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

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Harare elite driven into prostitution

Grinding poverty forces graduates onto the streets

Rory Carroll in Harare
Sunday October 17, 2004
The Observer

Night falls across Harare and Tracy Ncube sashays up Fife Avenue in a tight
skirt and borrowed shirt to sell the only thing she can.
Half a dozen other young women are already stationed outside Tipperary's bar
and Ncube picks her spot, a tree opposite the car park illuminated by
headlights. She has been a prostitute for two weeks and has bagged three
customers, earning $45 (£25).

Zimbabwe's youth were once considered Africa's brightest, graduates of one
of the continent's best education systems which bred sophistication,
confidence and ambition.

But the economy has crumbled and, with it, opportunity. There are virtually
no jobs. Some 90 per cent of the country's 11.8 million people live on less
than $1 a day. Hyperinflation and food shortages are making the middle class
destitute.

So, a fortnight ago, Ncube, 23, turned to prostitution. 'These days life is
very hard. My family doesn't know that I do this, but how else am I to
survive?'

She was visibly nervous. Her voice trembled, but she was determined to bag a
fourth customer to earn between $7 and $20.

Aid jargon calls prostitution, or transactional sex, a 'negative coping
mechanism', a desperate but effective way to get by.

Others emigrate, flying to Britain to work as nurses or jumping a fence to
scrounge jobs in Botswana or South Africa. Their pay keeps many families
afloat. For President Robert Mugabe, all this is excellent news. Inflation
is close to 400 per cent, unemployment is at 70 per cent and hunger and
homelessness are spreading, but there is no sign of revolution.

Yesterday the country was digesting the surprise acquittal of the opposition
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who had been charged with attempting to
assassinate the president. On Friday a high court in Harare dismissed the
case which for two years had crippled his Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC). It was a significant boost for the party but there was little public
jubilation.
Partly this was because police in riot gear patrolled the capital with guns
and batons. A military jet roared low overhead to reinforce the authority of
a regime in power since independence from Britain in 1980.

But another reason was resignation. Analysts say that the ruling Zanu-PF
party will sweep parliamentary elections due next March because opposition
has been crushed.

Starved of an independent media and the right to campaign freely, the MDC
has withered, according to a senior MP who asked not to be named. Its narrow
defeats in rigged elections in 2000 and 2002 were high-water marks, he said.

Both cause and symptom of its malaise are to be found on Fife Avenue. At
night, the smart, leafy suburb close to the city centre is a red-light
district.

None of the prostitutes had a good word to say about Mugabe, whom they
accused of despotism, but none responded to the MDC's plea to rally at the
high court for Tsvangirai's verdict.

'Look, I'm a working girl. I need to sleep and do things around the house
during the day,' said Talent Mushonga, 23. Samantha Hazvinei, 24, said girls
as young as 15 and middle-aged married women were turning up. 'We are too
many ladies looking for too few men. I need to come earlier and earlier and
stay longer to get business.'

A UN report last year said poverty and hunger were fuelling child labour and
prostitution. An aid worker, who did not want to be named because of a
crackdown on non-governmental organisations, said she knew middle-aged
women, including nurses, teachers and police officers, who had turned to
prostitution.

Maxine, 27, a three-year veteran of Fife Avenue, said the new arrivals were
reckless. 'They are hot hot, chilli chilli, all in a rush. But they don't
last, they die fast.'

Official figures show that 24.6 per cent of the adult population is infected
with HIV, one of the highest rates in the world.

Ncube said she preferred to use a condom but admitted the competition for
customers - and frequent demand for unprotected sex - could weaken her
resolve.

'What else can I do? Go out and demonstrate against the government? Demand
change?' The notion made her laugh.

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jang.com.pk Pakistan

Racism in Zimbabwe dominates
first day discussions at ICC moot

From our correspondent

LAHORE: The Executive Board of the International Cricket Council (ICC)
started two-day deliberations here on Saturday and an inquiry report on
racism in Zimbabwe cricket was the main item of interest from the outset.

Although there was no official word available from the ICC and its General
Manager for corporate affairs, Brendan McClements on the first day
proceedings, apparently the report on racism in Zimbabwe cricket dominated
the meeting.

The ICC President Ehsan Mani and chief executive Malcolm Speed will hold a
press conference on Sunday evening to announce details of the meeting.

The board is also scheduled to carry out a review of the structure of test
and one-day international cricket.

"The board will consider a range of alternatives while discussing the future
structure of the programme of Test match and One-day International cricket,"
it was confirmed by a member.

"It's is the first opportunity for the board to consider this important
issue following discussions by the Chief Executives of all countries in
September."

There is expected to be intense debate on the future structure of test and
ODI cricket including the 10-year Future Tours Programme.

According to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Shaharyar Khan the
board will consider several proposals prepared by a appointed consultant but
it was unlikely any decision would be taken until the next board meeting in
June next year.

The consultant has prepared several proposals and one of them is to have an
A and B structure in international cricket while scheduling majority of the
matches of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh at home.

Many of the cricket boards have complained about the ICC's ten-year future
tour programme being crammed with too many series scheduled against the
weaker teams like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. But understandably both the
nations are strongly objecting to this format.

Sources said that on Saturday the report of India's Solicitor General, Mr
Goolam Vahanvati, and South African High Court Judge, Steven Majiedt into
the allegations of racism in Zimbabwe cricket was discussed.

The inquiry was initiated by the ICC after 15-white rebel players walked out
of the Zimbabwe team in April accusing the Zimbabwe cricket Union of racism.

Sources said that the board is also scheduled to discuss the awarding of the
2006 Champions Trophy to India because of the tight tax laws prevalent in
that country.

Shaharyar said discussions were likely to center on the tax concessions the
ICC will get when the Champions Trophy is held in India.

He said that India is keen to host the next tournament but the ICC members
want to get more feedback and assurances from the Indian board on the
concessions the ICC can get on earnings because of the stringent tax laws in
India.

Pakistan is taking keen interest in the scheduling of the 2006 Champions
Trophy as it will affect its hosting of the Asia Cup the same year.

Shaharyar said the hosting of the ICC meeting was a matter of pride for the
Pakistan board and another indication that it is safe to play cricket in
Pakistan and hold international meetings.

"We hope this meeting will send out the right message to the international
community," he added.

Pakistan's other interest in the meeting centers around a discussion on a
recommended amendment to the ICC Code of Conduct to include team selectors
in the definition of `team officials' and further discussions on the future
location of the ICC.

The amendment is being sought after Pakistan's chief selector Wasim Bari
made disparaging remarks about veteran umpire David Shephard after a
three-nation tournament final between Pakistan and Australia in Holland in
August.
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Sunday Herald UK

Why trial result was a Mugabe masterstroke

The president orchestrated his opponent's acquittal all along, reports Fred
Bridgland

THE judge who presided at opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's 20-month
treason trial in Zimbabwe is a corrupt placeman who last year grabbed a
prize white-owned farm for himself.
paddington Garwe was promoted by President Robert Mugabe to the second
highest post in the land - Judge President - three years ago after a purge
of independent-minded judges who had, until then, ruled that land grabs and
the eviction of mainly white commercial farmers were illegal. Judges who
have refused to toe the line have been arrested, attacked and toppled.
Several have fled into exile.

"What we have seen is a politicisation of the judiciary," says Ms Gugulethu
Moyo, a lawyer who fled Zimbabwe and who now works for the International Bar
Association in London. "The government has manipulated the legal structure
to keep its iron grip on power. The rule of law itself is under attack."

The farm Garwe took is Mount Lothian, in the fertile wheat and tobacco
Enterprise belt east of Harare, the capital. It was owned by Christopher
Tracey, one of the first white farmers to embrace independence from Britain
in 1980. Tracey arranged the key international aid and investment donor
conference after independence and was highly praised by Mugabe.

So why this sudden burst of independent-mindedness by Garwe in acquitting
Tsvangirai and saving him from a possible execution by hanging?

The answer lies somewhere in the tough, wily and enigmatic mind of Mugabe.
It is impossible to imagine that Garwe reached his decision without intense
consultation with the man who gave him Mount Lothian, a gift that would have
seen Garwe expelled from the bench in a normal democracy.

Despite Tsvangirai's acquittal, Mugabe emerges victorious. For the past 20
months he has kept his most dangerous opponent, who by all objective
accounts was the true winner of elections rigged in Mugabe's favour in 2001
and 2002, tied down since he was first charged in February 2002.

Tsvangirai's passport was withdrawn and he was unable to travel abroad to
promote his opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The prolonged
trial also stymied Tsvangirai's ability to campaign domestically. The trial,
described by Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu as a "legal
†circus", sowed divisions in the MDC and drained its resources.

A truly independent judge would have declared the proceedings a farce within
weeks and dismissed the charges. Tsvangirai's passivity throughout the
travesty has also made him appear weak. Mugabe may well have calculated that
sending Tsvangirai to prison would have given his opponent a dangerous
Nelson Mandela-like status.

The truth is that Mugabe, with Garwe's help, made one of his cleverest moves
in trying Tsvangirai on charges trumped up in collaboration with an
internationally known crook, the Canadian-Israeli lobbyist Ari Ben-Menashe.

"I would read this result as a sign that Tsvangirai is not as much of a
threat as he was a few years ago," said Alex Vines, head of the African
Programme at London's Royal Institute of International Affairs. "Today
Mugabe is in a stronger position and the MDC is much weaker."

Noria Mashumba, a former Zimbabwean prosecutor and human rights worker now
working at South Africa's Institute for Security Studies, said Mugabe will
use Tsvangirai's acquittal to counter international criticism.

"It's a plus for the government, in terms of the general allegations that
the judiciary is no longer impartial, that it is an instrument used by the
government," she said. "The not guilty verdict looks to me like a very
strategic move on the part of the government."

While Tsvangirai has been trying to save himself from the noose, Mugabe has
introduced rafts of repressive measures that have closed newspapers, swept
the country clean of foreign correspondents and ensured white farms occupied
on behalf of "the people" have now been given to government ministers, top
military and police officers, civil servants, senior state television
journalists and compliant judges.

"The truth is that Mugabe can afford to let Tsvangirai go free because he
has destroyed the opposition, the independent press and civil society," said
Albert Musarurwa, head of the Legal Resources Foundation, one of the few
human rights groups still working in Zimbabwe. "The government has closed
the space for anybody and everybody who opposes it."

The latest clearances of black peasant settlers, encouraged to occupy farms
from 2000 onwards by Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF, happened last week in farms in
the Chinhoyi area, 150 miles northeast of Harare. Soldiers and police burnt
the settlers' shacks to make way for a takeover by top Zanu-PF and
government officials. In another raid, on a farm to the west of Harare,
hundreds of peasant families were made homeless to make way for Mugabe's
sister Sabina. The Zimbabwe Landless Farmers Association, one of the
organisations originally used by Mugabe to purge white farmers, issued a
statement saying the evictions were now happening to "the poor and landless
people of Zimbabwe to accommodate the rich and politically powerful".

Just how calculating Mugabe has been can be seen by the fact that Tsvangirai
again goes on trial on November 3, facing a second charge of treason
relating to his call last year for street protests to oust Mugabe.

