to human rights, but also the appalling
humanitarian situation that has been exacerbated by the political situation.

"We will work together and do everything we possibly can in order to try to
bring relief to people in Zimbabwe who are suffering so much, both in a
political sense and because of the humanitarian crisis that has been allowed
to develop."

Asked whether the controversial cricket tour, which began last weekend,
should have be allowed to go ahead, Mr Blair said: "Whatever issues there
are to do with sport, we can put those to one side for a moment.

"The issue is how do we make sure that we put the maximum pressure on Robert
Mugabe's regime in order that we change the situation in Zimbabwe and change
it for the better politically, but also in humanitarian terms."


Story filed: 11:35 Wednesday 7th May 2003
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Business Day

Zimbabwe rejects reported Sars case

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

HARARE - The Zimbabwe health ministry has denied reports that it  was
"concealing" a suspected case of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars),
the deadly new pneumonia-like disease that has alarmed health authorities
across the globe.
The daily Herald newspaper reported that an e-mail was circulating in  the
country which stated that a Chinese national had taken ill at the Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair which ended in Bulawayo last week.

The newspaper quoted the e-mail as saying that the man exhibited Sars
symptoms and "was whisked away and there is a terrible media blackout on
this".

Dr Stanley Midzi, head of the health ministry's disease prevention and
control department, said he had received no information on the matter.

"This is news to me," he said. "I have not yet received any report on that.
The City of Bulawayo has not told us of anything."

He said the ministry had set up a Sars team to deal with any cases that were
discovered. A special ward has been cleared in the state Parirenyatwa
Hospital, the country's largest and most sophisticated, to deal with any
suspected incidence of the disease.

Sapa
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From Business Day (SA), 7 May


SA upbeat about MDC, Zanu PF crisis talks


International Affairs Editor


Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was upbeat yesterday about efforts
to bring the antagonists in Zimbabwe's political crisis to the negotiating
table, dismissing continuing verbal sparring between them as "opening lines
in negotiations". After Monday's shuttle diplomacy in Harare by three
African presidents, President Robert Mugabe continued to insist that he
would not speak to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
unless it accepted him as the legitimate president of Zimbabwe. The MDC
continued to reject this notion, saying it would press ahead with its plans
for mass protests. Dlamini-Zuma said in Pretoria, after meeting her Swedish
counterpart, Anna Lindh, that Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu PF and the MDC "are
ready to start the dialogue". "Everybody has their opening lines in
negotiations. That can be overcome. I am sure, (that the talks will take
place)," Dlamini-Zuma said.


President Thabo Mbeki and his counterparts from Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo,
and Malawi, Bakili Muluzi, flew to Harare on Monday in an urgent bid to
mediate in the crisis. And, in a significant departure from previous
efforts, they met MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai. It is not yet clear what
follow-up steps the three presidents will take, but it could take the form
of a series of separate follow-up meetings with Mugabe and Tsvangirai in the
coming weeks. In signs there may have been some unusually tough talking to
Mugabe, Muluzi told the BBC World Service that "we didn't just go there for
a cup of tea. We were very serious". He said he told Mugabe that a "bad
economy is bad politics". African leaders who have met Mugabe in the past
about the crisis have on the whole been very cautious in their rhetoric
after the meetings. Tsvangirai has said his party was "ready for
unconditional dialogue".


However MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said yesterday "that means
unconditional on both sides". "When Mugabe talks about recognising him,
that's a pre-condition. There is no way we are going to consider that," he
said. The MDC also warned that the new round of diplomacy begun by the three
African presidents would not stop the party's planned campaign of "mass
action" against Mugabe. "The MDC hopes and trusts that Zanu PF will summon
sufficient courage to put the interests of the country above its partisan
quest to retain power," Nyathi said. Despite Dlamini-Zuma's optimism, there
were other signs that there is a long way to go to narrow the gap between
Mugabe and the MDC. The state-controlled Herald newspaper reported that US
Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Walter Kansteiner would meet British
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in Botswana next week, with "regime change" on
the agenda. This was seen by some as an attempt by Mugabe's government to
create the illusion of an international conspiracy to remove him, thereby
undermining attempts to get Zanu PF and the MDC back to the negotiating
table. The meeting between Kansteiner and Straw is unlikely to happen as
Kansteiner is in Botswana this week and returns to the US on Friday. Straw
will visit SA only next week, after Kansteiner has left.
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Comment from ZWNEWS, 7 May

