The ZIMBABWE Situation
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After 62 years, BA takes flight from Harare

The Times
October 29, 2007

Jan Raath in Harare
British Airways flew out of Harare international airport yesterday ending 62
years of service. The London-bound BA152 left with 200 passengers aboard the
Boeing 777 without any acknowledgement of the occasion. The captain of the
incoming flight from London had remarked over the intercom at “how sad” he
felt not to be able to fly in and out of Harare any more.

Last month BA, the last foreign long-haul airline left in Zimbabwe,
announced that it was ending its Harare service because it had been making
“a considerable loss” that it could no longer sustain. The airline’s
passenger numbers began to shrink in 2000 when President Mugabe launched his
violent dispossession of white farmers.

“BA’s withdrawal is a major blow to what’s left of tourism,” said a tour
operator requesting anonymity. “Air Zimbabwe [the state-owned airline]
cannot make up the numbers that BA was carrying. That means people will have
to fly here via South Africa or one of the other neighbouring countries and
having to make multiple stopovers is a severe deterrent to travellers.”

In 1999 Harare airport was crowded with the emblems of 18 foreign airlines
with Lufthansa, Air France and TAP Portugal also linking directly to Europe.
BA was flying four consistently packed Boeing 747 jumbo jets to Harare four
times a week.

In 2001 the service was cut to three weekly flights, in Boeing 777s, which
carry half the passenger load. Now a handful of African carriers are left
servicing regional routes. Travel agents were told last week that one of
them, Ethiopian Airlines, was also terminating its Harare service to East
Africa. Pilots on cargo carriers were also told that DHL, the international
courier service, was closing its office here. No comment could be obtained
from either company.

British Airways first flew here as Imperial Airways in January 1932 with a
three-engined Hercules that used Harare – then Salisbury – as one of many
stopovers on the laborious London-Cape Town route. There was also a 13-year
hiatus when all international flights were suspended as the white minority
Rhodesian Government was cut off by UN trade sanctions.

Air Zimbabwe, the state-owned airline, now offers the only direct flight to
Europe. It has a good safety record and efficient, friendly staff, but it is
bedevilled by its owner that forces it to charge sub-economic fares and
interferes by making political staff appointments and route choices.

The airline is also a victim of unscheduled arrivals of Mr Mugabe, his
family or government officials demanding seats on a plane about to depart.
Just before yesterday’s London flight was due to board, half the passengers
in business class were ordered into the economy section to make way for
government VIPs.


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MDC wants all-party meeting over voter registration

Zim Online

Monday 29 October 2007

By Wayne Mafaro

HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition party has asked the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) to convene an all-party meeting to agree "practical
approaches" to the registration of voters to avoid mistakes made in a
previous exercise to record voters.

Zimbabwe's voters' roll has been in shambles for years with hundreds of
thousands of names of voters who died or left the country to live abroad
still appearing on the register, while thousands more voters have failed to
vote in previous polls either because their names were entered in wrong
constituencies or did not appear at all on the register.

An exercise to update the roll ahead of next year's joint presidential and
parliamentary elections that was completed last August had to be extended
last Friday after complaints mostly from the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party that thousands of newly eligible voters from
areas it controls were left out.

"We request formally that you call a meeting of the Multiparty Liaison
Committee to agree more practical approaches to the voter registration
challenge generally and the mobile exercise in particular," MDC's director
of elections in the Morgan Tsvangirai-led party, Ian Makone, wrote in a
letter to the ZEC dated October 25.

"We are convinced that the initiatives recently announced by the Registrar
General will yield the same poor results as the last one. We need to learn
from our mistakes and we do not seem to have done so," Makone wrote.

Makone, who wants the multiparty committee to discuss issues such as civic
education and a publicity campaign to raise voter awareness of the extended
registration exercise, told ZimOnline that the MDC was not happy with
preparations for next year's polls particularly the way voter registration
was being done.

ZEC chief elections officer Lovemore Sekeramayi refused to answer questions
on the matter.

Election observers have always criticised Zimbabwe's chaotic voters' roll,
while the MDC has in the past accused the government of taking advantage of
the lack of accurate figures on the number of voters to rig polls. The
government denies rigging elections.