So he will still be unable to retrieve his passport or concentrate on the
opposition's political struggle ahead of next April's parliamentary
elections.

The first reward for Mugabe, following Tsvangirai's acquittal, is likely to
be a verdict by the International Cricket Council that the expulsion of
former Zimbabwe cricket captain Heath Streak and other top white players
from the national side by Zanu-PF commissar Ozias Bvuti did not constitute
racism.

It will pave the way for the England team's tour of Zimbabwe next month,
another success in Mugabe's relentless bid for international respectability.

17 October 2004
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Sunday Times UK

††††††††††† Mugabe rival may call off poll boycott
††††††††††† Karen MacGregor, Durban

††††††††††† ZIMBABWE'S opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has hinted that
his party may drop a threatened boycott of general elections in March after
his unexpected acquittal on treason charges last week.
††††††††††† Tsvangirai said that the "not guilty" verdict, denounced as a
travesty of justice by President Robert Mugabe, could "free up political
space" for his party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), to take part
in the poll.

††††††††††† "It may provide the basis for rapprochement and dialogue in
seeking a resolution to a national crisis that has been dragging on for far
too long," Tsvangirai said.

††††††††††† The "major preoccupation" of the MDC, which won nearly half of
the vote in the 2000 general election, would now be working towards an
election that would deliver a legitimate government, he added.

††††††††††† The former trade unionist said he would take action to secure
the return of his passport, which was confiscated during the legal
proceedings. This would allow him to embark on a foreign tour to rally
support among African leaders.

††††††††††† "Some need persuading that their solidarity should lie not with
Mugabe but with Zimbabwe's people," he said.

††††††††††† The MDC announced its boycott of the election last August,
saying it was no longer prepared to put supporters' lives at risk in a
violent and corrupt electoral environment.

††††††††††† The party nevertheless continued preparatory work for the
election and Tsvangirai now appears to believe the time may be right to take
part. "We certainly want to go in," he said.

††††††††††† Tsvangirai's political activities have been severely curtailed
since before the 2002 elections, when he was charged with hiring Canadian
consultants with the aim of assassinating the president. He claimed he had
been framed but his passport was taken away and he had to report to the
police, who regularly raided his home.

††††††††††† Tsvangirai's court battles are still not over, however. He faces
a second treason charge for calling a strike in June last year to protest
against government policies. Tsvangirai is not worried about the eventual
result, but supporters fear this second case, which has been remanded until
November 3, might be used to bar him from contesting the election.

††††††††††† His acquittal surprised many observers in Harare where it was
widely believed he would be found guilty. Mugabe is known to have stacked
the judicial system with his supporters. Paddington Garwe, the High Court
judge in Tsvangirai's case, is thought to be a staunch supporter of the
government.

††††††††††† Despite Mugabe's denunciation of the verdict - and hints the
state may appeal - some believe the wily president may have ordered a "not
guilty" verdict in an attempt to convince the world of the independence of
Zimbabwe's judiciary.

††††††††††† "A guilty verdict, which carried a possible death sentence,
would have placed huge pressure on Mugabe at a time when he is trying to
bolster African and international support," said Brian Kagoro, chairman of
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, a body of pro-democracy groups.

††††††††††† Reconciliation between Mugabe and his opponents will be
difficult to achieve, however, in a country that has been in turmoil since
2000, when the MDC came from nowhere to beat the president in a referendum
on constitutional reform. It was the first threat to Mugabe's iron grip on
power since independence in 1980.

††††††††††† Nor will the verdict have any immediate effect on the economic
collapse caused by Mugabe's policies, including his encouragement of the
seizure of white-owned farms.

††††††††††† A report released on Friday by Amnesty International, the human
rights group, warned that millions of Zimbabweans were at risk of starvation
after the government's refusal to accept food aid.

††††††††††† Other problems also abound: the International Monetary Fund is
about to pull out after 11 years, in despair over an economy that has shrunk
by more than a third in four years. Unemployment has passed 70% and Zimbabwe
is in the throes of a banking crisis that has seen six financial
institutions closed in the past year.Meanwhile, oppression and corruption
continue unabated.

††††††††††† In what for many is the biggest irony of all, Mugabe's
government has in recent weeks evicted the land-hungry poor from the former
white-owned farms. These are the very people whom the Zimbabwean leader
encouraged to invade the farms in the first place. In some cases they have
been ousted to make way for senior officials.

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Gulf News

Gulf News says: Tsvangirai can unnerve Mugabe

There is little to cheer about in Zimbabwe these days. What should have been
the bread basket of the region has become a place of hunger, both of the
body and the soul.

A country that inspired many when it held its first democratic election in
1980, not least those hoping one day to free apartheid South Africa, is now
a by-word for despair and destitution.
The acquittal of Morgan Tsvangirai offers a rare moment to rejoice.

The verdict was also a triumph for the South African lawyer, George Bizos,
76. Four decades ago, Bizos helped defend Nelson Mandela on charges of
treason. His skills were widely credited with saving the future South
African president from the death penalty. The world benefited from his
courtroom skills then and possibly the world will benefit from his defence
of Tsvangirai.

The case had nothing to do with the farcical charge of treason against
Tsvangirai and more to do with crippling the political and financial
resources of the Zimbabwean opposition, which had to mount a time-consuming
and costly defence of its leader.

The trial sapped the opposition of precious funds and energy. Tsvangirai's
battles with the law are not yet over. Another trial looms. But his
acquittal may be a sign that Mugabe is finally relenting to international
pressure.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) which Tsvangirai heads, came close
to winning parliamentary elections in 2000 and the presidency in 2002, but
international observers said intimidation, violence and vote rigging saved
Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party.

The MDC poses a very real threat to Mugabe's hold on power. Whether this
ruling marks a crack in the edifice of Mugabe's reign of terror or is a
defiant act by a brave judge will soon be revealed. For now though, despite
the renewed hope, Zimbabwe is a land of despair for its people.
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Zim Standard

Tsvangirai speaks about his future
By our own Staff

o MDC to lodge multi-billion dollar lawsuit MOVEMENT for Democratic Change
president, Morgan Tsvangirai says his acquittal from treason charges means
the party can now forge ahead with its drive for a free and democratic
Zimbabwe.

He was speaking in an exclusive interview with The Standard at his
Strathaven house in Harare. The High Court acquitted Tsvangirai of charges
arising from an alleged plot to kill President Robert Mugabe before the 2002
presidential election.
Tsvangirai said campaigning and the strengthening of MDC political
structures around the country would now move a gear up ahead of the March
2005 general elections.

"We are very clear on the way forward. Our detractors had written us off as
the MDC but the outcome of the treason case has made us blossom. Our spirits
have been lifted. We can now mobilize the people of Zimbabwe and bring
change to our beloved Zimbabwe through the March elections if the SADC
Protocol on election guidelines are implemented by the Zimbabwean
government.

"Democracy now has an opportunity to thrive in Zimbabwe. There is a lot of
intolerance and hate speech in Zimbabwe and we need, as a nation, to rise
above that and embrace each other as countrymen and women."

On the pending treason trial in which he is alleged to have called for the
ouster of Mugabe during the "Final Push", he said: "In light of these
developments (acquittal), it would be an injustice to waste tax payers'
money in pursuit of a political motive."

While the interview was taking place, an impromptu party started as a stream
of friends, relatives, party members celebrated his release.

Tsvangirai's wife, Susan, was over the moon over her husband's acquittal.
"We have been having weekly prayer meetings since 2002 with members of the
party, and several women and we were convinced that God would be on the side
of justice," said Susan, a devout Methodist.

Tsvangirai said while the treason trial had traumatised him, he had not
allowed it to dominate his life.

"My children were the most affected. After the verdict, one of them who is
at a university outside the country broke down in tears after hearing that I
had been acquitted. Of course, it was a difficult period as the State media
had all but found me guilty before the trial even began."

After Tsvangirai was acquitted, jubilant members of the opposition started
celebrating in central Harare and as the celebrations started spreading,
police moved in and fired tear-gas to disperse the crowds. The controversial
water cannons bought from Israel were deployed outside the MDC offices at
Harvest House in a show of might.

MDC secretary general, Professor Welshman Ncube, said it was a momentous
time for the party as it cleared the dark cloud that had been hovering above
the party's activities.

"This has given us some space to push for our goals. You can imagine the
chaos and confusion that might have erupted in the country if Tsvangirai had
been convicted," Ncube said.

"I was an accused person together with Tsvangirai for two years and I know
the trauma that is associated with this. This had been a war of the people
of Zimbabwe as we fight for our democratic freedoms," he said.

Sternford Moyo, a legal expert, said there was never going to be a better
and unbiased judgment than the one handed down on Friday.

"The analysis of the evidence that was before the court by the judge
president was sound. Moreover the conclusion is the only conclusion that any
reasonable court could have reached ," Moyo said.

Innocent Chagonda Tsvangirai's lawyer said: "It was also good for Morgan
that he was put to his defence because his side of the story was heard. A
lot of allegations had been made and in some circles they had already
convicted him.

"The judgment came actually as a surprise for me but nonetheless it was a
good, professional and well reasoned judgment. This is a clear indication
that the judge refused to be intimidated and I hope all our judicial
officers should learn from this."

Former University of Zimbabwe Vice-Chancellor Professor Gordon Chavunduka,
said the decision was very positive for MDC.

Lovemore Madhuku, a constitutional lawyer and the chairman of the National
Constitution Assembly, said it was not necessary in the first place to have
Tsvangirai on trial.

"It was never necessary or justified to put Tsvangirai on trial. The
judgment does not show that the judiciary is independent at all. The
acquittal was meant to send a false message of the presence of the rule of
law and it was a convenient decision on their part," Madhuku said.

Veteran politician Edgar Tekere said: "I am very happy for him (Tsvangirai),
and I wish him well in his political career. Politically it could not have
been good for us as a nation if Tsvangirai had been found guilty," Tekere
said.

Meanwhile Tsvangirai is expected to launch a multi billion dollar lawsuit
against people who made "reckless comments" regarding the alleged
assassination plot during the past two and half years
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Zim Standard

GMB's seizure of maize leaves families in distress
By Rutendo Mawere

SEVERAL desperate families who are resorting to rural areas for grain end up
the losers as the State run Grain Marketing Board (GMB) intensifies its
crackdown on "illegal" grain dealers.

Investigations by The Standard reveal that overzealous GMB officials, in
many cases, are impounding all the maize they find in the possession of
people returning from rural areas.
Officially, a person is only allowed to carry 150kg of maize and any extra
grain can be impounded by the GMB because of poor deliveries to its depots.

So far, the GMB has only received about 300 000 tonnes of the grain.

Officials say they are optimistic they will meet the estimated 2,4 million
tonne harvest this year.

Tafara Gweru, a new farmer from Shurugwi had his maize impounded along the
Masvingo- Beitbridge highway on Monday last week .

"I had seven 50kg bags of maize which were meant for three families. We had
contributed money for fuel with my young brothers to go and collect maize
from our farm in Mvuma. I tried in vain to explain why I had more than the
stipulated amount. I then asked the officials to leave me with 150 kgs and
take away the rest but they ignored my pleas and took all the maize," said
Gweru who says he is struggling to feed his family.