Carrots and sticks

By Michael Hartnack

The latest mission by the South African and Nigerian presidents to Harare
appears to have yielded them Robert Mugabe's favourite award: "The Order of
the Dangling Carrot.'' After Mugabe's 45 years in politics, from organiser
of mob violence to state president, his methods are only too well known to
Zimbabweans. The US State Department's Walter Kansteiner, making excursions
to Africa from his base in Washington 12 000km away, has also seen through
Mugabe's methods. Not so, it seems South Africa's Thabo Mbeki and Nigerian
President Olusegun Obasanjo. They still cling to illusions - which Mugabe
takes great pains to foster - that round after round of talks and "fact
finding visits" may produce a compromise and relieve them of responsibility
for giving him past tacit encouragement. Ahead of Mbeki and Olusegun, yet
another South African delegation came to study "land reform" - as if the
thousands of derelict hectares, the empty supermarket shelves and the
continuing exodus of Zimbabwean economic refugees did not speak for
themselves. Over a year ago, in February 2002, Mbeki mouthed platitudes
about the "tremendous progress" made by Mugabe and expressed confidence that
remaining problems "can be resolved within Africa's conflict resolution
mechanisms.'' And if that didn't satisfy the West then their concern was
"not for democracy but control", Mbeki declared.


Some commentators believe the success of the April 23-25 national strike,
called by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trades Unions, has weakened Mugabe's
resolve and made the country ripe for reform. Last week's summary (and
illegal) removal of Harare's elected opposition mayor, on trumped up charges
of abuse of office, does not suggest a regime eager to negotiate, or even
open to reason. In talks that never get anywhere, Mugabe keeps the carrot
dangling with the consummate art of the born showman and salesman.
Ultimately, however, all his opponents' efforts to placate him merely place
them at the mercy of the stick, which is then ruthlessly applied. Those who
do not know Mugabe are agog with the latest hint, put out in an interview
broadcast here on April 21, that he might at last be prepared to consider
going into retirement peacefully, thus breaking the political logjam of the
last five disastrous years. Describing the seizure of 5 000 white owned
farms as his "greatest achievement", he said: "We are getting to a stage
where we shall say 'Ah, we have settled the matter and people can retire'."
Mugabe's royal "we" reflects his thinking - he is the only Zimbabwean
entitled to have an opinion, and he speaks for all. His latest trick is to
make Mbeki and Obasanjo believe that all they have to do is pressure Morgan
Tsvangirai's opposition Movement for Democratic Change to accept the
legitimacy of the blatantly rigged 2002 presidential elections, drop their
legal action, throw away their volumes of irrefutable evidence, and
guarantee Mugabe a blissful retirement. And then Mugabe will go; the
rampages by his war veterans and "green bomber" youth militia, with all the
harm they are doing to NEPAD and the economy of the continent, will then
stop; there will be new, free and fair Zimbabwean elections, producing a
president with whom Pretoria - and Abuja - can work.


However, those who know Mugabe know that if Tsvangirai succumbs to
Mbeki-Obasanjo pressure to sign away his moral and legal right to the
presidency and the bringing to book of all those responsible for murders,
rapes, beatings and arson attacks, Mugabe will deem these concessions to be
insufficient. Quite simply, Mugabe plans to hang on until the term ends
2008, offering only cosmetic changes. He declared in the April 21 interview
he will hang on to right of veto over matters of "principle". He will do
this by remaining head of the ruling party, by delegating power to mere
figureheads. Mugabe's means of terror will be left intact, ready to be
unleashed as they were in 2000 - under the guise of agitation for land
reform. Mugabe is counting on the despair of ordinary Zimbabwean voters for
any real prospect of reform. Mugabe's talk at independence anniversary
celebrations about the importance of unity and maintaining Zimbabwe's
sovereignty at all costs translates that he will never accept any member of
any ethnic minority, or any political opponent except as a temporary,
insecure, junior partner in any business arrangement - a landless share
cropper. These are the "principles" over which Mugabe aims to retain right
of veto, just as he and his family aim to retain control over the means of
terror until 2008 and beyond. Mbeki and Obasanjo must face this fact
squarely.