The MDC and ZANU PF are engaged in talks under South African mediation that
are aimed at resolving Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis. A key
objective of the talks is to ensure next year's polls are free and fair.

Analysts say South African President Thabo Mbeki should push Harare to end
political violence, repeal tough security and press laws as well as fix the
chaotic voters' roll if next year's polls are to be free and fair. -
ZimOnline


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MDC could be weakened further after replacing women's executive

Zim Online

Monday 29 October 2007

By Edith Kaseke

HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition faction could be further weakened after
ousting and replacing the executive of its women's assembly, a vital cog in
the party, analysts said, warning that this was exposing the opposition's
weaknesses on strategy on the eve of crucial elections in 2008.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is struggling to regain
its potency that saw it nearly sweep President Robert Mugabe and his ruling
ZANU-PF from power in 2000 following a damaging split in October 2005, which
left it with two competing factions.

Political analysts say while Mugabe has been consolidating power, the main
opposition wing led by Morgan Tsvangirai has been battling to emerge from
the 2005 split and is immersed in internal strife as members position
themselves for seats in an enlarged parliament next year.

Some party officials have accused Tsvangirai of seeking to strengthen his
so-called "kitchen cabinet," a group of MDC officials whom the former trade
union leader is said to rely on to make key party decisions. Tsvangirai
denies he has a kitchen cabinet.

"It would seem the MDC is lacking strategy because what it needs now is to
present a united front to give confidence to its supporters as we approach
elections," Eldred Masunungure, a leading political analyst said.

"They can ill-afford another fallout. The ZANU-PF election machinery is in
full gear while the MDC is busy trying to get over its internal strife,"
said Masunungure.

Yesterday, the MDC women's assembly replaced trade unionist Lucia Matibenga
at a hastily arranged women's congress in Bulawayo with Theresa Makone, wife
of Ian Makone a close Tsvangirai ally who is also financing the party's
activities.

Opposition party officials who spoke to ZimOnline said there was growing
disgruntlement in the MDC on how activists financing the party had become
too powerful and sidelining members from the trade union wing who formed the
party.

The MDC was formed in 1999, grounded in the main trade union movement, the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, which had carried out crippling strikes
against Mugabe's government.

In the 2000 parliamentary elections, the party went on to win 57 of the 120
contested seats, the first time that Mugabe's iron-grip on power had been
threatened.

The MDC argues that Matibenga's executive was ineffective and that the
election of new leaders of the women assembly would revive the party ahead
of presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for March 2008.

Matibenga had sought the intervention of the courts, arguing that the
dissolution of her executive was illegal. The High Court ruled that women's
assembly congress should decide the issue.

Some political analysts said the MDC was justified in shaking up the women's
assembly and that this would not necessarily weaken the party.

"I think this was necessary because if they had kept a tight lead on these
problems, you would have eventually had all kinds of problems as we see in

ZANU-PF today," John Makumbe, a senior political lecturer at the University
of Zimbabwe told ZimOnline.

"It is a sifting process and the fact that the women's assembly voted in the
manner they did maybe it vindicates the leadership's decision (to dissolve
the women's assembly)," Makumbe said.

But Makumbe warned that the opposition should not forget that it was a
worker driven party. There is concern among some members that the party was
being taken over by elitist individuals.

"The MDC should always remember its origins and I can't think of any woman
who could be more trade unionist than Matibenga," he said.

Analysts say an economic meltdown -- shown by the world's highest inflation
rate of nearly 8 000 percent, rocketing unemployment and shortages of food
foreign currency and fuel - rather than the opposition, presents the most
serious threat to Mugabe's rule.

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 and critics say the
veteran leader has ruined the once vibrant economy through controversial
policies such as seizing vast tracts of land from whites to resettle blacks.

But a defiant Mugabe says he is a victim of Western sanctions and that the
MDC is a puppet of the West. On Friday he accused the MDC of being 'cry wolf
boys' making false allegations of violations against security forces and
ZANU-PF supporters.

Meanwhile, Matibenga and her supporters conducted a separate congress of
their own in Bulawayo at which she was re-elected leader of the women's
assembly to highlight the deepening level of confusion and indiscipline in
the opposition party.

