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Abductions, Beatings Of Zimbabwe Opposition Continue; State Accused


      By Jonga Kandemiiri
      09 April 2007

The Zimbabwean government's ongoing crackdown on the opposition did not
abate over the Easter holiday as security agents invaded the home of
opposition activist Philip Katsande early Saturday and shot him three times
in the arms and chest.

Katsande, provincial executive for Harare Province for the Movement for
Democratic Change faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai, was listed in critical
condition at the state-run Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare where he was
under police guard.

He was hit by bullets fired by security agents into a ceiling space where he
had hidden when they forced their way into his home, opposition sources

Another Tsvangirai faction activist, Solomon Madzore, secretary general of
the MDC faction's national youth assembly, was abducted at gunpoint in the
capital on Sunday morning. He was beaten and later located at the Stoddart
Police Station in the Mbare suburb of Harare where he is alleged to have
been beaten again before being transferred Monday afternoon to Harare
Central Police Station.

His lawyer, Tafadzwa Mugabe of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, went
to Harare Central but was not allowed to see his client.

To date the official crackdown has focused on opposition activists in urban
centers, but now is said to be targeting officials and members of the MDC in
rural areas.

Torture centers are said to have been established in the rural constituency
of Seke in Mashonaland East Province, where uniformed forces and Zanu PF
militia members are said to be routinely brutalizing civilians. Villagers
told a VOA reporter that they are living in fear, forcing some of them to
flee into towns and cities.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai MDC faction told reporter Jonga
Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his party believes the
government wants to instill fear in the opposition well before the 2008

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Zim shrugs off bishops' criticism

Mail and Guardian

Harare, Zimbabwe

09 April 2007 12:38

       Zimbabwe's government on Monday shrugged off an appeal by the
country's Roman Catholic bishops for democratic reform while an opposition
activist lay in critical condition in hospital after being shot, reportedly
by police.

      Reacting to a pastoral letter from the Zimbabwe Catholic
Bishops' Conference pasted on church doors on Easter Sunday, Information
Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said he "respected their opinion", South African
public radio reported.

      Zimbabwe is a democracy, he insisted, adding that the bishops,
who warned of a "mass uprising" in the absence of democratic reforms, are
"free to say what they like".

      Worshippers crowded around church notice boards after Mass on
Easter Sunday to read the pastoral letter entitled "God hears the cries of
the oppressed", which lamented state "arrests, detentions, banning orders,
beatings and torture" and "vote-rigging".

       "Oppression is sin," the bishops warned President Robert Mugabe,
himself a Catholic, adding: "In order to avoid bloodshed and a mass
uprising, the nation needs a new people-driven constitution" under which to
hold "free and fair elections".

      Meanwhile, an activist with the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) who was reportedly shot by police in Harare in an
ongoing crackdown on the party was in critical condition in hospital on
Monday, a party spokesperson said.

      "It's a very critical condition. He still has that bullet that
has not been taken out," party spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said in reference
to a bullet lodged in Philip Katsande's chest.

      Efforts were under way at party level to have him moved to a
private clinic from Harare's Parirenyatwa Hospital, where he was under
police guard.

      Police raided Katsande's home late on Thursday, shooting him
three times, once in the chest and twice in the hands, according to the MDC.

      An MDC activist was shot dead and several others, including
party leader Morgan Tsvangirai, were detained and beaten by police following
an aborted opposition prayer rally in mid-March.

      Police say they are hunting for suspects behind a string of
petrol-bomb attacks on police stations and other targets that have left
several injured since the March crackdown. They blame the MDC for the
attacks, but the party rejects the charges.

      The attack on Katsande comes days after the badly beaten body of
an abducted television cameraman, Edward Chikomba, was found on the
outskirts of Harare, in a killing some suspect was linked to his work.

      Chikomba allegedly leaked footage to foreign media of a badly
assaulted Tsvangirai after his release from police custody last month -- 
images that provoked a torrent of international condemnation of the Mugabe
regime. -- Sapa-dpa

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Mugabe launches a holy war

The First Post

President Robert Mugabe's state terror police, the Central Intelligence Organisation, celebrated Easter Sunday by storming into a church in the capital Harare, beating up the congregation and arresting two pastors.