Gweru has kept the receipts as evidence that the GMB impounded his maize.

Other affected people who spoke to The Standard complained that even the 150
kg limit was too little considering that maize had become too expensive for
low income people living in urban areas.

With the rising cost of fuel and at times its unavailability, they said, it
was necessary for them to carry as much as they could each time they visited
their rural areas.

"150 kg is a non-starter. I have got eight children and an extended family.
The stipulated kgs can only last for about two and a half months. I cannot
afford to go to my rural home each time we have exhausted the maize
supplies," said another Harare resident who identified himself only as A
Chipaumire.

Fares for rural buses rose sharply last week, with travellers to areas such
as Muzarabani and Dotito in Mashonaland Central now paying between $38 000
and $40 000 a single trip. Operators cite the high cost of procuring
replacement parts, most of which require foreign currency and increases in
the price of fuel.

The Standard heard that some corrupt GMB officials were also worsening the
situation by allegedly demanding bribes before they allow travellers to pass
through the checkpoints with their maize.

"We are left with no option but to share with the officials so that we can
proceed with the maize," said one Harare man.

Retired Colonel Samuel Muvhuti, the chief executive officer of the GMB, was
not immediately available for comment.

However, a loss control official who spoke to The Standard said: "It is only
the surplus that is supposed to be impounded."

Government has designated maize a specified crop that should be delivered
only to GMB depots immediately after harvest.

The GMB is the sole buyer of maize in the whole country as stipulated by the
GMB Act, which compels farmers to register with the organisation and to
deliver their produce within 14 days of harvesting.

The Act prohibits farmers from exporting grain without the permission of the
board.
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Zim Standard

††††† Judge lashes at State's 'suspect witnesses'
††††† By our own staff

††††† JUDGE PRESIDENT Paddington Garwe on Friday reduced to shreds, the
evidence led by star prosecution witness Ari Ben-Menashe and his personal
assistant Tara Thomas and declared the two be treated as "suspect
witnesses."

††††† He said the videotape that formed the basis of the case was of
inferior quality and could not be relied on, while the audiotape of the
London meeting in November 2001 did not help the State's case either because
it was of even poorer quality.
††††† "What is clear is that Mr Menashe had a financial interest," the judge
said, referring to a contract between Ben-Menashe's firm, Dickens and Madson
and the Zimbabwe government that was about to be renewed when the treason
trial opened in February last year. "Neither he nor Tara Thomas can be said
to be impartial. They should be treated as suspect witnesses.

††††† "It's not in dispute that neither in the audio nor the video tape is
there a specific request by the accused to Mr Menashe for the assassination
of President Mugabe and the staging of a military coup.

††††† "The court is not satisfied that there was such a request. According
to the transcript (of the video-tape) remarks made by the accused were
largely in response to questions put to him. He said in the majority of the
cases, Tsvangirai was asked questions and showed that he did not know what
was happening.

††††† He said the prosecution had not established high treason beyond
reasonable doubt.

††††† The prosecution team of Acting Attorney-General Bharat Patel, Director
of Public Prosecutions Joseph Musakwa and Senior Law Officer Morgen
Nemadire, did not immediately respond to the judgment.

††††† MDC officials and supporters who had thronged the public gallery
waiting anxiously as Garwe read the judgement, erupted into a rapturous
applause when the judge pronounced the "not guilty" verdict.

††††† "God is great!" Glen-Norah MP Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said
with a heavy sigh after the more than hour-long judgment. Jubilant party
officials mobbed and hugged Tsvangirai, his wife Susan, smartly dressed in
an olive-green dress, and members of Tsvangirai's defence team.

††††† Tsvangirai, in a grey suit and greyish-blue shirt, wore a broad smile
and joined his supporters in clapping hands when the judge pronounced the
verdict.

††††† The judgment day attracted foreign diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe,
representatives of human rights organisations and members of the public keen
to hear the outcome of the widely publicised case.

††††† Senior MDC officials including national chairman Isaac Matongo, deputy
secretary-general Gift Chimanikire and Fletcher Dulini-Ncube and former
Harare executive mayor Elias Mudzuri, were in the public gallery.

††††† "We are going back to business," secretary-general Welshman Ncube told
reporters outside the court before riot police drove everyone away. "This
has been a cloud hanging over our heads and now it has been cleared. It was
a political trial but the judiciary has acquitted itself very well."

††††† MDC vice-president Gibson Sibanda said: "It's not total that justice
has prevailed in Zimbabwe. In the first instance there was never any
evidence."

††††† Euphoria gripped the city centre as the news of Tsvangirai's acquittal
spread among MDC supporters who had earlier been driven away. The jubilation
was, however, short lived because scores of baton-wielding police went about
indiscriminately beating up pedestrians found in groups.

††††† Unlucky shoppers were caught up in the melee.

††††† Truckloads of anti-riot police patrolled the streets in Harare's
central business district while others stood at street corners in small
groups.

††††† Fighter jets zoomed repeatedly over the Harare skies in a manner that
can only be discribed as intimidatory.

††††† Armed anti-riot police physically prevented the Acting German
Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Counsellor Jan Hendrik van Thiel from entering the
High Court.

††††† Six police officers armed with guns and baton sticks accosted Van
Thiel and ordered him in Shona to leave the High Court premises at once. The
group of police officers surrounded Van Thiel before prodding him with baton
sticks, while some manhandled him across Sam Nujoma Street.

††††† In an interview with The Standard on Friday, Van Thiel said:"What the
ZRP did is not acceptable, and its a clear violation of the Vienna
Convention." He has since lodged a complaint with the government

††††† The police also arrested three women at the main entrance to the High
Court. One of the women asked why she was being taken by the police, and was
told specific charges would be decided at the charge office.
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Zim Standard

††††††††††††††††††††††† Former ZBC staffers form radio station
††††††††††††††††††††††† By Fanuel Jongwe

††††††††††††††††††††††† FORMER ZBC presenters have started a radio station
in London to "provide independent news and information" to Zimbabweans who
are concerned about the deteriorating situation at home.

††††††††††††††††††††††† According to reports from London, the new radio
station - which is available on the Internet - is called Afro-Sounds FM and
went live two weeks ago. Its aim is to provide an alternative to ZBC's
Internet broadcasts. It operates round-the-clock.
††††††††††††††††††††††† "We don't want to only entertain," station manager
and former Radio 4 (now National FM) DJ, Zenzo Ncube, told on-line
newzimbabwe.com last week.

††††††††††††††††††††††† "We want to use entertainment to draw the attention
of Zimbabweans and update them on what is happening in their beloved
country.

††††††††††††††††††††††† "We are happy to be able to provide independent news
and information to Zimbabweans who are concerned about the deteriorating
situation at home. For the greater part of the day, we play music and we
have hourly news updates in the evening."

††††††††††††††††††††††† Among the DJs who will host programmes on the
station are Ezra Sibanda, who made his maiden live broadcast on the new
station on October 1; Gibson and Zenzo Ncube.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Sibanda, popularly known as "Tshisa" by his legion
of fans back home, left Zimbabwe for the UK during the run-up to the March
2002 presidential elections.

††††††††††††††††††††††† He joined the ZBC straight from high school in 1987
and went on to become a listeners' favourite because of articulate skills on
programmes such as the bilingual Dzemhuri/Ezemuli musical request show. He
also did soccer commentaries on Radio 2 (now Radio Zimbabwe).

††††††††††††††††††††††† Gibson Ncube was a presenter on Teen Scene while
Zenzo presented Afro Beat, apart from his work at Radio 4.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Zenzo said they were working on their programme
schedule. He said the programmes would include phone-in slots as well as
interviews with celebrities, ordinary people and policy-makers.

††††††††††††††††††††††† The former ZBC staffers become the latest group of
Zimbabwean broadcasters who have resorted to practising their profession
abroad because of the country's tough broadcast laws, which make it
virtually impossible to operate an independent broadcast station in the
country.
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Zim Standard

Blair's African commission creates goose pimples in Harare
By Kumbirai Mafunda

BRITISH Prime Minister Tony Blair could have come to Africa, avoided
stepping his foot on Zimbabwean soil and could be resting at 10 Downing
Street.

But although Blair was kilometres away from Harare when he attended an
Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) meeting in Ethiopia, Zimbabwe was once
again brought under the spotlight.
Blair, who was attending an ECA meeting in Addis Ababa last week, committed
his country to funding Africa's economic recovery. He told the commission
that he would rally the European Union (EU) and Group of Eight (G8)
countries to support Africa's cause as well. Already, Gordon Brown,
Chancellor of the Exchequer has pledged London would write off its share of
debt owed by the world's poor countries.

"The commission for Africa will help us to examine how Africa can be helped
through means such as debt relief, health programmes and trade. It is
important for African countries to decide what their own priorities are
rather than having them imposed from outside. That is why it is so
appropriate that this second meeting is taking place in Addis Ababa, the
seat of the African union," said Blair.

Britain formed and funds the commission for Africa, which seeks to solve
Africa's problems. However, the British Premier warned that countries with a
poor human rights record would not benefit from the initiative, while
African leaders would also have to step up peer pressure for rogue
governments to reform bringing to light Zimbabwe as a focal point of the
Africa Peer Review Mechanism.

The Africa Peer Review Mechanism is a new mechanism for monitoring each
volunteering country's progress towards political and economic reform.
Launched early this year in Rwanda, it is a step towards implementing the
continent's economic recovery plan, the New Economic Partnership for
Africa's Development, otherwise known as NEPAD.

Except for crisis-torn Zimbabwe, 23 countries, covering 75% of the
population of sub-Saharan Africa, have now signed up for peer reviews, which
will improve governance and accountability. Ghana and Rwanda have already
been the first countries to be assessed under the Africa Peer Review
Mechanism.

Economic analysts believe the peer review mechanism is a step in the right
direction for it encourages African leaders to pursue established ideals on
good governance, while being able to assess their performances.

"It is the in thing because Heads of States agreed upon the launch of NEPAD
to avail themselves for assessment," says Tapiwa Mashakada, the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)'s shadow finance minister. "The only
unfortunate thing is that it remains voluntary."

Blair, reports say, is likely to convince the EU and G8 countries to release
billions of pounds for Africa's recovery and the British Premier said he
would put the continent on the top of the EU and G8 agenda for next year.

Blair tasked his commission on Africa, whose members include Tanzanian
President Benjamin Mkapa, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, South
African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, among others, to come up with a
report detailing Africa's needs by February next year.

Analysts say the commission is likely to call for multilateral debt to be
written off and the international budget to double.

Blair, on the other hand, asked Africa to intensify peer group review to
stamp out human rights abuses in return. He would also convince rich
countries to cease selling arms to rebel groups and governments with poor
human rights records.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw recently said his country was working
on ensuring an international arms sales embargo to countries such as
Zimbabwe and North Korea.

Most analysts interviewed were unanimous that Zimbabwe would not benefit
from this initiative as long as the ruling Zanu PF government is in power.