Matibenga and her supporters later held a demonstration denouncing MDC
vice-president Thokozani Khupe and chairman Lovemore Moyo who they accused
of causing the dismissal of her executive.

Police had to intervene to disperse Matibenga supporters as it appeared
violence could break out between the supporters and delegates attending the
women's assembly congress. - ZimOnline


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Troubled Air Zimbabwe fears ban from skies

Zim Online

Monday 29 October 2007

By Wayne Mafaro

HARARE - Authorities at Air Zimbabwe have expressed fears that the airline
could face a ban from European skies if it fails a "must pass" audit carried
out by the International Air Transport Association (ITA) last week,
ZimOnline has learnt.

Confidential documents seen by ZimOnline at the weekend showed that all was
not well at Air Zimbabwe over the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) that
ran from the 23rd to the 26th of October.

The reports, titled, "Report to shareholder to fast-track the turnaround
programme," and "Operations and Service Improvement Plan 2007," said the
audit was a "must pass" as it was a condition for the airline to retain its
membership of IATA.

"In the event that the airline does not pass the audit, we anticipate the
British government to lobby the European Union to include IOSA certification
as part of the Operational Certificate Requirements for airlines flying into
Europe.

"If this succeeds the airline will be barred from flying to Europe and
therefore the United Kingdom government would have won the battle to stop
air services between the two nations," said the report.

The IOSA is an internationally accepted evaluation system that is designed
to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline.
Airlines seeking to fly into Europe are required to first pass the audit
before flying into the region.

Authorities at Air Zimbabwe say once the airline is banned from flying into
Europe, creditors will rush to call in their funds, paralyzing operations at
the troubled airline.

Air Zimbabwe is currently struggling with debts amounting to US$21 million,
with US$13 million owed to local creditors, according to the documents.

"The airline has no capacity to liquidate these debts which accrued due to
poor business performance. As a result of the debt, the company has been put
on cash basis by various service providers including fuel suppliers, a
situation which is unsustainable," Air Zimbabwe said.

The airline also said it was using "technologically obsolete equipment
(aircraft fleet)" with most of its aircraft being between 16-20 years old.

Air Zimbabwe spokesperson David Mwenga refused to comment on the matter when
contacted by ZimOnline at the weekend.

Zimbabwe's national carrier has since the country's economic crisis started
in 2000 lost its position as one of the best airlines in Africa to being one
of the worst due to mismanagement and interference from the parent Ministry
of Transport and Communications. - ZimOnline


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'I work in a heartbroken country'

Miami Herald
Posted on Sun, Oct. 28, 2007

BY PETA THORNYCROFT

This is taken from the speech that the writer delivered to the International Women's Media Foundation last week:

Iam most honoured by this award. Thank you.

I work in a heartbroken country.

Zimbabwe has withdrawn from the world. Its life, its energy and resilience is eaten away.

Not for ideology, not because of so called sanctions. Not because its sovereignty is under threat as Robert Mugabe claims.

It is all about money.

Every time Mugabe and his cronies change U.S. dollars on the black market, which is the only market, they make 100,000 percent profit.

And yet the shops are empty, the people are foraging for food in a country abundantly endowed with agricultural jewels, deep red soil and rain.

At the end of apartheid in South Africa, where I have mostly worked, we journalists were elated.

We had made a difference.

When the Truth Commission under Archbishop Desmond Tutu began its investigations into the atrocities of apartheid, they began in the libraries of South African newspapers.

I can truly say that I have made no difference in Zimbabwe.

Three weeks ago I traveled across the vast rural heartland of Mugabe's strongholds up to the Mozambique border.

Mugabe's loyalists are polite, subdued, dependent and obedient. No opposition party can operate there.

I saw a new intake of Mr. Mugabe's personal army, the publicly funded youth militia, also known as green bombers for the colour of their uniforms, and the violence they inflict on anyone who opposes Mugabe.

The small trading stores out there are as empty as the supermarkets in the cities.

Mugabe's voodoo economics dictated that the price of retail goods be cut by 50 percent of production costs. He did this because the outgoing U.S. ambassador Christopher Dell predicted that Zimbabwe would collapse by year end.