One witness, who escaped with minor bruising to the shoulder, said the assault occurred at around 7pm at the Apostolic Mission Church's Easter Sunday evening service. During the traditional Prayer For The Nation, Pastor Alison Sibanda called on worshippers to pray for a morally upright leader, saying: "Good leaders are ordained by God. But the present one is not from God."

It is believed that among the congregation were members of the CIO, who then left the church to report on what they had heard.

Thirty minutes later, two truckloads of police charged into the church and used their batons to disperse

Storming an Easter service, the police charged two pastors with inciting violence

the congregation. Several people suffered injuries and required medical treatment. Money donated by worshippers during the service is said to have gone missing.

Sibanda and another pastor, Dumisani Nyoni, were arrested for inciting violence. It is not yet known whether they are still in custody.

Since the state claims that prayer meetings are now a platform for opposition parties to spread the message of protest, similar attacks can be expected in the future.

But the country's Christians will be heartened by the Easter message from Pope Benedict XVI, who said: "Zimbabwe is in the grip of a grievous crisis, and for this reason the bishops of that country in a recent document indicated that prayer and a shared commitment for the common good is the only way forward."


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Shot MDC activist under police guard



          April 09 2007 at 12:11PM

      Harare - A Zimbabwean opposition activist who was shot and injured by
police during a raid on his home last week was in a critical condition on
Monday at a state-run hospital, a party spokesperson said.

      Lawyers for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are trying to
have the activist, Philip Katsande, referred to a private clinic, party
spokesperson Nelson Chamisa told Deutsche Presse Agentur dpa in an

      "It's a very critical condition. He still has that bullet that has not
been taken out," Chamisa said in reference to a bullet lodged in Katsande's

      Police raided the home of Katsande late on Thursday, shooting him
three times, once in the chest and twice in the hands, according to the
party. He is currently under police guard at Harare's Parirenyatwa Hospital.

      Police say they are hunting for suspects behind a string of petrol
bomb attacks on police stations and other targets over the past month that
have left several injured.

      They blame the MDC for the attacks, but the party denies the charges.

      "It has become the character and nature of this government and police
to just target opposition activists and those who hold contrary views and
opinions to them," Chamisa said. - Sapa-DPA

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The woman in me - Grace Kwinje

Zim Online

Tuesday 10 April 2007

By Grace Kwinje

"I will go before the King, even though it is against the law. And if I
perish. I perish" . Esther 4:16

HARARE - 'What sort of woman are you Grace Kwinjeh?' 'Who do you think you
are?' 'What are you trying to prove?'

Questions asked by more than five baton stick wielding riot police officers
as they beat me up on that fateful day at Machipisa Police Station in Harare
on the 11th of March.

This was round one out of many.

Yet it was about the woman in me. It was about me as a woman and what I
stand for or represent.

Each blow epitomised what they feared and hated in my defiance against them.
This translated into the most brutal assault or dare I say attempted murder
on me, on my person, my being; that woman in me.

I did not respond I stood still and took each blow as it came. I did not
cry. I did not beg for mercy. None of the comrades present on that day cried
or begged for mercy, none denounced the party or tried to negotiate
themselves out of this horror of horrors that will never be erased from our

Neither will the physical or emotional scars ever heal. No amount of therapy
can heal what we went through on that day.

Sekai Holland a 64 year old grandmother was called a 'whore', 'Blair's whore'
to be precise. 'No I cannot be Blair's whore he is my son' she said. How
dare she respond thus?

Associate herself with the defiled Tony Blair? And so Sekai was danced on,
interestingly by another woman. 'Iri hure raBlair rinoda varungu,'
translates to 'this Blair whore loves white men'.

Sekai married for 40 years to an Australian was severely assaulted several
times.  She broke a leg an arm and three ribs. Why because as a journalist
she made the double 'choices' of marrying a white man and belonging to the
opposition; for that she had to suffer.

She had to be punished for going against the 'norm', the 'expected' by ZANU

That woman in her was under attack verbally and physically. Her age? Not an

The two young women we were with were not spared. The young 'whores'
according to the officers had to be taught a lesson.