"With its irregular policies and with its determination to ruin the future
of this country the chances of benefiting from the commission are zero,"
said economic consultant Peter Robinson of Zimconsult. "When you have
regimes like the one in Zimbabwe you can't write off debt," he added.

Currently Zimbabwe is saddled with a huge foreign and domestic debt
estimated to be hovering around US$6 billion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is closing down its offices in
the capital, will consider Zimbabwe's expulsion from the 184-member fund in
December for persistently accumulating overdue arrears.

Blair says both African leaders and the international community should not
have any excuses by the time the report is produced next year. He said the
lack of political will to solve the continent's problems was hindering
Africa's growth.

"Next year will be the year of decision for Africa and the international
community. The time for excuses will be over. The one thing that stands
between them and us, between success and failure, is the absence of
political will," he said

However, other critics warn that Blair's commission could be a public
relations exercise meant to spruce up his international image in the
aftermath of the Iraqi crisis.

"The commission has quite a lot to do with Blair. He wants to be seen as an
international statesman," said one critic who spoke anonymously.
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Zim Standard

Diplomatic tiff over dead SA mercenary suspect
By our own Staff

THE South African embassy has complained to Zimbabwean authorities for not
using official diplomatic channels to inform them about the death of Ngave
Jerukemo Muharukua, one of the suspected mercenaries at Chikurubi.

The South Africans were reportedly annoyed to learn of the death of a
compatriot from journalists who were seeking confirmation of Muharukua's
death last week.
Muharukua was one of a group of 68 foreigners arrested at the Harare
International Airport early this year allegedly on their way to Equatorial
Guinea to topple that country's despotic leader, Theodore Obiang Nguema.
They were jailed for contravening the Immigration and Aviation Acts.

Muharukua, who reportedly died of meningitis at Harare Central Hospital on 4
October, was a Namibian national holding South African citizenship. Jonathan
Samkange, who represented Muharukua and the other suspected mercenaries,
confirmed on Thursday that the South African embassy had lodged an official
complaint.

Kingsley Sithole, the Counsellor Political said:"There should have been
consultations between officials from the South African mission and relevant
ministries on this matter."
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Zim Standard

Prices of basic commodities continue to skyrocket
By Valentine Maponga

THE prices of basic commodities have drastically shot up well beyond the
reach of ordinary Zimbabwean workers in the past three months despite
reports of the falling inflation rate, The Standard has established.

As a result of the regular price increases now being effected almost on a
fortnightly basis, most Zimbabweans are failing to make ends meet and can
now only afford one meal a day.
According to figures compiled by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) a
packet of 2kg white sugar was going for $2 800 in August but rose to $5 680
in September.

A 750 ml bottle of cooking oil shot up from $7 500 to $10 280 during the
same period, while a bar of washing soap is selling at $9 250 up from $7 300
while a 500ml packet of fresh milk rose from $2 486 to $3 080.

"Whenever I come to buy household food stuff I carry with me an extra $2 000
for each product because every time I go shopping there would be new price
tags," said Mr Ennita Sigauke, as she picked up a handful of commodities for
her family in Harare on Wednesday.

The consumer watchdog said a family of six required a minimum of $1 494 700
in September up from $1 400 078 a month before.

This is despite reports that the country's year-on-year inflation went down
by 62,9 percentage points to 251,5 percent by the end of September.

The CCZ public relations manager, Tonderai Mukeredzi, expressed concern at
the recent increases saying they seriously eroded family incomes. He said
there were serious discrepancies between what most people were earning and
what they have to spend on food and transport.

"The CCZ is concerned that basic commodities continue to be priced beyond
the reach of many consumers. Recent increases in the price of fuel and
landline phones have triggered a wave of price increases," the CCZ said.

The consumer watchdog is currently lobbying for a minimum wage of $1 400
000, in line with the poverty datum line. Most people in the country get a
net salary of less than $750 000, making life unbearable, Mukeredzi said.
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Zim Standard

Chombo to appear in Court

IGNATIUS Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National
Housing, has been summoned to appear before a Mutare magistrate this week to
testify in the trial of Mutare City Council which is in the dock for
contaminating Sakubva River.

The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) is the complainant.
The City Council, represented by Issue Matting, on Wednesday appeared before
Musakwa facing charges of polluting Sakubva River as well as disposing raw
sewage without a permit from ZINWA.

The council needs to pay about $173 million in order to get a permit from
water authority to dispose of its refuse. The amount includes accruing
levies.

Public Prosecutor, Abiot Kachirika told The Standard that either Chombo or
his permanent secretary, David Munyoro, is scheduled to appear before Mutare
magistrate, Billiard Musakwa, on Tuesday to testify that he directed Mutare
City Council to suspend rates increase.

Mutare City Council had increased its rates to ensure sustainability under
the current hyper-inflationary environment.

"The City Council requested that the Minister be there to testify because it
(council) is saying due to the suspension of rates, it has no money to
upgrade its sewerage works or to buy a permit from Zinwa," said Kachirika.

Chombo suspended the 2004 Mutare City Council budget on May 28 this year
saying the residents would not be able to pay the new rates under the
current economic hardships. He also suspended many other council budgets
including those of Harare and Bulawayo.

Mutare executive mayor Misheck Kagurabadza on Thursday also confirmed that
Chombo had been summoned to testify that he directed the suspension of the
2004 Mutare council budget.

He said because Chombo's suspension directive was verbal, the Minister has
to appear in person to testify. The suspension of the rates increases had
crippled operations of the council, he said.

"They want to prove that he suspended the 2004 budget because that actually
incapacitated the operations of the council," Kagurabadza said.

It is the State case that council employees at Gimboki Sewerage Works
unlawfully discharged raw effluent into Sakubva River without a permit on
May 26 this year. It said the raw effluent from the sewerage works polluted
water downstream.

Kachiridza said investigations by a water quality scientist with ZINWA,
Webster Munhundiripo, revealed that the water was contaminated and that the
council was carrying out operations without a permit from the authority.

Meanwhile, official sources at ZINWA told The Standard that several
municipalities countrywide face legal action from the authority for
polluting water sources.

The official cited Chitungwiza City Council, Chinhoyi, Kwekwe and Bulawayo
as some of the councils facing legal actions from ZINWA.

"For example, Chitungwiza is disposing its raw sewage into water sources.
You can actually go there and take nice photographs," said the official.
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Zim Standard

Lawyers complain of human rights abuse in Zimbabwe
By Caiphas Chimhete

THE Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) in conjunction with the
Institute of Human Rights and Development in Africa has filed a complaint
with the African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) over
continued gross abuse of human rights and poor administration of justice in
the country.

The two organisations called on the African Commission to apply pressure on
President Robert Mugabe's government to stop gross human rights abuses as
well as allow the participation of citizens in issues of governance.

The ACHPR, earlier clashed with Zimbabwean authorities over a damning report
that detailed gross human rights abuses in the country. In July debate on
the report was deferred after the Zimbabwean government lobbied against its
discussion at the African Union (AU) summit in Ethiopian.

Dr Stan Mudenge, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, protested against the
report at the AU summit, saying Zimbabwe was not accorded an opportunity to
respond to allegations in the report.

The controversial report is scheduled for discussion at the commission's
36th Ordinary Session in Senegal next month.

Arnold Tsunga, the director of ZLHR, a human rights advocacy organisation,
said his organisation had taken up the matter with the ACHPR after being
gravely concerned about the absence of real and effective remedies for human
rights violations in domestic tribunals.

"In particular, the courts in Zimbabwe have increasingly failed to be the
guarantor and protector of fundamental rights and freedoms resulting in the
rise in cases of lawlessness and abuse of power by the Executive," said the
ZLHR director.

"With the elections in March 2005, it is necessary that the Zimbabwean
government be taken to task on issues of addressing electoral
irregularities, which characterized the elections in 2000 and 2002," Tsunga
said.

In their communication to the ACHPR, the organisations also cited, among
other things, skewed laws and pending electoral petitions that were yet to
be finalised, six months before Zimbabweans go to the polls again in 2005.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) filed most of the
outstanding electoral petitions soon after the 2000 parliamentary polls.

Also, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's electoral challenge of Mugabe's victory
in the 2002 presidential polls has not been finalised.

Philliat Matsheza, the executive director of the Human Rights Trust of
Southern Africa (SAHRIT), said filing of a complaint to the commission is
normally done after all internal channels have been exhausted.

"Although the commission has no enforcement mechanisms, governments are
expected to comply with its findings because it puts the image of that
particular government in bad light," Matsheza said.
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Zim Standard

Standard correspondent arrested
By our own Staff

GWERU - Harassment of independent journalists continued last week with
police arresting Richard Musazulwa, the Midlands correspondent for The
Standard.

Police from the Law and Order Section in Gweru arrested Musazulwa on Tuesday
over a story that appeared in the August 22 edition of the paper.
Musazulwa appeared before Gweru magistrate, Tineyi Saugweni, onWednesday
facing charges of contravening Section 80 (1)(b) of the Access to
Information and Protection and Privacy Act (AIPPA) Chapter 10:27.

He was accused of "abusing journalistic privilege by publishing falsehoods"
and remanded to 28 October on $50 000 bail.

Musazulwa, who is the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) secretary for
Midlands reported on the chaos that ensued at Thornhill Airbase in Gweru
when hungry Zanu PF youths tried to gatecrash a Heroes' luncheon hosted by
the army chiefs.

According to the outline of the charge, Musazulwa who witnessed the incident
"wrote a story in which he alleged that some hungry Zanu PF youths had
rioted at Thornhill Airbase intending to gatecrash at the Luncheon which was
being hosted by the army for senior party officials.

"He further alleged that army and police personnel were called to quell the
violence. Investigations proved that there was no such incident but it was
merely accused's fabrications."

Tonderai Chitere of Chitere, Chidawanyika and Associates, is representing
Musazulwa.

Musazulwa becomes one of the first few journalists in Midlands to be charged
under AIPPA and it is also the first time a Gweru Magistrate's Court handled
such a matter.

Before the August incident anti-riot police at a CASEP workshop in Gweru
assaulted Musazulwa before Colonel Thomas Moyo and a Major Peters assaulted
him at the Zimbabwe Military Academy (ZMA) camp.

Six months after a report to the police, no investigations have taken place
and police sources told The Standard that there was a plan to charge
Musazulwa for allegedly making a false report.

Meanwhile Kwekwe CID Law and Order arrested another journalist, Owen Matava,
who works for the Midlands News on Wednesday.

His lawyer, Dumisani Charles Kufaruwenga of Dzimba, Jaravaza and Associates,
said the journalist did not appear in court but made a warned and cautioned
statement at the CID in Gweru.

Kufaruwenga said Matava was released and proceedings would be by way of
summons. Matava is accused of writing a false story in which he alleged that
former Kwekwe mayor Johnson Mawere would be taking over as the new Midlands
governor from Cephas Msipa.

The story did not go down well with Msipa who on Wednesday instructed
members of the CID to arrest Matava, said his lawyer.

Midlands ZUJ chairperson Zerubabel Mudzingwa condemned the arrest of the
reporter saying AIPPA was still being discriminately applied to journalists
working for independent media.