Mugabe's generals -- and Zimbabwe is ruled by the military -- decided all businessmen were saboteurs working for the West to effect regime change.

So they slashed prices and arrested thousands.

Zimbabwe's torment is not comparable with the apocalypse in Iraq, or any of the images I have seen of the brief recent Burmese demonstrations. Nor is it Afghanistan, Somalia nor Darfur.

There is no war. There is no one trying for regime change as we have learned to understand what those words imply.

Zimbabweans who oppose Robert Mugabe, or write about what he is doing, day by ghastly day are accused of plotting regime change. Zimbaweans tried to change the regime at the ballot box, but Mugabe and his junta were too strong, too cunning, and most in the rest of Africa chose to ignore him.

Nelson Mandela and the ruling African National Congress know the difference between right and wrong. For seven years they stayed quiet, and endorsed elections which were demonstrably violent and unfair.

Zimbabwe, with the highest literacy rate in the third world is now graduating children who can barely read. We don't even know the numbers dying of treatable disease like HIV/AIDS.

Next year, Mugabe will stand for re-election, seeking five more years to torment his people.

They are too hungry to oppose him.


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Never rains but pours as Zimbabwe faces energy crisis

Yahoo News

Oct 28 2007

by Godfrey Marawanyika

HARARE (AFP) - An escalating energy crisis has pulled the plug on hopes of
reviving Zimbabwe's economy as production grinds to a halt in a
manufacturing sector already battling the impact of sky-high inflation.

Although central bank chief Gideon Gono said last week that shelves would
soon be full again after a controversial pricing crackdown, analysts say the
power deficit will accelerate the meltdown as inflation nears 8,000 percent.
"Because of electricity shortages we lose everything," said John Robertson,
an independent Harare-based economist.

"Production time is lost as well as export revenue. We are now importing
almost everything."

Manufacturers in Zimbabwe have long had to contend with a lack of foreign
currency and a lack of spare parts, even before the government imposed a
ceiling on the amounts that businesses and retailers could charge in June.

Unable to cover their costs, many producers of household staples such as
bread and washing powder simply pulled down their shutters.

While Gono has warned the government must in future allow for "an
environment that respects the viability of producers of goods and services,"
the shortage of power means that a return to full production is unlikely.

Workers in industrial areas of Harare are often seen sitting outside their
work places or milling around after power cuts, in some cases lasting for
days, have brought factories to a halt.

The situation has visibly worsened in the last three weeks after the
country's neighbours reduced supplies because of long-overdue debts.

"There are companies which were down for four days last week and others were
just operating on an on-and-off basis," said Calisto Jokonya, president of
the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries.

Obert Nyatanga, spokesman for the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
(ZESA), said that the power utility is operating at just over 50 percent.

"We are operating at 55 percent of our requirements including imports,"
Nyatanga told AFP, attributing the outages partly to rampant vandalism.

"We expect the situation to improve but you can not plan for anything as we
are now approaching the rainy season which causes more problems.

"Yes, there are electricity shortages, but this is also caused by vandalism
of equipment and theft of cables."

The situation is also being partly exacerbated by Zimbabwe's struggles to
meet payment demands from neigbhours such as Zambia and Mozambique which it
has come to rely on for power supplies.

Last month, Mozambique reduced power supplies to Zimbabwe from 300 megawatts
to 195 megawatts due to a 35 million dollar debt, which Nyatanga said had
since been paid.

A government official who refused to be named said Harare has paid 20
million dollars to Mozambique.

The impact of the power shortages can also be seen in the mining sector.

It is Zimbabwe's major foreign currency earner, at some 700 million dollars,
but is operating at only 30-50 percent of capacity due to the power crisis.

Doug Verden, chief executive of the chamber of mines, said the electricity
shortages have had a "ripple effect on the industry."

He said some at least 16 mining companies had resorted to importing their
own electricity and urged the government to charge economically-viable
tariffs to be able to repay their debts on time.

The country's main telephone provider, TelOne, also reported the excessive
load-shedding was causing serious telecoms disruption.

"Some areas are going without electricity for 24 hours and some, eight hours
a day," Tel One said in statement.

"In the absence of electricity, our telephone exchanges use diesel
generators and of late there has not been a steady supply of diesel
resulting in some exchanges shutting down completely until electricity has
been restored."

