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Mugabe to purge police force

Zim Online

Fri 28 October 2005

      HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has authorised a restructuring of the
police force that will see Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri and other
senior officers leaving the force to be replaced by a "new breed of trusted
officers" by next year, ZimOnline has learnt.

      Authoritative sources said the changes in the police force, which they
said had initially been earmarked to take place last month, were part of a
wider re-organisation of the top brass in the security forces by Mugabe
designed to place the forces in the hands of trusted loyalists before the
veteran President retires in 2008.

      According to the sources, Chihuri was supposed to be replaced by
Mugabe's nephew, Innocent Matibiri, when his term expired last September but
this could not happen because Mugabe had until a few weeks ago not given his
final approval to the restructuring plan.

      "Chihuri will be forced to go since his rank will be phased out. Some
of his deputies and senior officers whom the President is suspicious of will
be forced to leave as well. A new breed of trusted police officers will be
installed," said a source, who did not want to be named.

      Chihuri, part of a group of fighters that unsuccessfully rebelled
against Mugabe during Zimbabwe's 1970s war of independence, is still Police
Commissioner after his term was extended.

      Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena could not be reached for comment on
the matter while Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi would not deny or
confirm whether the police will be restructured, only saying that if that
happened it would not be because the government wanted to purge anyone from
the law enforcement agency.

      "We don't use restructuring exercises to purge people," Mohadi said.

      According to the sources, under the new structure the police force
will no longer be headed by a police commissioner. An inspector general will
be appointed to head the police force. He/she will be assisted in his duties
by a pool of police commissioners. It is not yet clear who these
commissioners will be or how many they will be.

      The sources said Chihuri will be retired apparently because Mugabe had
lost faith in the police chief because of his involvement in a silent but
vicious battle raging in Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party over his succession.

      Changes were also expected in the army, air force and state spy
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO). But the sources said it was most
likely that only some of the top officers would be replaced with the command
structures of the armed forces and CIO remaining unaltered.

      "He wants to leave the security forces in the hands of trusted people
before he leaves office. Similar moves will take place in the army and the
CIO. He might not restructure their command but current leaders look certain
to leave and make way for people whom Mugabe trusts will protect him after
he leaves office," said another source.

      Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in
1980, has said he will step down when his term of office expires in 2008.
Many Zimbabweans hold Mugabe directly responsible for gross human rights
abuses in the country in the last 25 years particularly atrocities committed
by Zimbabwe's army in the country's southern region, home of the minority
Ndebele tribe.

      At least 20 000 innocent civilians were murdered by the army's now
disbanded North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade that had been deployed in the
region to crush an armed rebellion by dissidents loyal to the late
nationalist Joshua Nkomo.

      Nkomo, the founder of modern Zimbabwean nationalism, later agreed to
form a government of national unity with Mugabe which saw an end to armed
conflict in the southern region but the issue of army atrocities was never
resolved. - ZimOnline


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Central bank intervenes to prop-up Zimbabwe dollar

Zim Online

Fri 28 October 2005

      HARARE - The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) this week summoned bankers
and instructed them to soft-land the exchange rate to around Z$60 000 to the
American dollar, a clear departure from its stance that the market would
determine the rate, it emerged yesterday.

      The Zimbabwe dollar was trading at between $58 000 and $60 500 to the
US dollar at all the country's commercial banks on Thursday, down from as
high as $97 000, which some banks were quoting earlier in the week. The
interbank rate had been set at $76 300 on Tuesday but was at $60 437
yesterday.

      Bank sources said the RBZ was "alarmed" that some banks were buying
the greenback at $97 000, the rate at which the local unit is trading on a
thriving parallel market, forcing it to intervene by indicating the rate it
was comfortable with.

      "Bankers Association members were called to the Reserve Bank this week
where they were courteously told that the central bank would like to see the
entry level on the interbank market at around $60 000," a bank treasurer
told ZimOnline in Harare.

      "This is why there has been this sudden convergence of the rate among
the banks but there is no fundamental justification for the Zimbabwe dollar
to strengthen the way it has done. I suppose they just looked at the black
market and the auction and averaged to come up with $60 000," added the bank
official who did not want to be named for professional reasons.

      RBZ governor Gideon Gono was not available yesterday for comment on
the matter.

      Analysts said it will take time for the interbank market to establish
itself free of RBZ influence, but they warned if the Zimbabwe dollar remains
static on the official market, rates will even soar higher on
      the black market.

      Zimbabwe is suffering a six-year economic recession that has caused a
serious foreign currency crunch, which has hit fuel imports and industry.
The country is also grappling with run-away inflation and one of the highest
known unemployment rates in the world.

      Under the new interbank system, exporters are required to sell 70
percent of their receipts at "market determined rates" and the rest to the
RBZ-controlled auctions.

      Analysts however said if the RBZ continued to influence the direction
of the local currency, this would further undermine the confidence of
exporters, some of whom authorities accuse of under invoicing exports and
denying the country critical foreign currency.

      "I think this clearly explains the caution we have seen in the market
since the announcement of the interbank, there is still suspicion that this
whole thing is not going to be determined by the market," a Harare-based
economist who refused to be named said. - ZimOnline


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Daily News boss says his politics is his business

Zim Online

Fri 28 October 2005

      HARARE - The chief executive of Zimbabwe's banned Daily News
newspaper, Sam Sipepa Nkomo, on Thursday
      defended his participation in next month's senate election on an
opposition ticket saying the move would not jeopardise the paper's bid to
return onto the streets.

      Last Monday, Nkomo was among 26 opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) candidates who filed papers at nomination courts around the
country to stand in the senate election in defiance of the party's president
who had called for a boycott of the poll.

      There were fears that by contesting the November 26 election on an
opposition ticket, Nkomo had literally blown whatever chance there was the
government's Media and Information Commission (MIC) would allow the paper
back.

      Asked to comment on the issue, Nkomo said: "I don't think it's a cause
for concern at all that I am taking part in the senate election on an MDC
ticket.

      "If they (the commission) apply the law then that won't affect us at
all. The application should be considered on its own merits. I have just
seen my lawyers and they told me that it won't affect our position at all as
these are not personality issues."

      Nkomo is itching for a second bite of the cherry in the senate poll
after he lost the right to represent the opposition party in the party's
internal elections to choose a candidate for last March's parliamentary
poll.

      The Daily News, which was accused by the government of backing the
opposition, was shut down two years ago after it failed to comply with the
tough Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

      The case is back at the Administrative Court after the Supreme Court
earlier this year ruled that the MIC should reconsider the paper's
application. But the MIC in July refused to grant a licence to the company
arguing they had not fully complied with the law. -ZimOnline


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Abduction / Ill-treatment / Harassment

fidh.org

27th/10/2005

Abduction / Ill-treatment / Harassment - ZWE 003 / 1005 / OBS 102

The Observatory has been informed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
(ZLHR) about the abduction of and violent acts of harassment against five
field officers of the Mass Public Opinion Institute.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint
programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), requests your urgent
intervention in the following situation in Zimbabwe.

Brief description:

According to the information received, on October 25, 2005, ZLHR received a
call around 10:00 pm to be informed that five field officers of the Mass
Public Opinion Institute, Mr. Officen Nyaungwe, Mr. Claris Madhuku, Mr.
Sozwaphi Masunungure, Mr. Isaiah Makatura and Mr. Wilson Shonhiwa had been
abducted and severely beaten by a group calling themselves "war veterans".
The authors of the call also gave information about the vehicle in which
these five persons were travelling when they got captured.

The five field officers were conducting a research titled "Africa Barometer",
a project of democracy in Africa in a small farming community outside Harare
called "Beatrice". The research basically entailed asking and administering
a questionnaire onto willing individuals on the perceptions and notions of
democracy in Africa and Zimbabwe. While carrying out the survey, the
researchers were confronted, abducted and detained by individuals calling
themselves war veterans. They were then presented to a local community of
over 100 people, where upon after being accused of acting against national
interests, the group of "war veterans", who did not identify themselves,
began to beat them up in full view of the community, using booted feet,
clenched fists, open palms, sticks, logs and bottles. Then a soldier from
the Zimbabwe National Army dressed in full military uniform arrived at the
scene and immediately joined in the beatings. The soldier used fresh sticks
and logs hew as cutting from the trees around. The assaults were largely
indiscriminate but mainly focused on the buttocks, underneath the feet and
head area.

In the course of the assault, the "war veterans" and soldier demanded
identification cards from the five field officers. Upon production of the
cards, one of the field officers, Mr. Claris Madhuku, was then established
to be a relative of Mr. Lovemore Madhuku, Chairperson of the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and a well known human rights defender and
constitutional activist (See Observatory Urgent Appeal ZWE 002/0805/OBS 068
and Observatory Annual Report 2004). This incensed the assailants resulting
in more severe beatings on Mr. Claris Madhuku, the assailants advising the
latter that he now was being beaten "for the sins of his brother". The
assaults lasted approximately three hours.