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Zim Standard

Umzingwane villagers plead for food assistance
From Savious Kwinika in Umzingwane

UMZINGWANE - Traditional leaders and Zanu PF councillors in the drought
ravaged Matabeleland South province are appealing to international food
relief agencies to urgently return to the region and start feeding thousands
of villagers on the verge of starvation.

Speaking to The Standard during a tour of Matabeleland South last week,
several Zanu PF councillors, chiefs and people living with HIV/Aids
complained that the food situation had drastically deteriorated thereby
worsening conditions of people living with HIV/Aids.
The Standard visited Umzingwane, Esigodini, Mawabeni, Mtshede, Msizini,
Sikoveni and Gongo-Zolo communal lands in Matabeleland South.

The villagers bemoaned the withdrawal of World Food Programme (WFP) and its
supporting agencies such as World Vision Zimbabwe and ORAP (Organisation of
Rural Associations for Progress), which were mainly involved in food relief
operations targeted at thousands of starving villagers.

Zanu PF Ward 3 Councillor for Gongo-Zololo in Umzingwane, Nathaniel Mhlanga,
said the food situation in the area had been worsened by insufficient grain
at the sole Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depot in the district.

"The food situation is very bad and we need urgent assistance. We have a GMB
depot here, but the grain comes once a month, and in most cases the is
insufficient for the needs of the entire district.

"Villagers have exhausted the little grain they harvested and from July 2004
up to the present moment (October) people have been buying grain while
others go for days without food," said Mhlanga.

Village head for Sikova, Reuben Ncube (65), said government departments,
including the Agricultural Rural and Extension Services (AREX) officers in
the area, were aware of the acute food scarcity but nothing was being done
about it.

Ncube said he feared the situation might have contributed to untimely deaths
of those living with HIV/Aids.

He appealed to the WFP and international food relief agencies to urgently
revive the abandoned food redistribution programme and rescue an estimated
700 000 people in Matabeleland South region from starvation.

"We have been knocking at the government doors on a daily basis for food
relief but there is nothing concrete in sight. The government always tells
villagers to wait for the grain but once again, the grain that comes once a
month is too little for thousands of people who would have gone for days
without food.

Mtshede village head in Esigodini communal lands, Moffat Chisali, said the
rate at which people living with HIV/Aids were dying could be worsened by
the acute food shortage.

"There is little grain and people living with HIV/Aids are suffering. They
are weak and they need food," said Chisali.

Pelina Sibanda, a volunteer community worker told The Standard at Sikoveni
communal lands that the situation was desparate.

"The situation is pathetic, especially for those living with HIV/Aids. Some
may be dying before their time comes due to lack of food," Sibanda said.

Contacted for comment last week, the World Food Programme (WFP)
spokesperson, Makena Walker, said the chiefs, headmen, villager heads and
Zanu PF ward councillors in the drought stricken Matabeleland South province
should not direct their appeal to the WFP but to the government.

"An appeal for food aid should not be directed to us (WFP) but to the
government. Once the government approaches us for food relief, we will act
to avert the suffering.

We have done that before and we will always help when called in.

"Currently we are we not distributing food aid to everybody. We are
channelling our aid to the vulnerable people in the countryside, especially
children whose parents have died of Aids.

"Personally, I understand the difficult situation the people of Matabeleland
region are going through but there is nothing we can do unless they
(villagers) have made a strong appeal to the government, then we will come
in and act," Walker said.

She said the World Food Programme had covered the entire country to assess
the food situation and filed their findings for future references.

Efforts to get comment from Matabeleland South governor, Angeline Masuku,
proved fruitless. Her secretary continuously told this reporter that the
resident minister was out of office.

Recently, the government threatened Bulawayo city authorities and the
independent Press over stories on the acute food shortage in the country,
which have resulted in several children under the age of five and some
elderly people in Bulawayo dying as a result of malnutrition.
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Zim Standard

Comment

Tsvangirai acquittal - victory for justice

SUCH was the extent of the belief in the partisanship of the judiciary in
this country that the Movement for Democratic change (MDC) party had
prepared two statements before the verdict, ensuring a quick turnaround
whatever the result was to be.

Even when they were confronted by the actual news that Morgan Tsvangirai had
been acquitted, there was shocked disbelief in many circles and some people
refused to believe it. "That cannot be" many were heard to say. This is
hardly surprising when one considers that we are dealing essentially with a
poisoned and polarised political environment.
Be that as it may, the point is that Tsvangirai has been acquitted, and thus
absolved of any blame for the alleged plot to assassinate President Robert
Mugabe. One did not have to be a lawyer to conclude on the basis of evidence
presented during the trial that the charges were illogical and completely
unsupportable.

It was abundantly clear that international fraudster and fortune-hunter Ari
Ben Menashe had framed the rather naive Tsvangirai and the charges were
trumped-up and politically motivated.

While it is beyond the means of this newspaper to immediately gauge Ben
Menashe's own reaction to the verdict, presumably in sharp contrast, most
Zimbabweans received the news of Tsvangirai's court victory with audible
gasps of relief.

Here was a man standing in the shadow of the gallows with the hostile eyes
of Zanu PF upon him - and all right thinking people must thank God that
justice has not only been done but has been seen to be done. God has
answered not only the prayers of the Tsvangirai family but the prayers of
all fair-minded people at home and abroad.

These are difficult times for the Opposition in Zimbabwe. And it is during
these turbulent times that judges and magistrates should stay out of
political differences that exist. And clearly here, Judge Paddington Garwe
and the assessors have applied the law on proven facts and they have, as
they should, jealously guarded the liberty and rights of citizens. More
power to them!

Any other verdict would have been tantamount to a travesty of justice. The
video tape in which Ari Ben Menashe claimed that the MDC leader plotted the
assassination of President Mugabe was an amateurish piece of
clock-and-dagger theatre that has no place in civilized human relations.

While modern electronic gadgets such as those used by the former Israeli spy
to entrap Tsvangirai would ordinarily place undeniable evidence before the
courts, to convict on the basis of the Menashe's video recording, described
by all who saw it as grainy, blurred, inaudible among othe adjectives, could
have been seriously undermined public confidence in the justice system. The
truth was more mundane - and more revealing.

Indeed, to deduce an act of conspiracy and treason from the flimsy evidence
that was the hallmark of the charges against Tsvangirai would have been to
turn the very concept of justice on its head!

But more important is the fact that Tsvangirai's victory this first round is
as charged with sorrow and doubt as it is with joy and gratitude. A second
treason charge is hanging over his head and democratic forces everywhere
cannot sleep easily. The battle is not over yet. Zimbabweans are in for a
long haul.

It is important to emphasise the point that democracy is always and
everywhere a job in progress. It goes back and forth.

We all thought that full-blown democracy was established in 1980. We were
wrong - very wrong. Looking back on the past 24 years that Zimbabwe has been
independent, it has been a case of two steps forward and three steps back.

And in our country today, freedom and democracy are as vulnerable as ever
and justice and fair play in particular are in intensive care unit.

In Zanu PF's scheme of things at the moment, thinking differently is
treasonous. This is the party which, with its much touted liberation war
credentials, fought hard for the same freedoms that it is now busy trampling
upon.

In the second treason charge, Tsvangirai's language could be more dramatic
than its practical interpretation but the truth of the matter is that he was
merely calling on Zimbabweans to peacefully demonstrate to show their
discontent and disillusionment with the government's failure to resolve the
country's economic calamity. What is so treasonous about that?

But this is the reality of our country today. Express a different opinion or
view from Zanu PF's, then you are branded an enemy. How sad that former
patriots have been transformed overnight into traitors!

Morgan Tsvangirai must continue to push on in the full knowledge and
comforting belief that pain and a price attends progress and that God is on
his side and so are men and women of goodwill nationally and
internationally.

And in the judiciary we must continue to trust

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Zim Standard

Your money, yes - your vote, no!
overthetop By Brian Latham

TROUBLED central Africans in the Diaspora were alarmed to learn this week
that their government wants their money, but not their votes.

The troubled central African nation's minister of curious justice announced
that only people resident in the troubled central African country could
vote.
Meanwhile the embattled governor of the central African nation's depleted
central bank continued to make calls for exiled troubled central Africans to
send their money home.

The same exiled troubled central Africans, interviewed by Over The Top, said
they'd consider sending money home if the money was to be used to buy
transparent ballot boxes for their postal votes.

As this was not going to be the case, they said, they had a short and
unprintable answer for the worried banker back home.

Assurances that repatriated foreign currency would be put to "good use" went
unheeded by troubled central Africans in the Diaspora.

"We know what those good uses are," said one troubled central African living
a long way from home in the frozen north. "Mainly they involve the purchase
of blunt instruments that are used to influence elections in a manner not
usually associated with democratic principles of good governance."

Meanwhile the government of the troubled central African nation put its
other foot in its mouth by accusing a confused African Union and United
Nations of "ambush tactics" at a conference in Ethiopia.

Zany officials said a report criticising the troubled central African regime
had been sprung on them at the last minute in an ambush that gave them no
time to respond.

Not so, said the compilers of the report. It was written in conjunction with
the obviously muddled government who certainly had sight of it long before
it was distributed.

None of this stopped the Zany Party's Daily Horrid newspaper engaging in a
propaganda orgy over the matter, claiming enthusiastic support for the
troubled central African regime in Addis Ababa.

When asked just how enthusiastic the support was, an independent observer
said, "Um."

Pressed further, the independent observer, who cannot be named for the same
reasons as the Horrid cannot name its sources, said, "There was considerable
spontaneous support for the troubled central African nation from delegates
from the troubled central African nation. Other than that, I am afraid I
know nothing."

While the events are unrelated, they fall ahead of elections set for March
next year in the troubled central African country. Over The Top can dispel
rumours that the results of the election are already secretly available.
This is because there is considerable disagreement within the Zany Party
about who's names should be on the ballot papers. Still, in common with
democratic principles established by such friendly nations as North Korea,
Libya, Cuba and China, officials will soon begin working on the problem and
an inner circle should know the March election results as early as December.

Meanwhile in a further unrelated event, the same Zany justice minister
(surely an oxymoron?) said the opposition More Drink Coming Party could not
expect access to the Zany-owned airwaves until the run-up to the election.

In the meantime, he said, the broadcaster was free to show what news it
liked, so long as that news was acceptable to the Zany Party. This is
because the Zany Party represents all true, patriotic troubled central
Africans, while the More Drink Coming Party represents the millions of
troubled central Africans who have fled poverty and violence and are not
allowed to vote anyway.

Insiders in the Zany Party told OTT that the best place for the More Drink
Coming Party to seek broadcasting time was on CNN.
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Zim Standard

Mugabe, architect of Zimbabwe's collapse

READING about fuel selling at most ridiculous prices and the ongoing
corruption at Noczim comes to me as no surprise at all.

Certainly, this is nothing new to Zimbabweans; this sort of massive
corruption at Noczim is not unprecedented. This has gone on for far too long
and has earned perpertrators of this gigantic fraud, who happen to be well
connected Zanu PF faithfulls, billions of dollars.
When I look back to those days under the strict rationing of fuel during Ian
Smith's UDI, one cannot but admire the integrity of those who ran this task.
They were all basically committed to their cause. Rightly or wrongly these
Rhodesians were steadfast in ensuring the economy ran smoothly.