David Mupamhadzi, chief economist of the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group, said
failure to remedy the power deficit meant any other government measures to
boost the economy would be futile.

"Unfortunately all government programmes aimed at reviving the economy will
not be successful because of electricity problems," said Mupamhadzi.


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War vets threaten opponents of ‘God-chosen’ leader’s re-election

Sunday Times, SA

Sunday Times Foreign Desk Published:Oct 28,
2007

Tension within Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party is heating up ahead of an
extraordinary congress in December where President Robert Mugabe is hoping
to be endorsed for another run at the presidency.

While a faction led by retired Army General Solomon Mujuru was said to be
working overtime to ensure Mugabe is not endorsed, the war veterans have
threatened to deal with anyone who stands in his way.

The veterans — considered to be Mugabe’s storm troopers — have been staging
so-called solidarity marches in major towns and cities, proclaiming Mugabe
to be “the God-chosen” leader of Zanu-PF and Zimbabwe.

Jabulani Sibanda, chairman of the Zimbabwe National War Veterans Association
, insisted last week that Mugabe’s candidature in next year’s poll was
non-negotiable.

Sibanda said anyone contemplating challenging Mugabe at congress would be
treated as a “renegade”.

“We have said we will rally behind our president . .. and that position will
remain the same until we win elections next year despite sabotage to our
economy which is aimed at pushing people to revolt against President Mugabe
and the ruling party,” said Sibanda.

The marches by the war veterans have drawn a sharp rebuke from the Mujuru
faction and others opposed to Mugabe standing for another term . He has been
in charge for 27 years.

The Mujuru faction claim that Sibanda, who was expelled from Zanu-PF about
two years ago for gross insubordination, has no right to lead the campaigns.

“As far as we are concerned Sibanda remains suspended. What he is doing is
without the blessing of the party,” said Effort Nkomo, the spokesman of
Zanu-PF in Bulawayo, which last week refused to join Mugabe’s solidarity
marches .

The war veterans are understood to have been promised lucrative incentives
to break any opposition to Mugabe before the extraordinary congress set for
December 12-15.

While Didymus Mutasa, the Zanu-PF secretary for administration, said the
congress’s main agenda was to confirm Mugabe as the party’s candidate for
next year’s presidential election, insiders are adamant the event could
prove to be his Waterloo.

They said the Mujuru faction intended nominating former Finance Minister
Simba Makoni to be Zanu-PF’s candidate.

Initially, Mujuru and his camp were pushing for his wife, Vice-President
Joyce Mujuru, to succeed Mugabe, but they are said to have settled for
Makoni, who was kicked out of government last year, as a compromise .


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Dignity and Freedom

cathybuckle.com

Sunday 28th October 2007

Dear Family and Friends,
The first real rain of the new season fell this week and it came with a
bang. In the distance the rolling rumble of thunder got louder as the storm
drew closer. The sky grew darker, the clouds dropped lower and then the
birds went quiet - a sure sign that it was about to start. The noise soon
built to tremendous levels and the flashes of lightning were instantly
followed by cracks of explosive, roaring thunder - the storm was directly
overhead. A strange orange, yellow cloud formed in the sky - a warning of
ice for sure. Two shirtless men who had been toiling for most of the day
down in the riverbed ran up to the road and raced for cover, using their
buckets as umbrellas. The pair have become a feature of the neighbourhood
this summer. They collect water from a pool they have dug in the almost dry
riverbed that runs through a nearby vlei. The water is murky and the buckets
are edged with mud but there is a continuous demand from urban
neighbourhoods where water is usually only available for a couple of hours a
day, and somedays not at all. The men fill buckets, decant them into twenty
litre containers, load them onto a hand cart and then sell them in the
neighbourhoods to those most desperate.

Moments after the water gatherers had taken cover the rain began, coming in
thin slanting sheets at first but then overtaken by a rush of hail stones.
The pea sized white balls skipped off the roof and lay on the ground giving
a temporary white landscape which soon melted. When the hail slowed the
torrents of rain moved in - big drops pelting down, bringing relief to the
land and giving hope that always comes with a new season. Two inches (50ml)
of rain fell in the first hour, accompanied by brilliant streaks of white
fork lightning coursing through the sky, so close as to make your hair stand
on end.