Obasanjo, returning from a visit to Pretoria earlier this year, indicated he
and Mbeki are eager to see Mugabe retire. The retirement issue is, however,
secondary until Mbeki and Obasanjo can get the Means of Terror out of the
hands of the Mugabe coterie - better still, irreversibly eradicated from
Zimbabwean society. The looting of Baghdad and other Iraqi cities should
have brought home how urgent this is. Despite dire shortages of all staples
from petrol to bread, there is little danger ordinary Zimbabweans will take
to the streets and fight Mugabe's security forces with their bare hands. It
is not lack of courage, but the knowledge violence will merely breed another
generation of barbarians, that holds Zimbabweans back. We have too many
already, bred by Mugabe. No, the danger for Zimbabwe, the region and Africa
is that Mugabe's barbarian warlords, long imbued with a culture of impunity,
will turn from their present extortion rackets and black marketeering to
open looting of stores, of filling stations, wholesalers, fuel depots,
public institutions and private homes. From the criminals' point of view, it
is a small step from plundering farms while police protest "this is a
political matter, we cannot interfere" - to seizing the goods in the central
business district of Harare. These are the carrots they see, and Mbeki and
Obasanjo must ask themselves where the stick will be, and who will have to
wield it, when these warlords move to seize them.
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A Third Way Out

New Vision (Kampala)

EDITORIAL
May 7, 2003
Posted to the web May 7, 2003

Kampala

THREE African leaders are in Zimbabwe to help resolve the country's severe
political crisis.

The leaders of Nigeria, South Africa and Malawi are holding talks with
President Robert Mugabe and the main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.



Speculation is rife that the African leaders may encourage Mugabe to stand
down. Although the South African government has denied pressure on Mugabe to
step down, the speculation appears to be smoke with some fire in the
background. Mugabe recently alluded to retirement, while early this year,
two of his close aides were said to have mooted the idea to the opposition.

Zimbabwe has lurched from crisis to crisis in recent years. The white
minority has been injudiciously deprived of land; the black majority has not
been given the independence dividend long promised it. The economy has
declined, with inflation running at over 100% and factories grinding to a
halt. Fuel is scarce, and shops have run out of essential commodities.
Opposition is ruthlessly dealt with and the country has been ostracised by
the international community. Mugabe's re-election was widely disputed.

All this makes for fertile ground for social and political unrest, the kind
of which has often resulted in violent coups and rebel insurgency elsewhere
in Africa. Since no one desires violence, and electoral politics failed to
get rid of Mugabe (his current term runs to 2008), it is prudent that he
takes the third way out by retiring quietly and honourably. Last week,
Burundi's Pierre Buyoya unselfishly handed over the presidency as part of a
peace deal. Mugabe could do something similar as a prelude to resolving the
political crisis, reversing economic decline and restoring social order.
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Mugabe, Tsvangirai to Negotiate Power

Daily Trust (Abuja)

May 7, 2003
Posted to the web May 7, 2003

Suleiman Mohammed


Both President Robert Mugabe and Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai have agreed in Harare
to re-establish contact to negotiate and pursue dialogue in the interest of
Zimbabwe.

This was the major outcome of the one-day mini-summit involving President
Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and
President Bakilli Muluzi of Malawi, aimed at resolving the political problem
in Zimbabwe.

President Obasanjo, who addressed the press on behalf of the three African
leaders, said separate meetings were held on Monday with both President
Mugabe and Mr. Tsvangirai, leader of the movement for Democratic Change, and
it was resolved that dialogue would be engaged in addressing the conflict.

He said the political and economic interests of Zimbabwe demanded that all
hands should be on deck to resolve the immediate challenge before the
country.

The Monday meetings were held in the context of the belief held by President
Obasanjo and President Mbeki that "constructive engagement" with Zimbabwe
was the best course to pursue in the present circumstance.

"Common humanity imposes responsibility on the international community to
help Zimbabwe out of its temporary food shortage which has been accentuated
by the land distribution problem," President Obasanjo had said before the
Monday meetings.

He told the press at the end of the meeting that Zimbabweans of whatever
persuasion were the ones who should be in the forefront of the efforts to
solve the problems in their country, hence the need for joint efforts by
those inside and outside the government.

He stressed the need for dialogue, contact and negotiation however far apart
the parties to a problem might be. He saw the meetings as a step in the
right direction, given the readiness of both government and Mr. Tsvangirai
to pursue dialogue.

While there was agreement on the reality that a government existed in
Zimbabwe, there was also the fact that those who wanted to challenge the
government could pursue their aims through the court.
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Mugabe's Exit 'Not Discussed' at Meeting with Presidents


Ofeibea Quist-Arcton
Johannesburg

South African president, Thabo Mbeki, travelled to Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) this week on a whistle-stop diplomatic mission. Zimbabwe is in crisis and the DRC hopes it will be able to put behind it a five-year conflict. In both cases and in other trouble spots in the region - Pretoria is increasingly applying diplomatic pressure and using shuttle-diplomacy to try to resolve the problems.

On Monday, Mbeki accompanied Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Malawian leader, Bakili Muluzi, to Harare for talks with President Robert Mugabe. They held separate discussions with the Zimbabwean opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who heads the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The visit came amid feverish speculation that Mugabe may be contemplating early retirement. The official purpose for the presence of the African presidential delegation in Harare was to get the two rival sides in Zimbabwe to talk.