This was just one aspect of the commitment to UDI. There are many more
examples. When we compare this to our present situation, what we are
witnessing is an absolute tragedy. Our independence created a new selfish
class bent on filling their pockets, aided and abetted by Zanu PF and
creating new billionaires overnight.

Robert Mugabe has the audacity to accuse the West for our economic downturn;
he should be comparing his own mismanagement of Zimbabwe and admit to
himself that Ian Smith at least did a lot better.

Yes, Ian Smith was a resolute racist and yes he denied Zimbabweans basic
human rights, but at the end of the day we still had affordable food,
shelter and transport.

Mugabe in a relatively short period has turned the lives of 99% of our
people into a living nightmare; this man has nothing to be proud of. He is
the principal architect of Zimbabwe's downfall.

Zimbabwean in Exile

California
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Zim Standard

Challenging Chombo's undue influence
By Takura Zhangazha

THE crusades by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National
Housing, Ignatious Chombo, against local authorities in opposition
strongholds is the stuff that depressing politics is made of.

While it may sound like everyday language, the consistency the minister has
shown in dealing heavy-handedly with local governments has undermined the
democratisation process where it matters the most in Zimbabwe .
Perhaps with deliberate and malicious intent, Chombo has begun a
redefinition of what it means to be a locally elected politician. He has,
albeit with the acquiescence of the executive, trivialised local government
elections, local political institutions and community-based organisations
beyond the pale.

He has shown that local elections are secondary to the national ones not
only in relation to the practice of power, but more so in terms of their
relevance to the bringing of freedom to the doorstep of the people of
Zimbabwe.

In the capital of Harare, there is a subtle if sometimes non-existent
discontent with the Chombo sanctioned remnants at Town House. The water
crisis, for all its health hazards as well as its continuity, is being
articulated in the most political of fashions. The government and its media
have placed the blame on the opposition councillors while the opposition, in
turn, has blamed blatant government interference in the activities of
council as the reason why the capital city is in its current state.

What one might however disagree with is the reaction to these machinations
by Chombo and officials in the ministry as well as the council. It is the
familiar feeling of anguish, hopelessness that pervades many a Harare
resident when they wake up in the morning to the stark realisation that
there is no water to take a bath/shower and any other such uses that we make
of water every morning. Beyond that, it is acquiescence, and the shrugging
of shoulders.

To explain this acquiescence, it it is convenient and preferable simply to
point a finger at the repressive laws and brutality of the police but that
is patently inadequate. Chombo functions on the basis of the politicisation
of local government institutions and issues. At every turn in his political
manoevering, he waits to utilise the Urban Councils Act to undermine the
opposition led councils strictly for the purpose of the reclaiming political
ground lost by Zanu PF.

An example of this type of political trickery has been the manner in which
he is dealing with the Bulawayo City Council's position on starving
residents in the City of Kings. Chombo conveniently ignores the actual issue
of the dying and starving, and pursues the mayor with venom.

The opposition councillors on the other hand, react in kind. They react with
a simultaneous politicisation of local council issues. They got into office
by correctly claiming the failure of Zanu PF but have since proven inept at
de-politicising their electoral victories in order to garner support among
the residents.

One might argue, that everything in Zimbabwe is political and therefore the
councillors were not naive or simplistic in attacking Chombo from a
politicised view. True, this argument would sustain a conversation but I
hazard to add, would come nowhere near sustaining a continually politically
conscious urban populace.

What perhaps should be addressed is the meaning of "local issues" and as a
consequence, the significance of local government in the context of
Zimbabwe's dictatorship. local issues related mainly to the provision of
amenities within a specific community. These services will include running
(and clean) water provision, health services, education and management
public transport.

This goes both for the rural and the urban communities that comprise
Zimbabwe. These issues have direct relevance to people's lives and
essentially, are life and death matters. They do not in any way pre-suppose
a distant governing authority that is run solely on the basis of the number
of council meetings held or the type of offices that an authority is housed
in. Local issues are "living" or "organic" issues that are articulated
everyday in the locality in which they are residing. In other words, local
issues, because they relate to the day-to-day events of people's lives, are
the bedrock of mass mobilisation.

Chombo, by running the Harare council into the ground, should have created
fertile ground for discontent within the capital. On the contrary however,
he has successfully managed, at least for now, to create a comfortable
victory for himself. Because the elected councillors reacted in an
"political" sense, by correctly accusing the government of usurping the
people's will, they lost out on the meaning of continued engagement with the
local issues affecting residents.

To clarify, the engagement with local issues does not mean council
resolutions and availability of funds only from rates or central government.
It means continued mobilisation of residents on the basis of the evident
discontent over the manner in which services are being provided.

To centre on power institutions is to miss the mark widely. A city council
exists in so far as it regulates the city, but the issues that are affecting
residents exist with them and they must be moved to act upon issues that are
being ignored.

When there have been the organisation of demonstrations, issues of mass
action, the central focus has been targeting institutions of authority in
the country and articulation of a good governance agenda. The brave men and
women who have been organising these demonstrations have to include as part
of their grievances, local issues.

Moreover, they need to decentralise these demonstrations to places such as
residential areas, where even though they will get less press coverage, they
will etch themselves into the local psyche for working on more immediate
concerns.

It is from there that there will be a renewal of the popular support against
the government and the likes of Chombo.

The former MDC councilors for Harare should now be directly involved in
challenging Chombo on the basis of community mobilisation in their wards,
and the creation of alternative means of dealing with the problems
bedeviling the residents.

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Zim Standard

Moyo has successfully destroyed Zanu PF
Sundaytalk with Pius Wakatama

IN Zanu PF you just can't fight against Professor Jonathan Moyo, the
Minister of State for Information and Publicity, and win.

He is untouchable. This is why I laughed out loud when I read in last week's
Standard that Vice-President Joseph Msika had vowed to take "drastic
measures' against him and war veterans' leader Jabulani Sibanda.
The fact that the Vice-President talked to the so-called "British sponsored"
Standard and not to the government owned Sunday Mail or Herald shows the
depth of his problem. He was afraid that the government papers would either
not print his views or twist them to Moyo's advantage since he directly
controls them.

Msika, in The Standard story, said he had advised President Robert Mugabe
that elevating Moyo and Sibanda to Zanu PF's Central Committee and Politburo
was a mistake. He said: "I told President Mugabe that these boys are like
misguided missiles which can attack the one triggering them. Their wrong
doings are now clearly known by the Central Committee. These boys behave
like renegades. President Mugabe must be wary of these
Johnny-come-latelies."

The Standard reported that Msika, who was seething with anger, stressed the
need to deal with the two. "We are going to take drastic measures against
these people," he seethed,"After all they are fake freedom fighters. These
people never participated in the armed struggle but they are always causing
commotion in Zanu PF.

"What boggles the mind is that these mafikizolos have found their way into
both the Central Committee and the Politburo yet they are not from Zanu PF
structures such as cells, branches, wards, districts and provincial."

Vice-President Msika's mind needs not be boggled as to how these two,
especially Moyo, leap-frogged party structures. They were helped over by
none other than President Robert Mugabe himself. Surely, the Vice-President
is aware of this self-evident fact. By threatening to fight Moyo, Msika
might be taking on the President himself for Moyo enjoys the President's
patronage.

Not that the President takes Vice-President Msika seriously. He never did
from the very beginning. His appointment to the Vice-Presidency after the
death of Joshua Nkomo was just a political ploy to continue to accommodate
and placate Zapu leaders whom he had reluctantly taken aboard in order to
consummate the so-called Unity Accord. He does not have much use for them.
They are just convenient window dressing. The Accord itself did not result
in the amalgamation of Zapu and Zanu, but the swallowing of the former by
the latter.

Msika should have learnt this by now. He has been contradicted left and
right by both the President and Moyo. The latest was the Kondozi affair. He
precisely ordered the invaders to leave Kondozi alone only to be
contradicted by Moyo. What did he do about it? He put his tail between his
legs and sheepishly told the nation that he had reached and understanding
with the President about it - whatever that was supposed to mean.

I just can't figure out what makes the Vice-President think that now he can
fight Moyo and win. Respected Zanu PF stalwart, Nathan Shamuyarira tried it
and failed precisely because Moyo has the approval of the President. I would
not be surprised if, as rumour has it, Msika finds himself out of the
Vice-Presidency to be replaced by Moyo. Already Moyo has more clout in Zanu
PF than the Vice-President. Already he is squaring up to challenge Zanu PF
national chairman, John Nkomo, in primaries for the forthcoming general
elections. With the President's patronage he might just win and if the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) does not contest the elections he will
be in and Nkomo will be out.

It is not only the Vice-President whose mind boggles at how Moyo found his
way into the highest echelons of power in Zanu PF and the government. It is
an open secret that his rise to power and disrespect for Zanu PF senior
leaders has raised the ire of most of them. This is more so because of his
opposition and criticism of Zanu PF in the past.

In 1993 the Zimbabwe Independent published a speech in which he said: "A few
months ago the Minister of State Security, Sydney Sekeramayi, claimed that
Zimbabwe was facing a serious threat to national security from special
sections of the Press.

"Such claims are preposterous not least because they fail to recognise that
more often than not, national security is compromised by those in power who
are in a position to trade in official secrets to which they have unlimited
access. On the basis of this premise, one can analyse considerable public
information to show that Zanu PF poses the greatest threat to national
security in Zimbabwe today."

Four years ago, yours truly realised that Moyo was the best ally that the
opposition MDC ever had. He was slowly destroying Zanu PF from within. I
said, about him, in The Daily News of December 23 2000: "He (Jonathan Moyo)
still hates Zanu PF. The only difference is that he has changed his strategy
and tactics. He was smart enough to realise that the Zanu PF monolith could
never be dislodged by confrontation.

"Professor Moyo followed the wise saying: 'If you can't beat them, join
them.' Thus like a weevil he wormed his way into the ruling party until he
became a member of the Politburo. He did not have to start from the cell to
the branch, the province, the central committee and then the politburo as is
the norm. No, sir, he was in a hurry to accomplish his mission of destroying
Zanu PF from inside.

". He took note of Mugabe's vanity, egoism and egotism and decided to use
that to catapult himself to the highest echelons of power. This was not
difficult because Jongwe is terribly susceptible to praise and adulation.
He, therefore, started to sing the President's praises and in no time, his
soft purring voice put the mighty Gushungo in a trance and had him literally
eating out of his hands."

Yes, Professor Moyo has almost won his battle against Zanu PF. He has
created commotion and disunity in the party as Vice-President Msika says. He
has destroyed Zanu PF as people knew it. It is now but a shell of its old
self. The only thing holding it together is the person of President Robert
Mugabe. It is now his private property. When he goes Zanu PF is finished.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
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Comment From ZWNEWS, 16 October

No victory for justice

"The government of Zimbabwe is of the strong view that the accused, Morgan
Tsvangirai, has been wrongly acquitted," justice minister Chinamasa said on
Friday, as if Tsvangirai's acquittal had come as a shock to him. A headline
in today's Sunday Mail reads "We congratulate Justice Garwe for his verdict,
but." Elsewhere, Tsvangirai's acquittal has been trumpeted as a victory for
justice, and proof positive that the Zimbabwe's courts and judges are still
impartial. The court gave the correct verdict. Tsvangirai was never guilty
of treason. But a victory for justice? Let's take a short walk through the
chronology.