The field researchers were then admitted for treatment at the Avenues
Clinic. Three were discharged after treatment while two were hospitalised
and detained overnight for monitoring as they sustained severe injuries.

The mission of the Mass Public Opinion Institute, which is based in Harare,
is "to promote and strengthen democratic governance through research,
publishing and facilitating discussion of public opinion on topical issues
thereby connecting policy makers with the citizens they serve; to facilitate
the destruction of the "culture of fear" by encouraging people to express
their views on issues that are of concern to them; to become a permanent
organisation that promotes and encourages the institutionalisation of
democracy in Zimbabwe", through the realisation of public opinion surveys.

Up to now, the field officers have not formally reported to the police as
they are concerned about the impunity on acts committed by state and/or
non-state actors acting with the acquiescence or participation of the state
law enforcement agents.

The Observatory is deeply concerned about these events, which blatantly
violate the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted
by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, in
particular its article 12.2, which states that "the State shall take all
necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of
everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence,
threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure, adverse discrimination, pressure
or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate
exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration".

Actions requested:

Please write to the Zimbabwean authorities and ask them to:

i. take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological
integrity of Mr. Officen Nyaungwe, Mr. Claris Madhuku, Mr. Sozwaphi
Masunungure, Mr. Isaiah Makatura and Mr. Wilson Shonhiwa, and all human
rights defenders in Zimbabwe;

ii. Conduct a fair, impartial and independent inquiry into these and other
events of attacks of human rights defenders, in order to identify the
authors, bring them to justice and pronounce sentences proportional to the
gravity of their crimes to bring about an end to impunity prevailing in the
country;

iii. end all forms of harassment and ill-treatment of human rights defenders
in Zimbabwe, and guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders
and organisations are able to carry out their work without any hindrance;

iv. comply with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders
adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular
article 1, which states that "everyone has the right, individually or
collectively, to promote the protection and fulfilment of human rights and
fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels", and
above-mentioned article 12.2;

v. guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in
accordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other
international human rights instruments ratified by Zimbabwe.

Addresses:

  President of Zimbabwe, Mr. Robert G. Mugabe, Office of the President,
Private Bag 7700, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax : +263 4 708 211

  Mr. Khembo Mohadi, Minister of Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs,
11th Floor Mukwati Building, Private Bag 7703, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe,
Fax : +263 4 726 716

  Mr. Patrick Chinamasa, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Legal nd Parliamentary Affairs, Fax: + 263 4
77 29 99

  Mr. Augustine Chihuri, Police Commissioner, Police Headquarters, P.O. Box
8807, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax : +263 4 253 212 / 728 768 / 726 084

  Mr. Sobuza Gula Ndebele, Attorney-General, Office of the Attorney, PO Box
7714, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax: + 263 4 77 32 47

  Mrs. Chanetsa, Office of the Ombudsman Fax: + 263 4 70 41 19

  Ambassador Mr. Chitsaka Chipaziwa, Permanent Mission of Zimbabwe to the
United Nations in Geneva, Chemin William Barbey 27, 1292 Chambésy,
Switzerland, Fax: + 41 22 758 30 44, Email: mission.zimbabwe@ties.itu.net

Please also write to the embassies of Zimbabwe in your respective country.

***

Geneva - Paris, October 27, 2005

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in
your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of
Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time
of need.

The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French
Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

Email: observatoire@iprolink.ch

Tel and fax FIDH: 33 1 43 55 55 05 / 01 43 55 18 80 Tel and fax OMCT: + 41
(0) 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29


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Zimbabwe opposition seeks to heal senate poll rift

Reuters

Thu 27 Oct 2005 12:44 PM ET
HARARE, Oct 27 (Reuters) - The leaders of Zimbabwe's main opposition moved
on Thursday to heal a rift over participation in next month's senate polls
which has raised the spectre of a party split.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change has plunged into its deepest
crisis since coming into being in 1999, due to a bitter dispute among its
top leadership over whether to contest elections that critics say are merely
aimed at tightening President Robert Mugabe's grip on power.

On Thursday MDC chief Morgan Tsvangirai -- who wants a boycott of the Nov.
26 poll, said he had met his top five lieutenants who have opposed his
stance and earlier this week sponsored the registration of candidates for 26
seats in the 66-strong senate.

"The management commitment of the MDC ... agreed ... to continue dialogue
with a view to finding an expeditious resolution of the dispute in the
party," Tsvangirai, who was flanked by his deputy Gibson Sibanda told a news
conference.

The faction in favour of contesting argues that a boycott would only widen
ZANU-PF's political dominance at the expense of the opposition.

He said the MDC leadership had also agreed to desist from making
"acrimonious comments on the dispute", and urged party members not to use
threats, intimidation and violence against colleagues across the senate
issue divide.

The MDC says ZANU-PF has used rigging and violence to avert defeat in
parliamentary and presidential elections in the last five years in the face
of a worsening economic crisis, and Tsvangirai says taking part in the
senate vote would lend credence to a flawed process.


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MDC intra-party violence over senate poll



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

JOHANNESBURG, 27 Oct 2005 (IRIN) - The rift in the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) over participating in next month's senate election
has degenerated into violence, according to the official Herald newspaper.

It reported that five men loyal to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai had appeared
in court on Wednesday for allegedly attacking three senate candidates who
defied Tsvangirai's order to boycott the poll.

The state claimed that on Monday the men had assembled illegally at the
nomination court in Gweru, in the Midlands province, with the intention of
preventing any MDC candidates from filing papers.

They allegedly attacked three 'rebel' MDC candidates who had just filed
papers and were leaving the nomination court.

Tsvangirai's critics have pointed to an MDC national council vote in favour
of participating in the 26 November senate election. Their opponents stress
that the party had earlier agreed to boycott the election, because the
creation of an upper house was a waste of taxpayers' money and was likely to
be stacked with ruling party supporters.

John Makumbe, a senior political science lecturer at the University of
Zimbabwe, told IRIN that Tsvangirai and his supporters, including the youth
and women's wings of the party, were preparing a campaign to boycott polling
stations, which could result in a "very contradictory situation that's going
to be quite confusing [for MDC supporters] ... the potential for violence is
everywhere," he warned.

The pro-senate faction has made allegations of intimidation in the battle
for control of MDC offices around the country.

MDC officials aligned with Tsvangirai have allegedly taken charge of affairs
at the party's national headquarters in the capital, Harare.

The pro-poll faction aligned to MDC vice-president Gibson Sibanda and
secretary-general Welshman Ncube appeared to have gained control of the
offices in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, and the provinces of
Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South.

When Sibanda and Ncube held a press conference in Harare last week they used
a five-star hotel instead of the party's headquarters.

Pro-election MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said: "There is an unfortunate
culture of violence emerging in the MDC. I have been informed that some
rowdy youths were denouncing us, threatening us with death for disagreeing
with Tsvangirai. Those that have not been to the party offices are afraid of
being beaten up by some extremist elements in the MDC."

But Tsvangirai insisted that no such instruction existed. "Every member of
the MDC is free to visit the party headquarters, unless they have other
reasons for not coming which I am not aware of," he said, and added that he
intended visiting party offices in the Matabeleland region "in due course".

Matabeleland has voted overwhelmingly for the MDC since its formation in
1999, and pro-senate leaders have stressed that by boycotting the election
they would allow the ruling ZANU-PF party a toehold in the region.

The Matabeleland region was the scene of a vicious counter-insurgency
campaign by the ZANU-PF government against armed dissidents in the 1980s, in
which an estimated 20,000 civilians died.

[ENDS]


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Call for more active response on police torture

The Star

      October 27, 2005

      By Shaun Smillie

      Torture still occurs in police interrogation rooms across South
Africa - despite 10 years of democracy. This is according to researchers at
the monthly Jala Tsebo Seminar, organised by the centre for the Study of
Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR).

      "We need empirical data. NGOs need to take a more active role in
revisiting the issue of torture," Piers Pigou, a researcher with the
Zimbabwe Victims Torture Project, said yesterday.

      Some of the evidence that police have used torture to extract
information from suspects and criminals comes from a NGO study in KwaZulu
Natal
            The torturer places the tube over the victims mouth, then pulls
it up ...
      . The study, according to Pigou, involved 149 visits to six police
stations over seven months in 2002.

      "What they found were 78 serious allegations of police abuse, half of
these involved smothering," Pigou said.

      Smothering - also known as "tube" torture - involves the inner tube of
a car tyre.