Together with Sekai and myself we were beaten on the buttocks. 'Rovai
mazigaro' 'beat up the big bums' they shouted.

My black beret fell off and I got a beating for my blond hair. 'Hure
rekuHoliday Inn rovai." "A Holiday Inn prostitute beat her up'. 'Look at the
color of her hair.'

The 'sins' were many. I colored my hair blond in protest after Registrar
General Tobaiwa Mudede denied me a travel document on the basis that it was
a 'state security document' and not a 'right.'

I was slowly being rendered stateless in my own country.

And so as is the case too in opposition politics the attack on us women was
more on our sexuality, we were assaulted, humiliated, demeaned in whatever
way they could think of.

Comically again, amongst us victims were some of the worst male
philanderers, but the issue with them remained political, exposing the
misogynistic character of our society.

We were treated this way because we are women and nothing else.

As I reflect on, I do not regret the woman I am and the hard choices I have
to make.

It is for these that in my life I have often been persecuted, socially,
sexually or mentally and this time I have paid an insufferably heavy price
that has left deep scars on my body and soul.

I challenge oppressive systems in all their forms not just to do away with
Robert Mugabe's injustice, but also primitive actions by those in our midst
that still place us women in the odd position, of being underdogs even in
the struggle for a democratic and just society.

It is a double battle for both our political freedom and emancipation, none
of which can be achieved without the other, otherwise it's a half-baked
revolution, similar to the one we got at independence.

Zimbabwean women in politics have stories to tell. Opposition politics? More

Over the past months I have seen myself in and out of jail on various
dubious charges mostly to do with organising and leading illegal

Once I was placed in solitary confinement at Rhodesville Police station for
48 hours. The aim here I suppose was just to traumatise me. As I sat there
in that cell on my own I was afraid.

Afraid of many things to do with being tortured, raped or even being killed.
By the grace of God I came out not touched.

A female freedom fighter can be killed at any time. In the wee hours of
March 12 the military police came for me at Braeside Police Station, where I
had been dumped half dead already, the night before.

A search for me by family and friends was in full scale at this time.

I was in a cell with two other women. One of them was actually nursing and
praying for me as I was in great pain and bleeding. We heard the sound of
cars outside. Foot steps then the jail door opened.

The officer in charge, Makore pointed at me and said 'uyu Kwinjeh' to four
military intelligence officials. I held on to the two women I knew I was in

Once again in the fence of Braeside police station, I was tortured by the
officers. They said they had been given orders to kill and not negotiate
with civilians. This was not a joke because by this time comrade Gift
Tandare's body lay cold somewhere.

May his soul rest in peace. I did not know this. The rest I leave to God and
his mercy for me on that night.

They asked me all sorts of questions as they beat me with short 30
centimetre really painful baton sticks.  I fainted several times but each
time they got me up and tortured me.

Until in the end I could not stand that is when they asked me to remain
seated and stretch out my legs and they beat the soles of my feet. How I got
back in the cell I do not know. All I know is my life was spared.

They stayed on vigil outside the fence waiting for further 'instructions'.
Thank God some officials from the Lawyers for Human Rights found me before
the 'instructions' came the next day.

And then it was drama after drama. Released to hospital under riot police
guard; then no charges; re arrested while trying to leave the country then
back to hospital under riot police guard.

Eventually with Sekai Holland we made it for medical treatment here in South

I thank the sisters and brothers for the solidarity that came in the form of
prayers, demonstrations, night dresses, cake, books, fruit and water.

Above all for taking the risk of being associated with this kind of woman,
by visiting us at the Avenues Clinic in full view of the police and CIO

I will end with a quote from Paolo Coelho's 'The Zahir', "I don't regret the
painful times; I bear my scars as if they were medals. I know that freedom
has a high price, as high as that of slavery; the difference is that you pay
with pleasure and a smile, even when that smile is dimmed by tears.'

And so the woman in me will fight on. Aluta Continua.

* Grace Kwinje is the deputy secretary for international relations in the
Morgan Tsvangirai-led Movement for Democratic Change party

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Zim demands new vehicle import duty

Mail and Guardian

Harare, Zimbabwe

      09 April 2007 11:15

            Cash-strapped Zimbabwe is now forcing all motor-vehicle
importers to pay their excise duty in foreign currency, the state-run Herald
reported on Monday.