South African foreign minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, told journalists Tuesday that "both parties are ready to start the dialogue. We welcome that development. The future of Zimbabwe lies in the hands of that leadership in (Mugabeís) Zanu-PF and the MDC."

Dlamini-Zuma dismissed concerns that dialogue seemed to been blocked by pre-conditions for talks by both protagonists. "Everybody has their opening lines in negotiations. That can be overcome. You canít send a country to destruction because of that, I am sure," said South Africaís top diplomat.

So, how should one characterise South African foreign policy in the region? In the early days after liberation and the first non-racial elections in 1994, Pretoriaís Africa policy was considered by some analysts as somewhat erratic, having limited success.

Mbeki has since assumed the mantle of the champion for Africa and the continentís renaissance. Western governments increasingly look to him, and to South Africa, to find workable African solutions to African problems. But does the coat fit and has the impression of a hit-and-miss approach by South Africa, in how it tackles Africaís woes, been erased?

The Pretoria government now has peacekeeping troops in the DRC (under a United Nationsí banner) and in Burundi, as part of an African Union (AU) force. Mbeki, his deputy president and ministers have been deeply involved in negotiating peace deals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and, in Burundi. And South Africa has taken the initiative even further afield with Mbeki as the inaugural chairman of the African Union (AU) which replaced the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in the South African port city of Durban last year.

AllAfrica.comís Ofeibea Quist-Arcton discussed these questions with Bheki Khumalo, Mbekiís presidential spokesperson. Excerpts:

Did Monday's visit to Zimbabwe go well?

I think the talks, in our view, went very well. President Mbeki, as you know, met President Mugabe for three hours with President Muluzi and President Obasanjo. They then proceeded to meet with the leadership of the MDC - with Morgan Tsvangirai, with Welshman Ncube and two others.

I think that, for the first time, both sides - the Zanu-PF leadership, the government of Zimbabwe on the one hand and the MDC on the other hand, emerged out of those talks with one statement: that dialogue must resume and that theyíve got to sit down around a table and talk about the future of Zimbabwe.

I think it underscores what we have been saying all along, that the Zimbabwean problems canít be solved by outsiders. But the people of Zimbabwe themselves - in this case, the MDC and Zanu-PF, the two main protagonists - will have to sit around the table and thrash out various areas of agreement. And thatís what has happened and that is what will happen.

The African presidential delegation to Zimbabwe said that both sides were prepared to talk. But we saw that positions didnít change. President Mugabe is still saying that the opposition MDC will have to drop its legal challenge to his disputed re-election last year. The other side, meanwhile, has refused, saying this is a normal route and that the MDC will pursue it. So, how can you get the two parties together around the table to talk when this impasse remains?

I think that there was an expectation which we think was unrealistic that was created before the meeting. People started writing about the so-called 'exit plansí [for Mugabe] and that kind of thing or of a regime change in Zimbabwe.

I think that if you are beginning a process of dialogue that will culminate in dialogue between a number of parties, you anticipate that as people begin to get together there will be areas of difficulty. Certainly that area is one area of difficulty that all of us must grapple with.

But we can say, with utmost certainty, that both Zanu-PF and the MDC are bound to come together and resume dialogue and that will happen.

How soon?

Well, we canít tell.

Well, how much progress was made on Monday during the talks in Harare to bring the two sides together for you to reach that conclusion?

We think that significant progress was made. But I think you must accept as well that you cannot expect instant results. I think that it will take quite a bit of time and we are working very hard on this matter, even after this meeting, to try to nudge the process forward.

You say there has been no talk of an 'exit planí or a departure plan or possible early retirement for President Mugabe, but he himself has mentioned it. Was the subject broached at all in the talks in Harare?

No, the subject was not broached at all. I think that really was a figment of the imagination among sections of the press.

It was not really a figment of anyoneís imagination, because President Mugabe himself has made reference -

Let me carry on! Let me carry on! I think everyone - and President Mugabe himself - accepts that he will have to step down at some point, but the matter was not discussed at the meeting. It was not the subject of the meeting. I mean he himself has said that and I think people have got to accept that.

I believe Morgan Tsvangirai has said, to date, that he will not accept any pre-conditions to talks. But if you have President Mugabe telling the media after the talks that the oppositionís legal challenge would have to be dropped before talks can proceed, how can you possibly move forward?

I think letís leave that matter to the presidents who are seized with the matter, that they will deal with that and that dialogue will resume.