      "The victim is placed on their stomach. The torturer places the tube
over the victim's mouth, then pulls it up, causing the victim to bend
backwards. The victim can't breathe ... and passes out. They wake them up
and the perpetrators do it again," Pigou said.

      This is not the only evidence of police torture.

      An investigation into the Vanderbijl Park Murder and Robbery Unit in
the late 1990s revealed extensive use of electric shock torture.
      "Over a three-day period, we asked awaiting-trial prisoners in Vaal
triangle if they had been tortured. We asked 150 of them and 150 said they
had. We managed to secure 30 prosecutions," Pigou said.

      The reason why torture still exists in post-apartheid South Africa,
Pigou believed, is because it has not been addressed properly. "The
Independent Complaints Directorate is under-resourced and the police closed
down their own unit which was investigating abuse," he said.

      CSVR executive director Ahmed Motala said another reason why police
torture was still a problem was because it was not legally recognised in
South Africa. "In SA there is no such criminal offence as torture. The worst
criminal charge you could get would be attempted murder," Motala said.

      According to Pigou, research also shows that an alarmingly high
percentage of the public are supportive of the police using torture
techniques.

      "In 1998, a third of 2 000 people surveyed supported the right of the
police to use some sort of force," he said.

      ssm@star.co.za


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MDC in crisis - can the centre hold?


      26 Oct 2005 19:51:15 GMT

      Source: IRIN

JOHANNESBURG, 26 October (IRIN) - The current crisis in the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has undermined the party's bid to
present itself as an alternative to President Robert Mugabe and the ruling
ZANU-PF.

With the party divided over participation in the upcoming senate elections,
MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai's leadership has been besieged by questions.

Three weeks ago he overruled a national council decision, which voted in a
secret ballot to participate in the senate poll.

Tsvangirai based his veto on the belief that an upper house was an
unnecessary drain on taxpayers and would do nothing to improve the lives of
ordinary Zimbabweans, and the fact that the MDC had opposed the
constitutional amendment that created the senate during the parliamentary
debate on the issue.

The influential women's and youth wings have backed him, but his attempt to
overrule the national council decision, arrived at by a slim 33 to 31
margin, has seen party spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi, general-secretary
Welshman Ncube and deputy president Gibson Sibanda accuse him of being
undemocratic.

They argued that the national council was the supreme decision-making body
between congresses and Tsvangirai did not have the authority to ignore its
verdict.

Party officials in the MDC stronghold of Matabeleland insisted that by not
contesting the senate poll they would hand victory to ZANU-PF, which up
until now had been shut out of the southern region.

On Monday, 27 members of the MDC defied their party president and filed
nomination papers as candidates for the 26 November senate election. More
surprising to MDC officials in the capital, Harare, was that three rural MDC
members had filed papers to stand as candidates in urban Harare.

The development followed an attempt by South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki
to broker a deal between the factions at a weekend meeting attended by
Sibanda and Ncube. Tsvangirai declined the invitation.

John Makumbe, a senior political science lecturer at the University of
Zimbabwe, commented that Tsvangirai had been blindsided at the national
council meeting three weeks ago.

The MDC leader had not expected a secret ballot, because "the national
council has previously always decided by consensus or a show of hands",
Makumbe said.

Tsvangirai had fought against a secret vote on the matter, but was unable to
get his way.

"The impasse continues and the stalemate continues; insults are flying left,
right and centre within the party. What is interesting is that [the ruling]
ZANU-PF and the state media are firmly behind the MDC individuals who have
decided to file nominations because they are useful for legitimising the
regime," Makumbe noted.

Most importantly, however, the split in the MDC has handed Mugabe an
opportunity to argue that the MDC is no longer as popular as it once was,
when in 2000 it came within a whisker of beating ZANU-PF in parliamentary
elections.

"Tsvangirai is scared, but whether they boycott or participate, to us that
is irrelevant - they are an irrelevant party," Mugabe was recently quoted as
telling a ZANU-PF rally in Bulawayo.

DEFIANCE

Tsvangirai's spokesman, William Bango, told IRIN the MDC leader would not
recognise the 27 MDC senatorial candidates.

Although he would not say what action Tsvangirai would take, he ruled out
any chance of them being expelled from the labour-backed party.

"Tsvangirai's position on the senate remains the same: he does not support
participation, and he also does not recognise those who are purported to
have registered for the elections on behalf of the party. But that does not
mean he will go out of his way and expel them, because he is not a
bloodthirsty person. He realises that this is a political crisis that
requires a political solution," Bango commented.

He rejected assertions that the open defiance of Tsvangirai was a sign of
the MDC's imminent demise.

MDC secretary-general Ncube meanwhile told IRIN: "It is unfair for anyone to
suggest that those who complied with the national council resolution acted
outside the law. If anything, it is those who support the boycott who are in
violation of the party's constitution, which stipulates that no one has
powers over the national council."

Ncube said contesting the senate poll was necessary if the party was to
remain relevant, despite MDC nationally losing all previous ballots and,
along with several international election observers, accusing ZANU-PF of
intimidation and rigging.

Describing the meeting with Mbeki at the weekend, Ncube observed: "Mbeki had
invited us ... [because] there seemed to be two sides to the MDC conflict.
He wanted to hear both arguments and offered to mediate, that was his only
interest. Tsvangirai was invited but he didn't think it would serve any
purpose."

But Makumbe maintained that Tsvangirai had not missed an opportunity to
resolve the crisis in his party by spurning Mbeki's invitation.

"Mbeki himself has never been happy with Morgan Tsvangirai as head of the
opposition party ... he's scared of what they call a labour movement pushing
out a liberator [Mugabe]. Mbeki's preference is for Ncube ... as he's an
intellectual," Makumbe commented.

The response of the Tsvangirai camp to the senate confusion has been a
national tour of party offices. "Right now we have begun the process of
visiting all provinces to denounce the elections and urge the people not to
vote. I will visit all the provinces before the elections," Tsvangirai told
IRIN.

Makumbe said the fact that the 27 MDC candidates would be 'backed' by
ZANU-PF but denounced by Tsvangirai would undermine their chances of success
at the poll, and the position of the youth and women's wings would further
erode their chances of success - "they'll have nobody to campaign on their
behalf", he noted.

MDC youth chairman Nelson Chamisa told IRIN that 'politics of the belly' may
have played a role in the decision of the 27 candidates to stand - the 65
senators in the upper house will reportedly earn substantially more than
members of parliament.

RECONCILIATION

However, Ncube stressed the principle on which the candidates registered,
saying he believed the MDC "leadership must rethink and reflect on the
founding values of the party".

"We need to recommit ourselves to the values that bind us as collective
decision-makers. If we all do that, I have no doubt that we can solve this
problem," he noted.

University of Zimbabwe political analyst Professor Henri Dzinotyiwei said,
"The invitation from Mbeki [to the MDC leaders] shows that he considers the
party as a partner in ending the crisis [in Zimbabwe]. To him the cohesion
of the MDC gives it strength, and there is always the possibility that
President Robert Mugabe would not talk to any faction of a crumbled MDC."

Despite media reports predicting the end of the MDC, Makumbe said the party
was not about to collapse.

"This conflict is taking place at the highest level of leadership and not at
grassroots level. Secondly, this is a necessary stage in the political
development of the party - it's consolidating its power, its integrity and
its membership, and in the process there are bound to be some elements who
will fall out - it happens in every party," he observed.

Analysts suggested that Tsvangirai would ride out the crisis over the next
two months, ahead of an expected party congress, and then ask congress to
decide on the poll dispute.

"The danger, at the moment, of him pursuing the matter in any way is that it
could be taken to court ... and it will become a question of ownership of
the MDC," Makumbe pointed out. With the judiciary said to be compromised by
political pressure, this could be a disastrous course of action.

"There is quite a lot of work being done by various groups, including church
leaders, to try and mediate between the MDC leaders," Makumbe said. "There
could be a cooling-off period between now and next week - there is
essentially a rapprochement in progress."


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Zimbabwe's MDC set to go down fighting ...itself

Business Day

Posted to the web on: 27 October 2005

Dumisani Muleya

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

ZIMBABWE's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
is locked in increasingly self-destructive political combat. The party seems
determined to go down - fighting itself!

The current internal war in the MDC has been proceeding at low intensity for
some time, but escalated three weeks ago following a dispute over
participation in next month's senate election.

The party's national executive council voted 33 to 31 for participation in
the election. Two ballots were spoilt.

However, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled rank and overruled the council,
saying that entering such elections breeds "illegitimate outcomes".

Welshman Ncube, MDC secretary-general, argued that boycotting the poll would
be political suicide as it would render the party irrelevant. This triggered
a battle of wills between the Tsvangirai and Ncube camps.

At face value, the crisis assumes an ethnic character because Tsvangirai
leads a Shona-dominated faction, whilst Ncube heads a largely Ndebele camp.