            Finance Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi has ordered that the new
rule, which will cover all luxury goods, takes effect immediately after
declaring the change in a government gazette, according to the newspaper.

            "Payments of customs duty and value-added tax on the importation
of any item of goods designated as luxury items shall be payable in United
States dollars, euros, or any other currency denominated under the exchange
control," Mumbengegwi was quoted as saying.

            The general rate of duty for cars ranges between 60% and 80%
depending on the type of vehicle.

            Previously importers paid for duty in local currency, making it
relatively cheap to import.

            According to central bank figures, Zimbabweans have been
spending an estimated $400 000 importing an average of 80 used vehicles a
day from Britain, Dubai, Japan, Singapore and the United States.

            Since August last year, authorities have pegged the local unit
at Z$250 to the US dollar, yet in reality it costs about Z$14 000.

            The used-car industry had become one of the growing business
sector in the country.

            In addition to duty calculated against the cost of the car,
freight and insurance, importers will also have to pay surtax and
value-added tax.

            Analysts say the latest government directive will make the cost
of importing vehicles more expensive.

            "The government directive will result in all imported vehicles
being very expensive," one vehicle importer said. "Many people, especially
those who had already paid for their vehicles, will be badly affected by
this policy shift."

            The Southern African country is in the seventh year of economic
recession characterised by high inflation, massive unemployment and chronic
shortages of foreign currency and basic goods such as fuel and the staple
cornmeal. -- Sapa-AFP

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Does God Hear the Zimbabweans' Cries?


      Masimba Biriwasha

     Published 2007-04-10 00:52 (KST)

Zimbabweans are turning en masse to God in search of solace and divine
answers in the face of a political and economic fallout that has no apparent
resolution in sight.

Christianity, which played a key role in Zimbabwe's liberation struggle that
ushered independence from British colonial rule in 1980, is increasingly
providing a platform for popular revolt in the beleaguered country. Many
churches are, once again, beginning to embrace the liberation theology that
inspired people to take up arms against the colonial regime.

The country, which is tottering under a record hyperinflation of more than
1,700 percent, also has an unemployment rate of over 80 percent. 4 out 5
people are unemployed and basic goods are in short supply. Over 2 million
people are in need of food aid.

"There's a warfare going on, and we have to turn to God for protection,"
said Michelle Dumare, who regularly attends New Covenant Life Ministries, a
high profile Pentecostal church in Harare, Zimbabwe's capital city. "I am
currently living by the grace of God of course. With the prices of basic
commodities sky rocketing all the time, one has to believe in God for
provision each and every day."

President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front
(ZANU-PF)-led government is not letting up, and is applying heavy-handed
tactics to anyone who dares to express dissent.

But like many Zimbabweans, Michelle ardently goes to church every Sunday to
pray for the salvation of the country. She also attends morning, afternoon
and evening prayer meetings where the main subject of prayer is the
disintegration of the nation-state.

As pressure mounts on Mugabe to quit or reform, many Christians are
certainly hoping that their prayers are reaching God.

"Our nation Zimbabwe has been in the press lately with reports of violence
and trouble. There has been some tension and frustration lately, but God is
still God," reads a statement on prominent Zimbabwean Pastor Tudor Bismark's
Web site, Tudor Bismark Ministries. "We really need your prayers, our nation
is in travail -- people are struggling and reaching desperation point.
Prices of commodities and services are changing as much as four times a

"It's a time for the Christians to intercede for the nation. There's need
for more prayer. Zimbabweans need to humble themselves before God and
repent, and ask for forgiveness on behalf of the whole nation. A miracle
will happen in the country, if only we pray," said Godsway Shumba, a
Zimbabwean Pentecostal Christian.

And Maybe God is listening indeed?

Over the weekend, the Roman Catholic Church, which supported the country's
liberation war, flashed red lights at Mugabe's regime. The Church has the
majority of Christians in the country -- Mugabe himself proclaims to be

In a Sunday Easter message, Pope Benedict XVI, head of the Roman Catholic
Church, bemoaned the state of affairs in the country.