When it was over, seemingly from nowhere, came the summer regulars: Sausage
flies, Dragon flies, Chongololos, Flying ants and the big black biting ants
that give off a foul smell which we called Matabele Ants when we were kids.
From unknown places a myriad crickets, cicadas and frogs have emerged to
sing and screech and fill the air with the sound of Africa. The hard, baked
ground has come back to life instantly and there is a new, soft spring
underfoot. Almost overnight a flush of green has risen in the bush, on the
roadsides and across our gardens. The barren, burnt landscape, ravaged by a
devastating season of bush fires, can breathe again - you can almost feel
the relief. The wild flowers that stood so starkly in the sand and ash have
also taken on a new fullness and more mellow colour and are a picture: dwarf
red Combretums, Yellow Heads, blue Thunbergia, exquisite orange Pimpernels
and the Protea bushes are covered in creamy white flowers.

Zimbabwe came back to life again this week, you can see it and feel it and
smell it. And now in our newly washed land we look to our leaders and
politicians to finally put an end to this time of pain and suffering and
turmoil. We are not a greedy, selfish and demanding nation, we want only
food in the fields, products in the shops and space to walk, talk and act
with dignity and freedom. We want our families that are living such hard and
lonely lives in the diaspora to come home; we want to start rebuilding our
communities and neighbourhoods and to have joy in our lives again. It is not
too much to ask. Perhaps this new season can be the start, the change we all
so desperately want.
Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy.


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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary - 27th October 2007



A grey day - brightened by the unexpected appearance of Judith Todd,
straight from an overnight flight from Cape Town. She is here to promote her
book "Through the Darkness". We were thrilled that we were her first port
of call and that this brave campaigner for Zimbabwe was so encouraging. "I'm
so grateful for the work of the Vigil", she said. Judith has been an
inspiration to generations of Zimbabweans, consistently fighting for freedom
and democracy against successive oppressive regimes. Judith said she'd
taken the title of her book from a poem by Eddison Zvobgo written in prison.
A TIME TO RISE
It's six, my son, and time to rise;
The sun has shot through the darkness
And the long day spreads before you like a kaross;
Start now, dear son; the journey is long.
There will be thunder and hailstorms
Although the weather appears calm
for the moment; beware of shelters
Offered you; rather brave it and be a Man.
Should you fall, rise with grace, and without
Turning to see who sees, continue on your road
Precisely as if nothing had ever happened;
For those who did not, the ditches became graves.
If ever you fall in love with some woman,
Ask if she can walk at your pace to the end
Of the road. . .

The end of the road is what we have our sight on. We were also glad to be
joined again by Justin Shaw-Gray who updated us on the activities of our
partners, Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe. RoHR and the Vigil are
planning to meet to discuss how we can better work together in the future. A
treat for everyone was the delicious sadza and stew prepared by Gugu
Ndlovu-Tutani which she generously provided for Vigil supporters. Gugu says
it was husband Dumi's idea but Dumi said Gugu did all the work. Thank you
both for marking the end of our 6th October outside the Embassy and helping
fortify us for the coming winter.

We have been asked about the Vigil's plans for the EU / AU summit in
December. The EU, in its ignorant greed, seems likely to invite Mugabe (see
letter in today's Telegraph by Geoffrey van Orden, British Member of the
European Parliament -
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2007/10/27/nosplit/dt2701.xml).
The Vigil and the Zimbabwe Central London Forum are working on plans to
stage a protest in Lisbon during the summit. We have discussed this matter
with the human rights activist, Peter Tatchell, who dropped by the Vigil.
Peter, who once tried to serve a citizen's arrest on Mugabe, is interested
in coming with us.

We have now sent letters to all 27 EU members about our petition calling for
pressure on member countries of the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) because of their complicity in what is happening in Zimbabwe. We took
the opportunity to express our disquiet at the African blackmailing of the
European Union to invite Mugabe. We are now writing to SADC members to tell
them about the petition.