The judgement in this trial was originally due to be handed down on 29 July.
Two weeks before, information emerged that the court intended to convict. A
week later, the judgement date was suddenly and indefinitely deferred.
Something changed profoundly in that week before the decision was taken to
postpone the judgement day. What could have brought about such an abrupt
change of course?

One possibility is that other African countries may have been briefed in
advance as to the content of the forthcoming verdict. One or more of those
countries - South Africa and Nigeria seem likely candidates - may have
reacted with alarm, and warned the Zimbabwe government of the consequences
of a guilty verdict. Another possibility is that the two lay assessors - who
are somewhat analogous to the jury in other countries - played a pivotal
role in this case. They and the judge each have an equal vote when deciding
matters of fact. When the original judgement date was postponed, there were
many media reports that the judge had not properly consulted the assessors
before arriving at his verdict. The government vehemently denied this,
although it did admit that the assessors had asked to revisit the court
trial record.

Whatever happened, it is pretty clear that the judge did not undergo a
Damascene conversion while making his decision. Justice Paddington Garwe was
bought long ago. When the justice minister and the information minister
speak of "respecting" and "congratulating" Justice Garwe for his verdict,
those are weasel words. If he had been told to, Garwe would have ruled that
the moon is made of green cheese. There are brave magistrates and judges in
Zimbabwe, who defy intimidation to adjudicate as they know is right. In the
Cain Nkala murder case, for example, Justice Sandra Mungwira, with immense
courage, spoke the truth about the corruption of the police and prosecuting
authorities. But The State vs Morgan Tsvangirai was not the Cain Nkala
trial. And Justice Garwe is not Justice Mungwira.
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Daily News online edition

††††† Police pounce on jubilant MDC supporters

††††† Date:18-Oct, 2004

††††† HARARE - Police on Friday went on a rampage, assaulting civilians,
including old women, who were celebrating the acquittal of Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, in Harare's central
business district.

††††† The incidents, which were concentrated along Harare's CBD streets,
Samora Machel Avenue, Nelson Mandela Avenue and Angwa Streets came after
judge president, Justice Paddington Garwe, acquitted Tsvangirai of treason,
arising from his meetings with a Canada-based consultancy firm, Dickens and
Madison.

††††† Lunch-time shoppers were caught unaware as police pounced on a group
of MDC supporters who were celebrating Tsvangirai's acquittal.

††††† Using batons and tear smoke canisters, about six truck-loads of police
officers, mainly from the Police Support Unit, pounced on the unsuspecting
shoppers and demonstrators.

††††† They beat them at will and those who could not run fast were beaten
while sprawling on the ground.

††††† Another group of officers descended on the MDC headquarters at Harvest
House along Nelson Mandela Ave, beating everyone they came across.

††††† A Daily News crew, which had visited the opposition party's
headquarters in anticipation of a news conference by Morgan Tsvangirai,
witnessed two women who were severely beaten by the police.

††††† Another person was severely assaulted at the Ximex Mall, along Angwa
Street, a popular spot for lunch-time shopping.

††††† At the High Court, those who came after nine o'clock were being turned
away by members of the police force.

††††† In the morning, residents of Mabvuku and Tafara townships on the

††††† outskirts of the city centre, were the worst hit as they were
subjected to body searches at road blocks which had been mounted by the
police force.

††††† Those found wearing anything red, were subjected to further searches
and questioning, with some of them being assaulted by the police officers.
Red is associated with the opposition party's main symbols.

††††† The police brutal action comes in the wake of Thursday's appeal by MDC
for its members to come to the High Court and hear the court verdict.

††††† Home Affairs minister, Kembo Mohadi quickly went on national radio,
warning all MDC supporters against coming to the High Court. He said police
would be on the alert and that all those found on the wrong side of the law
would be dealt with accordingly.

††††† At the High Court, security was very tight, with police barricading
Sam Nujoma and Third streets. A suspicious fly-past by the Air Force of
Zimbabwe was also observed during the passing of judgment for Tsvangirai.

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Daily News online edition

††††† Justice in Zimbabwe: Lest people forget the past

††††† Date:18-Oct, 2004

††††† IN the welter of self-congratulatory statements by Zanu PF and the
government, over the acquittal of Morgan Tsvangirai last Friday, a few facts
need to be recalled.

††††† Since 2000, Zanu PF has waged a relentless campaign to re-create the
judiciary in its own image.

††††† Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay was hounded into early retirement. The
Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa,
played a crucial role in showing Gubbay how unwelcome he was to Zanu PF.

††††† President Robert Mugabe made a statement to the effect that if the
government did not welcome a judgment by the courts it reserved the right to
refuse to recognise that judgment.

††††† Some people thought this was a fair enough statement for the president
to make. Others thought it was aimed specifically at those judges and
magistrates who thought they were free to make rulings only on the basis of
the law.

††††† They had to remember who put where they were, the statement seemed to
be saying.

††††† Judges and magistrates have left the country, some to seek greener
pastures, as other professionals have done over the years, but others
because they feared for their jobs or even their lives.

††††† One judge, Justice Michael Majuru, of the Administrative Court, left
the country because he had decided to rule in favour of ANZ in their case
with the Media and Information Commission.

††††† Majuru alleged he had been offered a farm to rule against ANZ. He said
he refused and fled to South Africa. He is still in that country today, but
the government has not commented on his allegations.

††††† To conclude from Judge President Paddington Garwe's acquittal of
Tsvangirai in the treason trial that the government has decided to leave
judges and magistrates to rule as they see fit would be very short-sighted.

††††† The atmosphere of intimidation of the citizenry and the denial of the
freedom of the press, of assembly and of association remains as pervasive as
it was since 2000.

††††† Most neutral observers believe that as long as we have on the Statute
Books laws such as the Access to Information and Protection Act (AIPPA) and
the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) the idea that the

††††† Judiciary has been freed from government interference is patently
unrealistic.

††††† The government wants to add the Non-Governmental Organisations Bill to
further reduce the space in which dissenting voices can be heard. This is
not the action of a government ready for true democracy.

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Daily News online edition

††††† How low can Chinamasa sink?

††††† Date:18-Oct, 2004

††††† TALKING POINT: WHILE most progressive forces have hailed the
favourable judgment passed by Justice Paddington Garwe on the MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, over his trumped-up treason case, retrogressive forces in
the likes of Patrick Chinamasa, Zimbabwe's controversial and partisan
Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs thinks otherwise.

††††† In a shock announcement at the weekend, Chinamasa, who has a track
record of coercing members of the judiciary to make rulings in favour of the
government, said he was disappointed with the outcome of the Tsvnagirai
case.

††††† In his considered view, moulded on a Zanu PF philosophy, Chinamasa, a
trained lawyer himself said there was enough evidence in the videotape to
justify a conviction.

††††† How low can a man charged with the administration of justice for the
entire nation sink?

††††† Said Chinamasa, one of President Mugabe's most loyal supporters: "A
guilty man has been allowed to walk out of the court scot-free and no one is
more surprised of this outcome than the accused himself."

††††† What Chinamasa fails to see, yet it is very clear for those without
political blinkers is that Tsvangirai did not have a case to answer. Period.

††††† From day one, the government was taken in by a conman, out to make
easy money from a gullible government. It is ironic that the government
chose to engage the same Canadian consultancy firm, Dickens and Madison that
had been hired by the MDC to spruce the opposition party's international
image.

††††† It was foolish for the government to accept the line of thinking
brought in by Ari Ben Menashe, the former Isreli intelligence officer now
with Dickens and Madison that Tsvangirai had plotted to assassinate
President Mugabe.

††††† A very crude and poorly-doctored video tape was used as the main
evidence in the 20-month trial which cost both parties a lot of money,
needlessly.

††††† The court correctly ruled that the evidence brought before it did not
prove beyond reasonable doubt that Tsvangirai had plotted to assassinate
President Mugabe.

††††† But the venerable Chinamasa thinks otherwise.

††††† Fortunately he was not the judge. Justice Garwe should be commended
for making the ruling that he did, against all odds.

††††† Considering the amount of zeal and effort put into the trial case by
the government, to whom a guilty verdict would have brought joy, Justice
Garwe must have realised that it was prudent to put his profession ahead of
political considerations.

††††† After all, Justice Garwe is still relatively young and has a future
within the legal profession. And Mugabe and his Zanu PF will not be around
forever.

††††† If one were to juxtapose the two lawyers, Justice Garwe and Minister
Chinamasa on this particular case, then Chinamasa would be described as
bigoted, biased and opinionated.

††††† On the other side, Justice Garwe could be described as sound, rational
and unprejudiced.

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No evidence of racism in Zimbabwe cricket

Wisden Cricinfo staff

October 17, 2004

The ICC has found no evidence to support claims of racism in the Zimbabwe
Cricket Union, following the conclusion of an inquiry, instigated in the
wake of allegations made by 15 white "rebel" players, who claimed that they
had been driven out of the game in their country.

"We do not find any evidence of racism within Zimbabwe cricket," the panel
decided, and that conclusion has been accepted by the ICC, which believes
that the inquiry was able to get to the root of the issues in Zimbabwe,
despite the early end to the oral hearing phase, after the lawyers for the
players and the board failed to agree on whether testimony should be heard
in front of members of the ZCU board.

The inquiry was conducted by India's Solicitor General, Goolam Vahanvati,
and the South African High Court judge Steven Majiedt, and their
long-awaited 73-page report was presented to the ICC's executive board in
Lahore today.

The two panel members acknowledged that there had been a "complete
breakdown" in the relationship between the board and the players, but
believed nonetheless that they had been successful in reading between the
lines of the affair. "We had every reason to believe that we would be able
to ascertain the truth," says the report. "We believe that we have been able
to do so."

Ehsan Mani, the president of the ICC, described the report as a "vital piece
of work", adding that it should prompt people to reflect carefully on the
allegations that have been made. "These allegations . invoked one of the
most serious and damaging claims that can be made against an individual or
an institution," said Mani. " I believe that anyone who has made these
allegations . is now obligated to study this report and to respect and take
heed of the findings."

The report attempts to lay the blame for the affair at the feet of the
former captain, Heath Streak, who threatened to resign back in April if his
demands were not met. The ZCU, the report claims, had no option but to take
his threat at face value, thereby setting off the chain of events that led
to the 15 rebels withdrawing their services in support of their captain, in
the mistaken belief that he had been sacked.

"In giving the board an ultimatum that he would resign if his demands were
not accepted, he [Heath Streak] put his own future on the line," the report
finds. "Streak obviously did not anticipate (and was not advised) that given
the ultimatum that he would retire by April 5, 2004, the board would take
the position that it had no option but to reject his demands and accept his
retirement. They did precisely that."