"Zimbabwe is in the grip of a grievous crisis, and for this reason the
bishops of that country in a recent document indicated prayer and a shared
commitment for the common good as the only way forward," he said.

Roman Catholic bishops in Zimbabwe warned President Robert Mugabe's
government of the potential of a popular revolt in the face of ongoing
economic meltdown and political repression.

In a letter distributed to all parishes throughout the country, the bishops
warned of a mass uprising unless there's imminent change in the governing of
the country.

According to media reports, the letter titled "God Hears the Cries of the
Oppressed," was the most critical pastoral message towards Mugabe's
leadership style since Zimbabwe won independence in 1980. The letter was
posted on church noticeboards and read from the pulpit throughout the
country, including rural areas -- tradionally Mugabe's stronghold.

"As the suffering population becomes more insistent, generating more and
more pressure through boycotts, strikes, demonstrations and uprisings, the
state responds with ever harsher oppression through arrests, detentions,
banning orders, beatings and torture," read part of the pastoral message
from the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference.

The letter said young Zimbabweans "see their leaders habitually engaging in
acts and words which are hateful, disrespectful, racist, corrupt, lawless,
unjust, greedy, dishonest and violent in order to cling to the privileges of
power and wealth."

"It is the same conflict between those who possess power and wealth in
abundance, and those who do not; between those who are determined to
maintain their privileges of power and wealth at any cost, even at the cost
of bloodshed, and those who demand their democratic rights and a share in
the fruits of independence; between those who continue to benefit from the
present system of inequality and injustice, because it favors them and
enables them to maintain an exceptionally high standard of living, and those
who go to bed hungry at night and wake up in the morning to another day
without work and without income; between those who only know the language of
violence and intimidation, and those who feel they have nothing more to lose
because their constitutional rights have been abrogated and their votes
rigged," said the letter.

The bishops backed calls for a new constitution "that will guide a
democratic leadership chosen in free and fair elections."

Recently, the head of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC)General
Secretary Setri Nyomi expressed "grave concern" over the economic, political
and humanitarian crisis unraveling in Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, Mugabe's government brushed aside the criticism. Information
Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said on South Africa public radio that he
"respected the opinion" of the bishops because Zimbabwe was a democracy and
they were "free to say what they like."

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Let's sanction supporters of the most brutal regimes

Niagara Falls Review

Editorial & Opinion - Monday, April 09, 2007 Updated @ 7:09:43 AM

The government of Iran is outraged that a Hollywood movie about the battle
of Thermopylae portrays ancient Persians as brutal, bungling barbarians.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has denounced the film, "300," as a calculated
insult and a deliberate attempt to injure Iran by the United States
government. It is doubtful the film industry is that sophisticated in its
knowledge of either history or Iran, but Ahmadinejad proceeded to reinforce
the slander he saw in the movie by behaving in a brutal, bungling and
barbaric way in the seizure of 15 British sailors and then parading them on

Iran appears to revel in its status as an outcast regime.
So, too, does Zimbabwe. The government of Zimbabwe is outraged that other
governments and human rights organizations portray President Robert Mugabe
and his ZANU-PF government as brutal, bungling barbarians.

Mugabe condemns his critics as imperialists and colonialists opposed to
Africans ruling themselves, but he governs in such a brutal, bungling,
barbaric way that Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket and economic engine of
southern Africa, now sees thousands of people die every week from starvation
and disease and is economically bankrupt. Its democracy, once a potential
beacon for black Africa, is now crippled both metaphorically, by legal
restrictions against opposition parties, and literally, by physical attacks
on opposition politicians that put them in hospital or in jail. Earlier this
month, Zimbabwe's people lost their last hope that their government could
reform itself when the ruling party endorsed Mugabe's bid for yet another
term as president.

The international community has imposed sanctions on both nations, the
United Nations Security Council on Iran and the Commonwealth and the
European Union on Zimbabwe, but to no effect.

Ahmadinejad and the mullahs who govern Iran, Mugabe and his cronies in
ZANU-PF, feel no effect themselves from economic sanctions; they are rich
and comfortable and so closseted by blockade busters in the international
community and the business world that they and their governments continue to
prosper while their countries suffer.