But the central issues have nothing to do with tribalism. The crisis in the
MDC is due mainly to structural tensions resulting from its failure to
balance competing interests. The conflict is also about leadership and
policy differences. There are compelling questions being asked about
Tsvangirai's leadership qualities.

The MDC's obvious lack of ideological cohesion is another sticking point.
Modern politics is a fight of ideas. Any party's ideology is vital in
shaping and defining it.

A cursory look at the MDC's short history reveals that it emerged from the
trade union and civic movement in 1999. The party was an eclectic mix of
trade unions, civic organisations, business associations, pressure groups,
professionals, farmers and students. The MDC was in essence a creature of
Zanu (PF) failures. President Robert Mugabe's ineptitude provided conditions
for the MDC to emerge.

After winning almost half the contested seats in the national elections in
2000 (57 of 120), the MDC, largely due to a hostile political environment
and internal weaknesses, failed to evolve into a cohesive unit. It also did
not come up with credible policies.

The party failed to recruit some of Zimbabwe's best minds, and this explains
its intellectual poverty, its policy inadequacies and its leadership
limitations.

Now, Tsvangirai cannot rise to the challenge to rescue his party from its
self-destruction.

Leadership is a process of policy and administrative decisions, particularly
under difficult conditions. It is the leader's responsibility to hold his
party together - to act as a referee and ensure disputes do not impair or
destroy the organisation. But instead of being umpire, Tsvangirai has
reduced himself to faction leader.

If he had stayed neutral and mediated successfully in the crisis, his rating
would have increased. Leading a faction and engaging in dogfights has
damaged his credibility.

If the party splits, it will be a tremendous waste of the courageous
challenge it has presented to the Mugabe regime for the past five years. The
MDC plucked up enough courage to enter into Zimbabwe's cutthroat politics,
and to fight the ruling Zanu (PF). As a result, the MDC and its supporters
suffered endless bouts of state-sponsored political violence, beatings,
arrests, detentions, torture, and death. Tsvangirai, Ncube and agriculture
secretary Renson Gasela escaped treason convictions, while party members
were subjected to relentless harassment. Against all these odds, the MDC
almost defeated Zanu (PF), twice.

But now - unless something dramatic happens - the party seems headed for a
breakup.

Muleya is Business Day's Harare correspondent and Zimbabwe Independent news
editor.


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Taiwan denies providing funds to Zimbabwe opposition

cna.com.tw

      2005-10-27 13:55:54

          Taipei, Oct. 27 (CNA) A Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)
official denied Thursday a report that Taiwan has provided funds to
Zimbabwe's main opposition party.


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Zimbabwe

Debbie Jeans (nee Warren) is married to a medical sports doctor and was
karate champion (world/olympic) in the mid to late 1980's and also Zim
'Sports Person of the Year'.

"Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that
determines our success or
failure."
   - Norman Vincent Peale -

"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what
direction we are moving."

  - Oliver Windell Holmes -

Having just returned from attending a week long sports medicine conference
in "Joezies" with  Austin, the extent of both the economic and emotional
"meltdown" in less than seven days is very obvious! Prices soaring, fuel
still an even rarer luxury, add to this the alarming rate at which our
hard-earned cash seems to vanish on a pitiful bag or two of basic
groceries.... it's a battle both out there as well as here in our heads, to
desperately try to keep calm!! We all do what needs to be done to feed,
clothe and school the children, work harder to attempt to keep up with the
weekly inflation of bills,  but catching ourselves at odd moments in the day
wondering where it will all end and what the future holds?

This is "survival mode". This is where we get to stare at our own fear in
the face and tread where we've never been before. We make a plan for fuel,
another to buy rare luxuries such as sugar or cooking oil and yet another to
stretch the dollars until the end of the month. We have learned to say "no"
to many things which we want to ensure that we can say "yes" to the things
that we or our family need. Normal everyday "basic" commodities and actions
in another place and time have become a treat for us, something to fully
appreciate, to savour and to draw out the pleasure with which it comes! This
can be a glass of imported wine, a take-away pizza for the kids, an imported
deodorant, or even a bottle of hair conditioner!!??#*!

Many, many ex zimbos and people living outside, simply cannot understand why
we're still here!!! Incredulous stares when one describes the plan of action
for water shortages, fuel saving and sourcing, and daily adjustments on
every level to rising costs and inefficiencies in just about every sector of
business, municipality or service industries! Empathy runs high amongst
those on the outside who understand why we are still here. So many have
openly encouraged us to stand our ground, to hang in and to throw ourselves
at making it "work out", to do whatever it takes to build upon the
foundation of who and what we are. These very same people are the ones who
tell us about the despair, the longing, the loneliness and the yearning for
parts of our beloved land. The wide open spaces, the people and friendships,
the Kariba sunsets, the laughter around a braai, the community in "making a
plan". The "drop in for tea" attitude so prevelant amongst all zimbabweans
regardless of race, colour, tribe or background. The "we're all in it"
under-current that brings us together in fuel queues, financial disasters,
daily challenges.

Our mountains are huge, yet sitting in that auditorium listening to the
shift in some of the best researchers and practitioners from sports medicine
and the field of excellence in both physical and mental endeavour towards
prevention and treatment of "chronic diseases", I found myself counting
blessing after blessing for living in Zim!!!! Here are just a few of the
"highlights" ...

* 60% of men and 50% of women are overweight in Oz. Could say the same for
UK and USA ... South Africa not far behind.
* Inactivity has become a number one killer risk factor for heart
disease...on a par with smoking. In fact, being inactive is the same as
smoking 20 a day!!!!!!
* Countries all over the world are engaging in huge, multi billion dollar
health warnings and promotions. Get moving, eat less junk, get away from the
T.V., eat less junk, get off the couch and turn off the tv ... don't use the
remote, eat less junk, get moving!!!!!!
* Clogged and diseased heart arteries has just become the biggest killer in
the world!!!!
* It has become a crisis of such huge proportions to just get people to do
enough movement to shunt blood through their blood vessels to literally slow
down the rate at which bodies are rotting from disuse, from stress and from
almost 100% diseases caused by LIFESTYLE!!!!!!!!

So, my dear friends and countrymen, compare that to our verrrry junk food
depleted daily diet (due to being too expensive or not available), our lack
of super-duper-high-speed-high-perfromance technology which means that we
have to actually get off our butts and DO something with muscles somewhat
larger than those in our index fingers, our problem of kids having half of
most days doing school sports, our awful transport system so we walk, cycle
or run from A to B. We don't run the risk of our kids hanging out at malls
at every free moment .... there aren't any at which to hang out!!

Most of our kids don't get access to T.V. games, to the latest cell phones
and ipods .... because we simply can't afford them. Even DSTV is a treat in
increasingly more households .... so what's a poor, deprived Zim kid to
do???? Well, they swim, run, cycle, play all manner of school and social
activities. Triathlon, swimming, cycling, dancing (all kinds!), run around
playing in the garden and occasionally they have a small relative break in
their weekly activity mileage to watch a movie, listen to some music or
chill at home or a mate's house for a few hours. Our challenge is not to
stop them eating, but to ensure that they eat enough for their needs!!!

Ok, ok. Yes, I am biased. But do me a favour and compare the average one-way
hour commute in Jo'burg / Cape Town / Durbs traffic with the 6 minute trip
we have to make all the way from my front door to work / school. Cycling in
Durbs or Joezies is like having your dearest death wish come true. Doing
what you love, whilst playing with the grim reaper every time a vehicle
passes .. which is around 5 million a minute. In Zim, the driving's not too
great but hey, not too much of a hassel considering  that 20 minutes on a
bike in any direction out of town gets you into some exquisite countryside
and all the wide open space in the world and a fraction of the traffic with
which to contend!

No trip to Joezies is complete without a trip to Pick n' Pay supermarket -
which was heaven as always; I tried not to let the morbid, stressed,
depressed local shoppers get me down as they went about their daily / weekly
million-choice-product shopping burdensome routine. I skipped out of there
with my bag of treasures (sunlight soap, Charlie Gold deo, meusli, oats and
a whole bottle of  chocolate sauce for kids' twice a week ice-cream  treat)
and went back to the lectures on averting the biggest ever, world lifestyle
disease disaster . smiling secretly to myself as more and more "evidence"
was given by some of the best experts in the world as to why we are still
here!!!

In conclusion, I don't dispute the fact that we are being faced with a
mountain of struggles, but from the bottom of my heart I want you to
consider the daily effect on our own health, sense of community spirit, and
most importantly, the impact on that of our children!!!  Every day that we
are here, someone out there is being admitted to coronary care, another
child is diagnosed with type II diabetes, billions is being spent on drugs
to treat obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression. Whilst
the angels in our midst are desperately fighting to treat, uplift and feed
the starving and fatally ill, in the first world there are incomprehensible
measures and expenses taken to prevent the over-fed from
self-destruction!!?!