Can we move on to the Democratic Republic of Congo, because President Mbeki made a lightning trip there, also on Monday, after Zimbabwe, flying back early on Tuesday. What was the objective of that trip?

In the DRC, President Kabila had asked that he wanted to see President Mbeki to discuss the transitional government and the establishment, thereof, of a transitional government in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

But over and above that, they discussed the subject of the transitional government, the appointment of ministers, the appointment of the national assembly, the appointment of the senate, the timetable - for instance - leading to the elections and the whole issue of the establishment of a joint army.

Clearly President Mbeki indicated that he was going to take this matter of the formation of a joint army to the peace and security organ of the African Union, which he chairs, so that then we could see what we can do to assist the DRC in having this transitional government and the joint army, because those are very difficult questions. He even said that parties in the Congo themselves must discuss the matter.

I just want to add just a last point. I want to mention that there is a follow-up committee. As you know, that was agreed in the terms of the Sun City, the Pretoria agreement. All members of the follow-up committee, from all parties, are in Kinshasa at the moment and are keen to really establish that interim government. So we are quite buoyant.

How much of a slap in the face was it for South Africa that President Kabila did not attend the signing of the agreement in Pretoria? There was a lot of back-slapping among the South African negotiators and mediators the DRC parties, but President Kabila wasnít there. Was that a blow?

No, not at all. President Kabila had told us before the Sun City talks that he would like to celebrate in Kinshasa with the people of the Congo. He said that he watched the signing ceremony live on television and that he was rejoicing with them. He had asked that he be excused and the president had granted him that. So we are not worried, it was not a slap in the face.

South Africa appears to be busy with African foreign policy - the DRC, and Burundi, with the swearing-in of a Hutu president recently and what many see as a shaky peace deal between the government and rebel groups there - and the involvement of Mbeki as AU chairman in the crisis in Cote díIvoire. Has President Mbeki got too many irons in the fire?

No, I think that if there is a time to solve Africaís problems, then that time has arrived. If we are ever going to get Africa right, itís now. We want to convert the century; we have said that this has to be an African century. And I think if it has to be an African century, it has to be a century that deals with all those things. So we donít have our hands everywhere. I think we have the capacity and the capability to resolve these matters.

Is it a case of President Mbeki trying to get everything done before he hands over the chairmanship of the African Union?

No, no, no. Itís a long struggle. Itís the beginning of a long struggle.

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Chinese Company Moves Onto Nuanetsi Irrigation Scheme

The Herald (Harare)

May 7, 2003
Posted to the web May 7, 2003

Masvingo Bureau
Harare

CHINESE Water and Electrical International, the company contracted by the
Government to develop the new Nuanetsi irrigation scheme in Masvingo, has
started moving its equipment to the site.

The company, which has been quietly moving its equipment over the past few
weeks, has already started setting up camp and is expected to commence major
works anytime.



As more equipment comes in, the Government has announced that it has
increased the size of the scheme from the initial 100 000 hectares to 150
000 hectares.

"The Chinese started moving their equipment to the site.

"They have now built their camp and we expect them to start major works
anytime as more equipment comes in.

"At the same time, the Government has now increased the size of the
irrigation scheme by 50 000 hectares, from 100 000 to 150 000 hectares,"
said Masvingo provincial administrator, Mr Alfonse Chikurira.

He said 250 hectares has been cleared.

About 20 hectares have been planted with winter maize at the scheme.

More hectares will be planted as more developments take place.

The Government has declared that irrigation is of strategic national
importance.

Nuanetsi irrigation scheme comes after the Masvingo food initiative, which
saw Zimbabwe successfully growing its maiden winter maize crop last year.

If fully-implemented, the irrigation scheme would produce an average of
three million tonnes of maize a year.
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Sunday Times (SA)

Zim economy must top agenda: NNP


The economic reconstruction of Zimbabwe must top the agenda in talks between
African and Zimbabwean political leaders, the New National Party says.

"If economic recovery means that (Zimbabwean President Robert) Mugabe has to
go and a government of national unity be put in place till early
presidential elections in 2005, it should be put in place without delay,"
NNP foreign affairs spokesman Dr Boy
Geldenhuys said.

Personal and party political interests could no longer be more important
than the national interest.

"By clinging to unreasonable preconditions to a political settlement the
tragic economic situation in Zimbabwe will further
deteriorate to the detriment of the entire region," he said.

The lesson Zimbabwe could learn from South Africa was to unconditionally
talk to each other about the future of the country.

The focus had to be on the shared concern for the welfare of all Zimbabweans
and not on differences between parties, Geldenhuys said.

Sapa
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