We were pleased to have with us, Patson Muzuwa, Chair of our partner
organization, the Zimbabwe Association, which helps Zimbabweam asylum
seekers. He has been working hard in support of Zimbabweans on hunger
strike in Yarlswood Detention Centre. They are threatened with deportation
to Malawi because they arrived in Britain on bogus papers bought from the
Malawi Embassy in Harare.

People sometimes ask why we record the numbers signing the register every
week. Well the simple reason is that so many groups exaggerate attendance.
In our case invariably more people attend than sign the register but on the
opposite extreme one website reported that 1500 people attended the Lovemore
Moyo Northampton meeting on 13th October
(http://changezimbabwe.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=798&Itemid=2).
We hear from those who attended there were only about 50 people as reported
in the Zimbabwean. These lies expose us to ridicule.

For this week's Vigil pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/

FOR THE RECORD: 140 signed the register. Supporters from Becontree,
Bedford, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Cambridge, Chingford, Compton Lancing,
Crawley, Harlow, Hatfield, High Wycombe, Huddersfield, Ilford, Leeds,
Leicester, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle,
Northampton, Oxford, Reading, Romford, Southampton, Southend, Tunbridge
Wells, Watford, Woking, Wolverhampton and many from London and environs.

FOR YOUR DIARY: Monday, 29nd October 2007, 7.30 pm. Central London Zimbabwe
Forum. We will be working on our plans to go to Portugal in December.
Venue: downstairs function room of the Bell and Compass, 9-11 Villiers
Street, London, WC2N 6NA, next to Charing Cross Station at the corner of
Villiers Street and John Adam Street.

Vigil co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk


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Halt on Zimbabwe's participation



Cricinfo staff

October 28, 2007

Zimbabwe won't be taking part in South Africa's domestic four-day
competition, Gerald Majola, chief executive of Cricket South Africa (CSA),
told the Times, a South African newspaper.

The decision came at a meeting of CSA's general council on Friday, which was
called after players expressed their reservations over travelling to
Zimbabwe. The Highveld Lions were to play a four-day match in Harare
starting on October 28.

Majola indicated that there would be further talks with Tony Irish, the
chief executive of the South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) and that
decisions regarding Zimbabwe's participation had been put on hold.

"Instead of them playing in the SuperSport Series, we are looking at the
possibility of Zimbabwe playing some four-day matches in South Africa
against composite teams," Majola said. Zimbabwe might still feature in the
domestic one-day competitions in South Africa.

Majola re-affirmed that CSA would oblige the request from the ICC to assist
Zimbabwe cricket.

"The decision has been taken. It is now a matter of sorting out logistics,"
he said. He also suggested that the objections from the SACA were
cricket-based, over the extra fixtures and possible impact of Zimbabwe
playing the competition, especially if the fixtures clashed with their
international obligations.

With the other competitions - the MTN 45-overs competition and the Standard
Bank Pro20 in March - starting only next year, there is still a chance that
Zimbabwe could play. Majola dismissed suggestions there were moral
objections to playing in Zimbabwe. "We leave politics to the politicians and
the ICC."

Cricinfo


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Former cricket ace to be re-examined to assess sanity

Zim Online

Monday 29 October 2007

By Thulani Munda

HARARE – Former Zimbabwe cricket player, Mark Vermeulen, who is facing
charges of arson after he burnt down a cricket academy will be re-examined
by a government doctor to determine his sanity, official sources say.

Sources at the Attorney General’s office told ZimOnline that senior Zimbabwe
Cricket officials were putting pressure on the AG’s office to have Vermeulen
re-examined after an earlier report this year said he was “mentally
unstable.”

“He is now being re-examined and by the end of November we should be having
new tests results. We do not know what has changed from the previous results
which found him to be unstable," said an official from the AG's office who
refused to be named.

“It was just a directive from above that he be re-examined although doctors
from the United Kingdom, Australia and our local doctors had said he was
mentally unstable."

Vermeulen has admitted carrying out the attacks at the cricket academy in
Harare last November but has pleaded not guilty on the grounds of diminished
responsibility.

If convicted, the cricket player faces a lengthy 25-year prison jail term.

Vermeulen, who has had several cases of indiscipline, last played Test
cricket for Zimbabwe in 2004 and was last year slapped with a lengthy ban in
England after he threw a ball at spectators. - ZimOnline

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