We get to spend daylight hours with those we love in many an impromptu
gathering - each one an opportunity to laugh, really laugh. To cry, really
cry. And to know the caring and genuine bonds that nourish our souls, feed
our resolve to lift our chin and square our shoulders. These are the things
worth struggling for, this is why we're still here. Let us look to our
challenges always with the knowledge that the flip side of that hardship
coin holds many, many personal and nation-building attributes!! By the grace
of God we will look back on this time and feel the warmth of all those in
our lives who held our hand and walked with us physically, mentally and
spiritually. Every day that we are here is a blessing not a curse, and don't
ever think that it's a breeze outside of these borders. Enough said, I just
wanted to share these thoughts with you and to tell you that we are in this
together and we will make it together .... our attitude and direction is the
same ... "Our Zimbabwe". Let's do it . Together.

Always, and always,

Debi-great-to-be-back-home Jeans xxxx


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NACFREEZ Statement on the situation in Zimbabwe

 

Issued by NACFREEZ co-cordinators
Handel Mlilo, Washington. D.C.
Ralph Black, Texas

http://www.zimbabweans.org/

For questions please contact:
Stanford G. Mukasa
mukasa@iup.edu
(724) 467 0001

NACFREEZ statement

October 24, 2005

The North American Coalition for a Free Zimbabwe (NACFREEZ)
reiterates the position it took recently rejecting both the
Senate
and the Senate elections.

NACFREEZ renews its call to the civic society leadership and the
people of Zimbabwe to boycott the Senate elections and mobilize
for mass action against the Robert Mugabe regime.

NACFREEZ also calls upon the opposition movement in Zimbabwe to
close ranks in order to forge a united front against the Mugabe
regime.

To this extent, NACFREEZ calls upon the civic society leadership
to formulate a strategy for mass mobilization with the defined
objectives of making Zimbabwe ungovernable. Civil disobedience is
an internationally sanctioned self-defense right of people
groaning under the iron heel of oppression.

The Zimbabwean people have the strength in numbers to launch an
effective mass campaign against the Mugabe regime. They need a
united leadership that will mobilize them.

NACFREEZ condemns the fiscal irresponsibility demonstrated by the
Mugabe regime on the useless Senate which will, this year alone,
consume over $250 billion of taxpayers' money. This is an
unbudgeted expenditure.

Mugabe's fiscal irresponsibility has seen Zimbabwe's scarce
resources being used for unproductive adventures ranging from the
military expeditions in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to the
recent purchase of military jets at a cost of over US$200
million.

Like Nero fiddling while Rome was burning, Mugabe is wastefully
spending the country's resources at a time when the Zimbabwean
economy
is in shambles. Unemployment is at an all- time high of over 80
percent. Inflation is spiraling out of control to the present 360
percent. By some estimates, if this trend continues, inflation
could reach 1,000 percent by the end of the year. The economy
which shrunk by five percent last year is projected by the IMF to
decline a further seven percent this year.

In the past five years alone the economy has shrunk by about 40
percent. Educational, health, agricultural and social
institutions are teetering on the edge of total collapse.

The standard of living has regressed to the level of the 1950s.
In the 1980s you could get one American dollar for seven Zimbabwe
dollars. This October, 2005 you would need as many as 100,000
Zimbabwe dollars to get that one US dollar. In a recent article
from Zimbabwe, Judy Todd, writing from Bulawayo, describes  a
thin young couple, a baby strapped to  its mother s back,
standing wide-eyed, silent and apparently transfixed by the
realization that there was absolutely nothing in the entire
supermarket which could be purchased with the little sheaf of
useless notes the man was holding.  Over one-quarter of the
Zimbabwean population has left the country either as political or
economic refugees. Those who have remained in the country have
been reduced to abject poverty, or quiet deaths with no media to
tell their stories to the world.

Why would the people of Zimbabwe want to reward such a government
by enlarging it?  Wouldn t removing such a government be more
logical? The entire leadership in the opposition movement has
condemned the Senate as a burden on the already financially
distressed people of Zimbabwe.

The opposition movement in Zimbabwe is also in agreement
that the Senate is a grand project of Robert Mugabe to reward
failed ZANUPF politicians who lost in the last
general elections. The Senate elections will not be free or fair,
just as elections in Zimbabwe have been rigged since 2000.

Mugabe has already predetermined how many seats ZANUPF will have
on the Senate.

Zimbabweans cannot tolerate this situation any longer. They now
have to stand up and take the courage to regain their country,
their democracy, their independence, their dignity and the rule
of
law.

NACFREEZ calls upon Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to extend
whatever
material or moral assistance they can to our  fellow citizens
inside Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans living aboard must individually or
in
groups take  proactive steps to inform their communities about
the
oppressive situation in Zimbabwe.

NACFREEZ calls on the international community to redouble their
efforts to put pressure to bear on the Mugabe regime.  One
example
of such pressure is the strengthening of the travel ban  to the
countries of the international community against both  the Mugabe
regime and  their families.

NACFREEZ condemns the recent action taken by the Food and
Agricultural Organization (FAO) to invite Mugabe to  the
organization's 60th anniversary in Rome. This invitation gave
respectability to a dictator who has destroyed agriculture in
Zimbabwe and reduced the country from a
bread basket to a basket case in a matter of a few years.

While we all expect, and indeed call upon, the Zimbabweans to
stand up against the repressive Mugabe regime, the international
community has a strategic and moral obligation to come to their
aid,
just as the international
community campaigned against the apartheid regime.

NACFREEZ calls upon the countries of the SADC region in
particular, and the African Union in general not to allow the
situation in Zimbabwe to continue to degenerate the way it has,
but to also bring pressure to bear on Robert Mugabe.

While Africa understandably appreciates Mugabe's contributions to
the struggle for independence for Zimbabwe,  both the AU and SADC
have an obligation to use the NEPAD peer review mechanism to
ensure
Mugabe's compliance with the objectives of the struggle for
independence. It is in the interest of both the SADC
and the AU that the people of Zimbabwe find self fulfillment in
an
independent Zimbabwe. If the Zimbabwe situation is allowed to
deteriorate further, it will destabilize Sub-Sahara Africa and
further Africa's marginalization.

 Mugabe and his government must not be allowed to disgrace the
AU, SADC and the African Diaspora by preying on their own people
with impunity. Now is the time to take a stand.


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Chitungwiza water cut off

The Herald

By Walter Nyamukondiwa
THE Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has cut off supplies to
Chitungwiza amid revelations that the municipality has not paid its bills
for five months while hundreds of thousands suffer as Mayor Misheck Shoko,
other councillors and senior officials are living it up in a luxury hotel in
Victoria Falls.

Chitungwiza owes Zinwa almost $18 billion, some of it from as long ago as
May.

The council has been charging residents for the water it buys in bulk from
Zinwa and distributes to houses and businesses but has not been paying Zinwa
its share of the money it collects from residents.

The municipality was warned before top councillors and officials left for
the Falls at the beginning of the week that supplies would be disconnected
if nothing was done, but they simply told the water authority to wait until
they came back and then flew off.

Faced with this attitude, Zinwa felt it had no choice but to close the taps
on Monday.

"Zinwa has disconnected water to Chitung-wiza for failing to meet its
obligation of honouring its water bill," said a Zinwa official who declined
to be named.

"We notified them of our intention to disconnect water last week but there
has been no response from them (Chitungwiza officials) up to now."

Acting town clerk Mr Amos Matanhike, who is in Victoria Falls, said last
night from his $4 million-a-night hotel that he knew nothing about the dry
taps in the town but confirmed Zinwa had warned the council of its intention
to disconnect water supplies over the unpaid bill.

"We told them to wait while a payment plan was being worked out. I don't
know what the situation is like because right now I am in Victoria Falls for
the meeting," said Mr Matanhike.

Councillors and officials are attending the annual general meeting of the
Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe.

Mr Matanhike, Mayor Shoko and town treasurer Mr Godwin Mvududu flew to
Victoria Falls on Monday while about six councillors and an unspecified
number of other officials are expected to join them today, according to
reliable sources within the council.

While the total bill payable by the council for its large delegation -
Harare has sent a team of just two despite being a far larger and richer
council - is not known, the town must be paying more than $100 million and
the final figure is probably closer to $200 million.

Some of the officials travelled by road while others flew.

A return air ticket to Victoria Falls costs $8,6 million while a single
night at the Elephant Hills Hotel, where the meeting is being held is $5,8
million double, or $3,9 million single.

Mr Shoko's wife, the mayoress, seems to be in the Falls since she answered
his phone last night.