Since direct sanctions against Iran and Zimbabwe are ineffective, it is time
to take a more serious step that would see sanctions extended to governments
and businesses that continue to prop up these odious regimes. Aiding and
abetting brutal, bungling barbarism is a crime that should not go

Secondary sanctions can effect that. They can cast a wider net and
accomplish what direct action has not yet achieved.

From the Winnipeg Free Press

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Mbeki mediation hostage to Mugabe's will

From The Sunday Independent (SA), 8 April

Beating and imprisonment of Zimbabwe president's opponents intensifies as
South African team begins talks with MDC factions

Basildon Peta

President Thabo Mbeki started his mediation effort in Zimbabwe this week by
asking President Robert Mugabe's opponents to outline their proposals for
convening free and fair elections next year. Mbeki has dispatched lengthy
letters to Mugabe and the leaders of Zimbabwe's main opposition party
outlining his mediation intentions. A high-powered delegation of Mbeki's
confidants - Aziz Pahad, the deputy foreign affairs minister; Sydney
Mufamadi, the provincial and local government minister; and Mojanku Gumbi,
the presidential legal adviser - on Wednesday met Welshman Ncube and Tendai
Biti, the secretaries-general of Zimbabwe's divided opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC). Ncube and Biti were asked to prepare submissions on
what they considered the best conditions for holding free and fair elections
in Zimbabwe. It is understood that Mbeki will take their proposals to
Mugabe's ruling party for its input before he takes the mediation effort to
its next stage. Biti and Ncube were upbeat after their meetings with Mbeki's
team, but they refused to provide copies of the letters from Mbeki to the
presidents of their respective MDC factions. They said the tone of the
meetings with Mbeki's officials proved that his mediation effort was "very
serious". "It certainly won't be business as usual for Robert Mugabe. We met
a group of African comrades who are genuine in their effort to see a genuine
African solution to a desperate situation," said Biti. "I think they are
genuine and share our opinion that this is the last chance to peacefully
resolve the Zimbabwe crisis." Ncube was equally enthusiastic: "My opinion of
the meetings is that there is a serious urgency and determination to seek a
genuine resolution of this problem."

Analysts say the success of Mbeki's mediation depends on Mugabe's
co-operation. But Mugabe has a record of rebuffing the South African
president. Ncube said that, through his representatives, Mbeki had asked the
two factions of the MDC to say what they considered to be at the heart of
the Zimbabwe crisis and to identify the minimum conditions for free and fair
elections. The MDC statements will be presented to Mugabe and his responses
will determine Mbeki's next move. It is not clear what that next stage in
the mediation effort will entail, but it could be face-to-face talks between
Zanu PF and the MDC factions to iron out differences on election mechanisms
and to agree on a timetable for an agreement's implementation. There is
almost universal consensus that the best solution to the Zimbabwe crisis is
the convening of free and fair elections - which Mugabe would be unlikely to
win in view of the meltdown in his country. The official inflation rate is 1
700 percent, there is record unemployment and people are starving. Mugabe
has faced accusations of stealing elections, which are allegedly run by his
hand-picked cronies, most of them from the army. Biti said a resolution of
the Zimbabwe crisis would have "to be premised on the writing of a new,
democratic, people-driven constitution, the dismantling of Mugabe's fascist
control of the state and all its institutions of violence, and the repeal of
repressive media and security laws". Ncube said that at the core of the
Zimbabwe crisis was an illegitimate constitution and flawed elections. These
were the first things that would have to be resolved, he said.

The MDC factions will make their submissions to the South Africans soon
after the Easter holidays. Mbeki is beginning his mediation bid as Mugabe's
government continues its attacks on the opposition. Hundreds of low-level
opposition party officials have been taken from their homes in the past few
weeks and beaten. Morgan Tsvangirai, the main opposition leader, said this
was a well-orchestrated attempt to frighten opposition supporters and deter
them from participating in opposition activities ahead of the elections next
year. The United States ambassador to Zimbabwe, Chris Dell, has described
the attacks on the opposition as calculated and co-ordinated. Nine close
aides of Tsvangirai were badly beaten and taken by the police from the
hospital where they were being treated. They are said to be in "a grave
condition" in police custody. But perhaps the most tragic incident this week
was the abduction and murder of Edward Chikomba, a veteran television
cameraman. Chikomba was snatched from his home in Harare's Glen View. His
badly beaten body was discovered dumped near a dam on the outskirts of the
city. It seems his crime was that he worked secretly for international TV
networks that have been banned from operating in Zimbabwe. His murder has
drawn worldwide condemnation and a scathing attack on the Mugabe government
by the International Federation of Journalists, in Brussels. The two
factions of the MDC are under enormous pressure to present a strong, united
front against Mugabe at the negotiations and in the elections next year.
Mugabe has been forced, mainly by opposition in his own party, to abandon
his plans to extend his term by two years and hold elections in 2010.