As to the allegations of institutional racism in the ZCU, the report found
that their policies for the integration of cricket in Zimbabwe were based on
sound principles and were generally accepted by all stakeholders in Zimbabwe
cricket. However, there were some aspects of selection and the functioning
of some ZCU directors which needed to be "seriously addressed".

In conclusion, the report made eight recommendations, most of which centred
around issues of selection and integration. In particular, the establishment
of a players' association is high on the agenda, so that future grievances
can be channelled more effectively.

© Wisden Cricinfo Ltd

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IOL

Opposition still 'under grave threat' in Zim
††††††††† October 17 2004 at 03:40PM

††††† By Basildon Peta and Edwin Naidu

††††† Opposition leaders and human rights campaigners have dismissed
suggestions that the acquittal of Morgan Tsvangirai on treason charges is
the start of a new dawn of independence for Zimbabwe's judiciary.

††††† Relief over Tsvangirai's acquittal this week was tempered by the
Zimbabwe government's response that the leader of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) had been wrongly acquitted.

††††† "After perusing the judgment, the government of Zimbabwe is of the
strong view that the accused, Morgan Tsvangirai, has been wrongly
acquitted," Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said.

††††† Zimbabwe academic Lovemore Madhuku said he was angered by suggestions
that the Tsvangirai verdict had vindicated Zimbabwean courts.

††††† "When we say a judiciary is not independent, we don't mean that it
always gives judgments in favour of the government," said Madhuku.

††††† "What we mean is that in very key matters, the judiciary rules in such
a way that it favours the government. Tsvangirai's treason case is not a key
matter in this regard."

††††† Madhuku said Tsvangirai's treason case was not a key matter but a
simple political matter which gave the Mugabe regime two options.

††††† "The first one was to convict and jail Tsvangirai and make him another
Nelson Mandela. The second option was to let him free and achieve two
further goals.

††††† "The first one being for the regime to stand up on top of a mountain
and proclaim Zimbabwe a democracy with the rule of law while second -
ensuring that he (Tsvangirai) is encouraged to participate in the next
elections in which they will beat him."

††††† Brian Raftopolous, a professor at the Institute of Development Studies
at the University of Zimbabwe, said it would be fatal for anyone to assume
that Zimbabwe now enjoyed an independent judiciary.

††††† "Let's look at the broader process of authoritarian legislation that
is at the core of Mugabe's dictatorship and that has survived professional
scrutiny by the courts," said Raftopolous.

††††† "I certainly think that one should not read much into this judgment.

††††† "At best, this judgment can be regarded as an indication of an
improvement. But the fact remains that a single indication of an improvement
should not leave us to believe that everything is well in the judiciary," he
said.

††††† MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi, said: "The fact remains that this is
a case which should not have gone to court in the first place. Furthermore
there was not an iota of evidence on which any judge could have justified a
conviction."

††††† Nyathi said Tsvangirai had been unfairly deprived of time he could
have devoted to his party while attending the treason case which lasted 18
months.

††††† Mugabe's spokesman, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, said the
Tsvangirai judgment had confounded critics who "falsely claim" that Zimbabwe
is undemocratic and its judiciary not independent.

††††† Moyo said in a statement published in the state-run Herald newspaper:
"Today's high court judgment acquitting Morgan Tsvangirai from treason
charges which the government has already accepted, albeit with strong
reservations, once again confounds, exposes and shames those merchants of
lies and falsehoods, including the British-sponsored MDC, always given to
maligning and denigrating Zimbabwe as undemocratic and without an
independent judiciary system.

††††† "The legal system which has acquitted Morgan Tsvangirai, himself a
beloved protege of the West, belongs to the same country that the West has
routinely castigated, demonised and slapped with illegal sanctions under the
pretext that there is no rule of law, no democracy."

††††† Before the judgment this week many feared the worst - Tsvangirai would
get the death penalty - but even he was taken aback by the verdict.

††††† Tsvangirai told Sunday Argus: "I am frankly surprised. This whole
trial was political and, although I had hoped for the best, I cannot hide
that I had largely feared the worst."

††††† He said the situation on the ground remained grave. Rights of citizens
continued to be trampled upon.

††††† Advocate George Bizos, who was part of Tsvangirai's legal team, said
when justice was under stress, there was always a concern about the outcome.

††††† "The judge president to his credit analysed everything correctly and
led to the inevitable conclusion that Tsvangirai was not guilty," Bizos
said.

††††† Bizos said the case was one of the most difficult he has been involved
in. He said the rule of law had been to an extent abrogated, its orders not
obeyed, delays in proceedings, and police had been given freedom to violate
peoples' rights without recourse, and prosecute on unfair laws.

††††† "In respect of these conditions, things are very difficult in Zimbabwe
and one hopes that the verdict was a good example of a brave judge following
the path laid down by the law, where he analysed the facts critically and
came to a fair conclusion."

††††† Bizos said he hoped other judges would follow this example and be true
to their office instead of bowing to political demands.

††††† On Saturday, Ronnie Mamoepa, the spokesperson for Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma, the South African minister of foreign affairs, said the
government hoped the acquittal would ensure that the climate could be
created for negotiations to start between Zanu-PF and the MDC so that they
could find
††††† a resolution.

††††† Joe Seremane, the DA deputy leader, said there was little reason for
cheer as Zimbabwean opposition leader faced a second date in court over
inciting people to strike.

††††† "The DA is relieved by the Harare High Court's decision to find Morgan
Tsvangirai not guilty of treason," said Seremane.

††††† Seremane said it was clear from the outset that this was a political
trial designed to discredit Tsvangirai and to limit his ability to operate
as the leader of the opposition.

††††† "It now appears likely that the Mugabe regime will try to use this
(the second) set of charges to convict Tsvangirai and ensure that he is
unable to challenge Mugabe in the 2008 presidential elections.

††††† "Today's decision does not detract from the fact that democracy has
collapsed in Zimbabwe and that the opposition remains under threat."

††††† This article was originally published on page 2 of Cape Argus on
October 17, 2004
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News24

Tsvangirai might sue
17/10/2004 19:49† - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai could sue ruling
party officials and others for defaming him when he was facing charges of
plotting to kill President Robert Mugabe, his spokesperson said Sunday.

Tsvangirai was on Friday cleared of charges of planning to assassinate
Mugabe and mount a putsch ahead of 2002 presidential polls.

If found guilty, he could have faced the death penalty.

The feisty opposition leader had always denied the charges, saying they were
fabricated by the government.

His spokesperson, William Bango, told AFP that Tsvangirai was considering
taking legal action against "a large number of people" who he believed
defamed him before and during the trial.

They included "quite a number of (ruling party) politicians" as well as
local and international media.

"What we're doing now is putting together material we'll send to our lawyers
next week," Bango said.

He said the offending material included several hours of television news
footage "designed to lower (Tsvangirai's) reputation, lower his esteem and
question his character as the leader of a political party".

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IOL

Zim 'looks forward to meeting' MDC at polls
††††††††† October 17 2004 at 04:48PM

††††† By Ryan Truscott

††††† Harare - The Zimbabwean government says it looks forward to meeting
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his party in crunch polls next year
after his acquittal on charges of plotting to kill longtime President Robert
Mugabe.

††††† "Government will accept the judgment. We'll respect it, and we now
look forward to meeting the MDC and its current leader Tsvangirai at the
polls in March 2005," Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said late Saturday.

††††† He made no allusion to a possible appeal by the state against the
acquittal of the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) who was
cleared of high treason by the High Court on Friday, a charge which could
carry the death penalty.

††††† Chinamasa had said earlier that Tsvangirai was "wrongly acquitted" by
Judge Paddington Garwe and two lay assessors, and announced that the
government could consider taking further legal action.

††††† Treason charges against Tsvangirai arose in 2002 after he was secretly
filmed allegedly discussing the "elimination" of Mugabe with a Canada-based
political consultant, who was also in the pay of the government.

††††† The opposition leader said he had been set up and politically
persecuted.

††††† In a front-page editorial, the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper, which
toes the government line, urged the opposition party to contest general
elections set for March.

††††† Tsvangirai has said his party will take part in those parliamentary
elections only if key electoral reforms are implemented to ensure a level
playing field.

††††† "Boycotting elections and then seeking unconstitutional means to
change the government will only result in more treason charges and trials,"
the Sunday Mail warned.

††††† The opposition party believes that general and presidential elections
in 2000 and 2002 were rigged and won through intimidation and violence.

††††† It says it will not contest in any future election unless electoral
guidelines agreed to by Zimbabwe at a meeting of Southern African
Development Community (SADC) members in Mauritius in August are implemented
in full.

††††† But as he welcomed his acquittal on Friday, Tsvangirai - a persistent
thorn in the side of the government - said it was "a good basis for national
reconciliation" in the politically divided southern African country.

††††† "The difficulty Mr Tsvangirai has with the 2005 polls is the
non-implementation of the SADC guidelines and principles," Tsvangirai's
spokesperson William Bango said on Sunday.

††††† He said Tsvangirai had written to Mugabe recently "urging him to
ensure Mauritius protocols are implemented, and see to it that... he works
closely with the MDC to see the process implemented."

††††† The government has hardened its stance against the MDC since the SADC
conference, saying that the opposition will not be given access to the
public media to air their policies, claiming the party was not loyal to the
country.

††††† Access to state media by all contesting parties is a key clause in the
SADC principles. - Sapa-AFP

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PakTribune, Pakistan

††††† England dismay over Zimbabwe
††††† Sunday October 17, 2004 (1334 PST)

††††† LONDON, October 18 (Online): England have been left in an "impossible
situation" over the Zimbabwe saga, England's new cricket chief David Collier
said.
††††† The new chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board said
the team will have to fulfil their obligation to tour or face possible
bankruptcy.

††††† But he added there would be no pressure on players to go on the
two-week tour.

††††† He told "we are in an impossible situation and do not condone the
Zimbabwe regime."

††††† He said the International Cricket Council's future tours programme had
only two forms of acceptable non-compliance - a government instruction or
safety and security concerns.

††††† But the British Government has said it cannot issue a directive.

††††† On the safety and security issue, a delegation from the England and
Wales Cricket Board was flying to Zimbabwe on Sunday to check out the
facilities.

††††† Collier said: "We are in a very difficult situation but I believe the
board has done everything it can to minimise the stay in Zimbabwe.

††††† "We have also given the players the option to tour.

††††† "And we will be paying detailed attention to the findings of the
safety and security delegation."

††††† England are set to play five one-day internationals starting in Harare
on 26 November.

††††† And Collier warned the threat of bankruptcy was a real one if they
pulled out without an acceptable excuse.

††††† "It is a reality. If England were to be suspended and we did not have
any international cricket say for one season, then without the international
revenues, cricket in this country would not be able to survive as it is at
the moment," Collier added.

††††† The only other opportunity for the tour to be called off is if
Zimbabwe are expelled from international cricket if a hearing into
allegations of racism finds in favour of 15 white cricketers who were sacked
earlier this year.

††††† The ICC is expected to announce the hearing's decision later on
Sunday.

††††† End.

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