Added to the cost of tickets, accommodation and motoring expenses are,
according to a council official who did not wish to be named, the daily
allowances paid each delegate from Chitungwiza.

It is not known where those councillors and officials who are travelling by
road obtained the fuel for the 1 800km return journey since the council has
repeatedly said it cannot collect garbage or provide many other services
because it has no fuel.

Mayor Shoko and town treasurer Mr Godwin Mvududu were not reachable for
comment last night although Mr Shoko's phone was answered by his wife who
said he was locked up in a meeting.

While the town's leadership is up at the Falls, the residents are starting
to suffer seriously.

The small minority with cars are taking water home from workplaces in Harare
but most have to buy water from Mayambara Village next door or get water
from open wells in vleis.

Unfortunately, the poor state of the sewerage in Chitungwiza means many of
the vleis are contaminated with raw sewage.

As the shortage worsens, some of those with transport are cashing in on the
crisis.

A single bucket of water is going for anything between $20 000 and $30 000.

Chitungwiza is notorious for delaying payments for bulk water, despite
collecting the water bills from its residents.

Before Zinwa took over the bulk water supplies in the Harare metropolitan
area, the town bought its water in bulk from Harare City Council. When Zinwa
took over early this year, the city was still owed around $12 billion,
according to city sources.

Residents are furious about the cut.

Already some are complaining of unending stomachaches and diarrhoea.
"Munofanira kumboenda kumabani munoona vanhu vachiita kunge mombe dziri
patsime. Tiri kutyira zvirwere nekuti sewage dzinopfuura nemumabani imomo.
(People are now swarming vleis to get water from small wells. That's where
the sewerage passes through)," warned Mr Tapfumaneyi Jonasi of Zengeza 2.

"For a council that always complains of not having money, I think this is
irrational and a dereliction of duty. How can we have the treasurer, the
mayor, and the acting town clerk and probably their spouses attend the same
meeting in a far away place like Victoria Falls when they knew the situation
was bad," fumed Mr Johnson Mwamvura

He said it was surprising that council would send such a large contingent
when Harare had cut on the number of people attending the same meeting.

"This is extravagance of the highest order. Harare has sent only two people
and the town clerk stayed behind because of some pressing things in council.
Why didn't they do the same?" he said.


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Chitungwiza Mayor denies council owes Zinwa Z$18 billion

 

      By Tichaona Sibanda
      27 October 2005

      The MDC Mayor of Chitungwiza, Misheck Shoko, has denied that his
council owes the Zimbabwe National Water Authority Z$18 billion.

      The state controlled Herald in its front-page story Thursday reported
that Zinwa cut off water supplies to the town because the municipality has
not paid its bills for five months.

      The paper added that while hundreds of thousands of people suffer,
Mayor Shoko, other councillors and senior officials are living it up in a
luxury hotel in Victoria Falls.

      Shoko and all other Mayors from cities and towns around the country
are attending the annual general meeting of the Urban Councils Association
of Zimbabwe.

      Speaking from Victoria Falls a fuming Shoko said their account with
Zinwa is up to date and that the last payment they made to the Water
authority was credited to the Harare City Council in error.

      'We don't owe Zinwa Z$18B. When we paid our account they accredited
that amount to Harare City Council. The error was theirs not ours,' said
Mayor Shoko.

      Zinwa officials have since phoned him to apologise and water supplies
have been reconnected but it will be Friday before all areas in the town
received supplies.

      Shoko alleges the whole water saga centres on a plan dubbed 'final
push' by his detractors to remove him from office next week Monday. He said
a demonstration against him by former employees, fired for stealing council
funds, has been organised for Monday outside the Chitungwiza council
offices.

      Brushing aside the planned demonstration the MDC Mayor said the only
crime he has committed was belonging to a political party that is not the
ruling party.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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South Africa set to begin forced expropriations of farmland

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

      TV PROGRAM TRANSCRIPT

      LOCATION: http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2005/s1492438.htm

      Broadcast: 27/10/2005

     
      Reporter: Zoe Daniel

      TONY JONES: South Africa is embarking on a new strategy to force white
farmers off their land if they refuse to sell up to black families. The slow
pace of change since the end of apartheid has frustrated the government and
now it is abandoning its policy of 'willing buyers and willing sellers';
instead starting a program of forced expropriations. It hopes to return
around one third of South Africa's farmland to dispossessed black families.
But some white owners are vowing to fight. Africa correspondent Zoe Daniel
reports.

      ZOE DANIEL: Eviction day is looming for Hannes Visser. He's being
forced to sell his property to the government so it can be given to its
former black owners and he doesn't want to let it go.

      HANNES VISSER, FARMER: Do certain people have more rights than other?
And why expropriate when there is so much land available in open market?

      ZOE DANIEL: The South African Government is returning land to black
families dispossessed during apartheid and it's offered Mr Visser about
AUS$340,000. But he believes the property and facilities are worth twice
that.

      HANNES VISSER: I have to be in the same position that I'm here after
I've been expropriated and that's not going to happen.

      ZOE DANIEL: Unless he can find a legal avenue to stop it, Mr Visser's
property will be returned to the Molamu clan - an extended family of 500 who
say their great grandfather was forced to sell back in the 1940s. Some of
the family members lived here when they were tiny children.

      MOSES MOLAMU, FAMILY SPOKESMAN: We could be feeling pity for him, but
because we are also...we want our property back, let him also feel that we
also want our field, our land back.

      ZOE DANIEL: South African authorities reject comparisons with violent
white farm seizures in Zimbabwe, but they say expropriation will be used
from now on if farmers hold out for high prices.

      BLESSING MPHELA, SOUTH AFRICAN LAND COMMISSIONER: From those that have
benefited from the past, what contribution - material and otherwise - are
they making to this process? Should they insist on their right to stay on
the farms? What about the right of those people who were dispossessed?

      ZOE DANIEL: Only 4 per cent of white-owned farmland has been handed
back to the black community since the end of apartheid. The government wants
to transfer a third by 2014 and that means many more expropriations to meet
the target. Zoe Daniel, Lateline.


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CPJ: Exiled Zimbabwean journalists network, report truth

International Journalists' Network

Oct 27, 2005

At least 90 exiled Zimbabwean journalists, including several international
award winners, make up one of the largest groups of exiled journalists in
the world, according to an October 19 report from the Committee to Protect
Journalists (CPJ).

CPJ conducted 34 interviews with Zimbabwean journalists living in England
and South Africa to compile the report. Many of these journalists continue
to cover issues in their home country, which now has no independent daily
newspapers, no private radio news programs, and just two independent
weeklies, CPJ said.

The exiled journalists are forming networks to pool resources and improve
their coverage. Meanwhile, small budgets limit their reporting. So does the
limited ability to access government information and check facts from afar.
Both reporters and sources are frequently anonymous, stunting their
credibility.

Daniel Mololeke recently launched the Media Reference Group, an organization
of expatriate journalists, to help unify the scattered group and share
information.

"Media is the glue that holds Zimbabweans living outside their country
together," Mololeke told CPJ. Mololeke also is a columnist for
NewZimbabwe.com. Journalists and press freedom watchdogs have said for years
that Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe persecutes independent journalists. In
2002, the government adopted a law that criminalizes journalism without a
license. Many of the exiles served time in jail, and many were physically
assaulted for reports criticizing Mugabe's regime, CPJ's report says.

CPJ: http://www.cpj.org/Briefings/2005/DA_fall05/zim/zim_DA_fall05_2.html.
New Zimbabwe: http://www.newzimbabwe.com/. Zimbabwe Situation:
http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/.


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Zim teachers rule!!!

Sent: Thursday, October 27, 2005 8:21 PM

"It's never too late to maintain one's rational judgement;
Never too late to preserve one's courage and composure;
Never too late to seek new opportunities;
Never too late to depend on true friends;
Never too late to uphold the struggle for a just cause."
- Saeb. S. Sallam - (former PM of Lebanon)

As the cost of just about everything soars almost on a daily rate, we are
finding ourselves confronted by a choice; to let the tide of obstacles wash
over us, suffocating and crushing the last bit of resilience and hope out of
us or we can choose to lift our heads just high enough to enable ourselves
to still breathe. With breath comes life. As long as there is life, there is
also the capacity and all the resources we need to have hope. You may ask
what resources? The money runs shorter every week, the challenges just to
get from A to B, to feed the family, to pay the school fees, to keep our
businesses afloat, to plan for the future. It's downright scary out there in
that unpredictable Zimbabwean Ocean!!

So, squeezing in the St.John's College Speech Day on Wednesday morning,
whilst walking across from the gym, I tried not to think about the problem
at hand: how I was going to find and then negotiate the price of bags of
maize meal for my home and work staff. Not to mention the mountains of
pending work I could get through in a whole morning! Anyway, off I went
mostly out of regret at not having gone last year and wanting to see who had
done what and who was going to become what in the coming year as we have a
lot to do with many of the fine young men and women across at the college
over the course of the year.