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Zimbabwe And Mugabe

Daily Champion (Lagos)

April 9, 2007
Posted to the web April 9, 2007

The growing isolation which Zimbabwe's 83-year-old leader, Robert Gabriel
Mugabe, is currently facing from both within and outside the country should
be a clear indication that it is time for him to quit power.

Although his ZANU-PF party has recently endorsed him for next year's
presidential election amid widespread protests, commonsense and wisdom
demand that Mr. Mugabe must resist the attempt to continue in power when his
current tenure expires February 2008.

Since 1980 till date, nearly three decades he has been in power, making him
one of Africa's sit-tight leaders.

He started well as the beacon of hope for the new Zimbabwe in the early
1980s, having fought gallantly alongside other great nationalists like
Joshua Nkomo to secure the nation's independence. Even his detractors (the
West and the rest) could readily admit that Mugabe made giant strides in
education and nation-building. He was a liberation hero as well as leader of
the frontline states that facilitated the demise of apartheid regime in
South Africa.

However, over the years Mr. Mugabe has fallen from grace to grass. Despite
wholesome condemnation of his administration in form of negative publicity
and propaganda by the West, Mugabe's long rule has continued to bring
Zimbabwe lower by the day, which means the ovation had since ceased for the
man who is supposed to be one of Africa's greatest statesmen.

That is why we insist that despite nomination by his party to go for another
term of six years, Mr. Mugabe should rather now busy himself with the task
of grooming a successor. This is the only way he can amend his chequered
political career as well as secure the future of his country.

In Africa, we know that the vexed issue of sit-tightism by rapacious leaders
and dictators has often led to guerilla warfare which at times lasted many
years, destroying the affected countries' infrastructure and forcing such
sit-tight leaders out of power in disgrace. Mr. Mugabe should not allow this
to happen to his tottering regime and country.

Now with unemployment rate at 80 per cent, galloping inflation of about
1,700 per cent, the worst in the world as well as crippling sanctions by the
European Union (EU) since 2002, Mugabe's Zimbabwe is on the brink of
collapse. The EU had slammed sanctions, including travel bans and arms
embargo on Harare after controversial elections won by the long-serving
ruler which the opposition alleged were massively rigged.

Even at that, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has recently pressed for
tougher EU measures against Zimbabwe, describing the situation in that
country as "appalling, disgraceful and utterly tragic."

In spite of local protests and virulent criticisms by the West, Mr. Mugabe
has surprisingly remained belligerent. According to him, "nothing frightens
me. I make a stand and stand on principle here where I was born, here where
I grew up, here where I fought and here where I shall die."

President Mugabe ought not resort to repressive measures against the
opposition to perpetuate himself in power. His detractors have always
referred to the massacre of about 25,000 civilians in 1983 and 1984 by
Mugabe's North Korean trained soldiers in Matabeleland, South -West of the
country. Instead, he should age gracefully by allowing a power-sharing
formula between the opposition and his ruling ZANU-PF. We believe that
Mugabe should be building an enduring legacy, particularly by seriously
thinking of quiting power by February 2008.

He should ensure that the country which he had laboured and staked his life
for, lives on and better too after him.

Granted that the West wants to facilitate his exit from power, the ageing
leader can still redeem himself by ensuring national peace and stability
which could be promoted if he dumps the idea of running for election next

From what has been happening especially in recent time, it is glaring that
he has run out of ideas, and the protests further confirm the conviction of
the West that Mugabe has run Zimbabwe aground.