How can I describe the experience? Imagine a huge hall packed to bursting
including the balconies with students, staff and a few parents. The
headmaster and head of the board spoke about the successes and nothing short
of miraculous achievement in overcoming the seemingly insurmountable
obstacles thrown at the education system and the College over this last
year. They openly thanked the tireless work of teachers, parents and
concerned citizens of all colour, race and cultural background from not just
this school but the united front formed by all schools and individuals that
comprise our Zimbabwean schooling community. By working together and putting
aside all things to work towards saving our schooling system and the schools
themselves, the victory belonged to the children of Zimbabwe ... and at the
end of this year, they will have managed to lay another brick in the
foundation of the generation at hand and those to come.

The guest speaker, a man of integrity and of his word, having played a
pivotal role in keeping destructive forces at bay when they threatened to
control the fees, spoke about how a carrot, an egg and a coffee bean each
change when put into boiling water. The carrot gets soft, the egg's middle,
once liquid, becomes hard but the coffee bean changes the water around it
and even improves the water's taste, flavour and aroma!! His challenge was
to ask us what happens to us when we're in hot water!! Are we carrots, eggs
or do we change the environment around us - perhaps making it even better!??
A fine message for all of us!

The tone was set, an excellent and uplifting speech day was in the making
until ......... Frank Matande, the outgoing headboy gave his speech. Not a
dry eye in the house. Not a heart unmoved. Not a spirit that was not lifted
and not one person who was not enlightened by the message spoken by this
incredible young man. Frank is driven from within by his attitude of
gratitude and wisdom powerfully fuelled by his God, his parents and his
beloved friends, peers and community around him. One of the most eloquent
speakers I have ever had the pleasure to hear, his message was one of
enormous pride, love and service to his school, his beloved peers in his
year and to simply all that is perhaps taken for granted in our schooling
system.

The dedication, committment, patience and humour with which our teachers
give of themselves towards the mental, physical and spiritual development of
each soul who falls into their sphere. The discipline of self and school
code drilled into each member of each school  ... and with it, roots
extended deeply in place, supported by moral, ethical and spiritual lessons.
Frank spoke about the ups and downs of the year, yet the theme that moved
our little world that morning was one of standing together as brothers and
sisters, win or lose; the victory or the defeat; together through absolutely
every detail in life.

He spoke about the best year of his life, about how he would leave the
school, but that the school would never leave him; his DNA which is present
in his blood, in his cells, throughout his body was the DNA of Zimbabwean
tradition, pride, culture, education and a bonding with peers for life. His
prefect body was called "The United Nations" as he described the wide
diversity of all it's members, and he was known as "Koffi Annan"!! His UN
had taken a major step forward in the evolution of his humble college; he
described how young men and women worked tirelessly towards the governance
of their charge and in so doing, proved that we have reached an amazing new
time in the history of our nation. He attributed this to the spirit of
endeavour which he felt pervades the school ethos.

 Lastly, I stood aside at the end when most parents and teachers had left
the hall and witnessed the outgoing upper 6th form gathered together with
the incoming one, stand on the stage to face the whole of the rest of the
school as they sang the St'John's college song. There they were, everyone in
that hall, arm in arm, many in tears as they lifted their heads, their
hearts and their spirits in unison. I won't tell you what state both myself
and the teacher with whom I was standing left the hall ... but my mascara
didn't look very pretty running all down my face!!!

My thoughts? No thoughts ... just a wonderful sense of peace and gratitude
for all that we have here and now in our "deprived" lives. We are so on
purpose, you and I. Whether living here or outside of our borders, every
Zimbabwean has the choice to be on course, if he or she simply dares to
hope, to believe and to work towards the rebuilding of our families, our
children and therefore the future of our nation. To have hope does not mean
that we will necessarily get what we want; hope is when we can work
tirelessly and lovingly in doing what is good and right. If enough of us do
this; live and work in hope, then our future can only be bright! (Thanks for
that Andy Vincent!)

Thank you Frank, thank you every teacher who ever taught me and who teaches
all the children of Zimbabwe. If I have to sell my house to pay to keep you
here and to ensure that my sons and daughter have Frank's experience, then
so be it. There is no price that can match it and no words that can
adequately describe it. God Bless all of you those leaving school this year;
go into the world and always proudly remember your heritage. Work so that
you may be part of the great wave that carries this ship into calmer waters.
God speed and God bless you all.

Debbie Jeans (Oriel girl!!!)


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Musical aid for Zimbabwe migrants

BBC

      Zimbabweans wishing to leave their country are the target of a new
campaign by the International Organisation for Migration.
      Some of Zimbabwe's best-known musicians are contributing to an album
that forms part of a multi-media campaign, and are to perform at a concert
on Thursday.

      IOM hopes to make would-be migrants aware of the dangers of leaving
the country without support.

      At present, 2,000 Zimbabweans are sent home each week from South
Africa alone.

      The campaign, known as "Safe Journey", aims to reduce the risks of
potential migrants and to inform citizens on HIV prevention and the dangers
of irregular migration.

      Increasing numbers of people have attempted to leave Zimbabwe in the
wake of the government's Operation Murambatsvina, in which 700,000 people
were affected by the destruction of homes and small businesses, according to
the United Nations.

      Risk

      "We want people to think before they go," the IOM spokeswoman in
Harare, Nicola Simmonds, told the BBC News website.

      "They have got to know before they go that they are taking a risk, and
things could be worse on the other side."

      Oliver Mtukudzi is among the musical stars supporting the campaign,
which in addition to music will use television, film, radio, print,
billboards, bumper stickers, and a website to get its message across.

      The Zimbabwean government is also backing the initiative.

      Fact of life

      "The government has accepted that migration is a fact of life," Ms
Simmonds said.

      "Migration is a very normal procedure, and [the government] has
accepted that it is happening more now than usual," she added.

      "For reasons of regional relations they want to ensure that it is done
as regularly as possible."

      The IOM's Chief of Mission in Zimbabwe, Mr Mohammed Abdiker, said the
campaign would reach out to vulnerable groups.

      "With a special focus on mobile populations such as truck drivers,
cross border traders, families and individuals in search of work, the Safe
Journey campaign will give critical information on what documents are needed
and how to avoid the grave dangers of irregular migration," he said.


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SA won't follow Mugabe's approach to land reform

Mail and Guardian

      Cape Town, South Africa

      27 October 2005 03:52

            President Thabo Mbeki has dismissed speculation South Africa
might follow Zimbabwe's example in dealing with land reform.

            Replying to questions in the National Assembly on Thursday, he
said the government was committed to respect the Constitution regarding its
approach to land reform, restitution and redistribution.

            Speeding up the process of land redistribution was a fundamental
part of government's policy.

            Therefore, the "blockages" holding up faster forward movement in
this regard had to be looked at and removed.

            "One of them is affordability; the provision of resources to
make sure that we acquire this land [for redistribution].

            "We say, expropriation is provided for in the Constitution, but
the Constitution also provides that there must be fair compensation. So, you
need those resources even when you expropriate.

            "Here we have got the challenge of the land question in
Zimbabwe.

            "And as we look at what we have to do, naturally as part of
answering the challenges that we face, we look at all examples, including
the Zimbabwe example.

            "Now to look at the Zimbabwe example is not to say we are
therefore going to copy what is happening in Zimbabwe.

            "But to look at the Zimbabwe question may very well be to say,
if things went wrong [there], there's no reason why we should repeat them
because we've got that prior experience.

            "So... well, I'm sure all of us are accustomed to scarecrows
that are raised every day. This was one of them," Mbeki said. - Sapa


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'Denouncing Mugabe won't help'

iafrica.com

Thu, 27 Oct 2005
A statement denouncing Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe may be popular but
would not solve the problem of Zimbabwe, President Thabo Mbeki said on
Thursday.

Responding to a question from African Christian Democratic Party leader
Kenneth Meshoe, Mbeki said he remained committed to engaging with both the
ruling party of Zimbabwe and its opposition and other parties "to contribute
what we (South Africa) can to the solution of this problem".

"If I issued a statement denouncing Robert Mugabe, you may applaud me and
say ... 'very well done'. Will that have solved the problem of Zimbabwe?
(It) may have made me popular in your eyes. Will it have solved the problem
of Zimbabwe? I doubt it."

Noting that he had received a delegation from the Zimbabwean opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) last week, he said that they had come
to raise "some concerns about what was happening and asked us to intervene
which we did". He expected that he would be approached again to assist them.

Mbeki did not refer to the factions within the MDC squabbling over its
participation in upcoming senate elections or the fact that he had,
reportedly, been snubbed by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

However, Mbeki said Zimbabwe was "fortunately" not a province of South
Africa. "We can't instruct them. What we can do is engage them."

Mbeki was replying to questions in the National Assembly.

I-Net Bridge


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Iranian envoy to Harare meets Zimbabwe's FM

Islamic Republic News Agency

Pretoria, Oct 27, IRNA
Iran-Zimbabwe-Cooperation
Iranian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Hamid Moayer and Zimbabwe's Foreign Minister
Mubengegwei Simbarashe in a meeting on Thursday discussed matters of
bilateral concern.

During the meeting, Moayer referred to cooperation between the two countries
in the international assemblies and bilateral agreements and declared Iran's
interest in establishing a joint commission.

The foreign ministers of the two countries will jointly preside over the
commission, which is to hold talks about its cooperation trend in various
fields including trade, defense, information and publicity, roads and
transportation, telecommunications as well as promotion of sciences and
technology.

Expressing the interest of Iranian companies in making investment in
Zimbabwe's various economic fields, the Iranian diplomat called for the
guarantee and facilities required for the presence of the Iranian
enterprises in Zimbabwe.

For his part, Mubengegwi appreciated Iran's contribution to in the country's
various economic projects, calling for closer collaboration, particularly in
extraction and exploitation of mines in Zimbabwe.

The foreign minister pointed to his country's economic problems and said,
"Given that Zimbabwe's debts to the International Monetary Fund is soon
overdue, the country is now in critical financial condition."


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Tendai Biti (MP) on the senate debate

SW Radio
 
Behind the Headlines
Lance Guma

 

 

As opposition MP’s they were mandated to oppose Constitutional Amendment Number 17 in parliament. An amendment which nationalized all farm land, blocked court petitions relating to land and created powers to seize passports belonging to critics. It also created the senate. How then can they ‘indicate left and then turn right?’ Prominent lawyer Tendai Biti, who is also Harare East MDC Member of Parliament, is the guest on Behind the Headlines. He has no kind words for those in favour of participating in the forthcoming senate elections describing them as ‘ having cheques from the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) in their underwear’. The 26 candidates who submitted their names for nomination were not approved by the National Council as prescribed by Article 12 of the party’s constitution and hence his colleagues could not choose and chop parts of the constitution, which they were comfortable with. He has a few choice words for St Mary’s MP Job Sikhala who stirred up allegations of illegal foreign funding and describes him as needing psychiatric examination. Don’t miss this explosive interview.

 

 

 
Lance Guma
Producer/Presenter
SW Radio Africa
+44-777-855-7615
www.swradioafrica.com
 
Behind The Headlines
Thursday 5:15 to 5:30pm live on the internet at www.swradioafrica.com
Friday     5:15 to 5:30am on Medium Wave broadcasts 1197khz
Also available on internet archives after broadcasts at http://www.swradioafrica.com/pages/archives.php
 
SW Radio Africa is Zimbabwe's only independent radio station broadcasting from the United Kingdom. The station is staffed by exiled Zimbabwean journalists who because of harsh media laws cannot broadcast from home.
 
Full broadcast on Medium Wave -1197KHZ between 5-7am (Zimbabwean time) and 24 hours on the internet at www.swradioafrica.com.


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MDC leaders meet to avert imminent split

New Zimbabwe

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 10/28/2005 04:16:51
LEADERS of Zimbabwe's main opposition party -- the Movement for Democraic
Change (MDC) -- moved on Thursday to heal a rift over participation in next
month's senate polls which has raised the spectre of a party split.

The opposition MDC has plunged into its deepest crisis since coming into
being in 1999, due to a bitter dispute among its top leadership over whether
to contest elections that critics say are merely aimed at tightening
President Robert Mugabe's grip on power.

On Thursday MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai -- who wants a boycott of the
November 26 poll -- said he had met his top five lieutenants who have
opposed his stance and earlier this week sponsored the registration of
candidates for 26 seats in the 66-strong senate.

"The management commitment of the MDC ... agreed ... to continue dialogue
with a view to finding an expeditious resolution of the dispute in the
party," Tsvangirai, who was flanked by his deputy Gibson Sibanda told a news
conference.

The faction in favour of contesting argues that a boycott would only widen
Zanu PF's political dominance at the expense of the opposition.

He said the MDC leadership had also agreed to desist from making
"acrimonious comments on the dispute", and urged party members not to use
threats, intimidation and violence against colleagues across the senate
issue divide.

The MDC says Zanu PF has used rigging and violence to avert defeat in
parliamentary and presidential elections in the last five years in the face
of a worsening economic crisis, and Tsvangirai says taking part in the
senate vote would lend credence to a flawed process.


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Leo Mugabe's farm seized by government

New Zimbabwe

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 10/28/2005 03:39:49
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's nephew and Makonde legislator, Leo Mugabe, has had
his farm confiscated by the government just over a week after he was charged
with illegally exporting wheat flour.

Journey's End Farm in Mashonaland West was seized by the government due to
lack of agricultural activity, the Daily Mirror newspaper reported.

Mugabe, also chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport
and Communication, confirmed the government had seized his farm for "lying
idle".

"I am currently in the process of removing my things," Mugabe told the
Mirror. "The process has been slow because of the current fuel problems."

Mugabe, a former chairman of the Zimbabwe Football Association, was farming
cotton and maize on the 3 000-hectare estate.

A source told the Mirror: "It seems that Leo is being victimised. How do you
remove someone when the rains are here? Whose interests are being served as
it is now raining and there is no one utilising the property?"

Mugabe said he had not been consulted when the farm was acquired.

"I am not a multiple farm owner. It was my only farm. I bought it in 1993
and I have title deeds to it. No reason was given for the acquisition,"
Mugabe said. He also confirmed that no one was currently using the property.

Asked who had delivered the message of the farm acquisition to him, Mugabe
said: "I just saw it in the papers. Do you have to be told? When you see it
in the papers unobva watoziva kuti ratobaya (you then know that you have
lost it). Since I had title deeds, I wish they could also give me title
deeds for another one."

The legislator said he had evaluated improvements made on the farm for
possible compensation. Mugabe put the figure for the improvements at $15
billion.

Under the recently passed Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 17) Act,
no compensation can be paid for land except improvements made on it. The
amendment also bars all courts from presiding over such land issues. Mugabe
also said that he had installed electricity at the farm, sank nine
boreholes, developed paddocks and fenced the property.

He is currently on bail on charges of contravening the Grain Marketing Board
(GMB) Act as well as the Customs and Excise Duty for allegedly exporting
wheat to Mozambique.

Mugabe, a quiet but highly influential figure, is regarded as one of the
wealthiest people in Zimbabwe. His mother, Sabina, is President Mugabe's
sister.

The multiple farm owner has previously been accused of high-level corruption
and violating the law with impunity.

He gained notoriety in 1999 after acting as an agent in a £33 million
contract for Harare's new international airport, representing a Cypriot
company run by a Saudi millionaire who eventually built the facility.

The Saudi millionaire then helped build President Mugabe's new Borrowdale
mansion estimated to have cost £5 million. No charges were brought against
Leo over the affair.


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Zimbabwe Currency Plunges 130 Percent

forbes.com

10.27.2005, 08:30 AM

The Zimbabwe dollar has plunged just over 130 percent on the new interbank
market aimed at easing acute hard currency shortages that have crippled the
southern African country's economy, banks said Thursday.

The Zimbabwe dollar was trading Thursday at around 60,000 to the U.S.
dollar, or 72,540 to the euro.

The official rate set at Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe managed auctions remains
26,004 Zimbabwe dollars to the U.S. dollar, or 31,400 to the euro. But
exporters, individuals with hard currency and Zimbabweans living abroad can
exchange at least 70 percent of their foreign earnings at the new rate set
by commercial banks.

The Zimbabwe dollar slid to 76,029 against the U.S. dollar, 91,397 against
the euro, on some financial floors on the first two days of trading under
the new system announced Friday.

While it had recovered slightly by Thursday, independent economist John
Robertson forecast further drops to between 80,000 and 100,000 to the U.S.
dollar - 96,700 and 120,000 to the euro - to bring the interbank rate in
line with prevailing black market rates.

"We haven't sorted out a single one of the supply problems, but people can
now bring money into the country legally and get a more realistic rate for
it," he said.

Exporters are still required to sell 30 percent of their foreign earnings to
the central bank at the official rate, which Robertson called a "concealed
upfront tax."

Zimbabwe's economy has spiraled out of control since President Robert
Mugabe's government began seizing thousands of white-owned commercial farms
for redistribution to blacks in 2000. Years of drought have compounded the
decline. Inflation has soared to 359 percent, and the country is plagued by
acute shortages of food, fuel and other essential imports.

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