For how long can he continue to apply brute force to quell protests against
his regime?

In 2000, Zimbabweans passed a vote of no confidence on Mugabe in a
referendum conducted to extend his presidential term. That even showed that
he had outlived his welcome.

Mr. Mugabe should learn from the ugly experiences in some African countries
like Togo and Cote d'Voire where former sit-tight leaders - the late
Presidents Gnassingbe Eyadema and Houphet Boigny respectively - failed to
plan for their succession leading to constitutional crisis when they died in

Mugabe should not allow this to occur in his country. He should start
tidying up for his eventual exit next year. Standing for the next
presidential poll will never be in his best interest nor that of Zimbabwe.

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Zimbabwe's News24 to launch by 18 April

Southgate Amateur Radio Club, UK

Zimbabwe's Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu has said that the country's
new international shortwave radio station, News24, will start broadcasting
before independence celebrations on 18 April.

The new radio station will be based in Gweru, and should be available to
audiences both in and outside Zimbabwe.

"There will be a revolutionary development in the media. We should be able
to tell our own story," Ndlovu is quoted as saying.

The Herald says the government is spending US$35 million on the project.

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Prayers for Zimbabwe at embassy vigil

9th Apr 2007 18:22 GMT

By a Correspondent

LONDON - The Christian community in the United Kingdom will on the 21st of
April join hands with activists within the Zimbabwe Vigil, the opposition
MDC and human rights activists here to hold a prayer vigil for Zimbabwe.

A statement from the Christian community said the prayer vigil would be held
outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London.

This follows the massive crackdown by the Zimbabwe government on opposition
activists after police thwarted efforts by the Save Zimbabwe Campaign to
lead Zimbabweans in prayer on the 11th of March.

Opposition leaders were arrested, beaten up and one activist, Gift Tandare,
was shot dead in Highfield as the police tried to stop Morgan Tsvangirai,
the MDC founding president and other pro-democracy leaders from attending
the prayer meeting.

There have also been reports on a daily basis of the abduction of opposition
activists with one said to be fighting for his life after being shot at by
the police this Easter holiday.

"There has been political unrest that is causing untold suffering in
Zimbabwe," said the statement. "The situation is deteriorating everyday with
more and more disturbing reports on the harassment, torture and abuse of the
ordinary Zimbabwean. The people are being held hostage in their own

"But then each time a man or a woman stands up for justice, the heavens sing
and the world rejoices. We are urging the people here to stand up and be

The organisers say they expect various church groups from the Zimbabwean
community here will attend the vigil and pray for Zimbabwe.

"We are convinced that if we all humble ourselves and pray and seek God's
grace, He will hear us and heal our land."

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Minority Leader Wants Govt to Take a Hard Stance On Mugabe

Public Agenda (Accra)

April 4, 2007
Posted to the web April 9, 2007

Ebenezer Hanson

The Minority Leader, Hon. Alban Bagbin is not amused with the manner
President John Agyekum Kufuor has so far handled the Zimbabwean political

According to him, he "expected President Kufuor to chastise President
Mugabe" rather than resorting to "diplomatic language" and describing the
ignominious acts of Mugabe against his opponents as merely an

To him the lenient stance of the Kufuor administration on the Zimbabwean
Government amounts to backtracking on Ghana's foreign policy of promoting
justice and growth of democracy on the African continent.

Bagbin was commenting on a statement presented to Parliament by the Minister
of Foreign Affairs and NEPAD, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on the African
Union (AU) and related matters on Ghana's foreign policy and President
Kufuor' AU chairmanship.

Hon. Bagbin expressed his gratefulness to other African leaders for
conferring the AU Chairmanship on Ghana saying that the position has not
been conferred only President Kufuor but to the nation as well.

On the forthcoming AU Summit, which is expected to test Ghanaian's diplomacy
to the limits, Hon Bagbin said the nation must do all it can to stabilize
the energy and water problem before this important international assignment.

He advised that appointees in charge must put their acts together and not be
caught pants down like we did when "we were planting grass during the dry
season before the highlights of the Golden Jubilee celebrations when people
did not have water to drink".

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and his main opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai have been at each other's throats, leading to the rest and
battering of the opposition by the police

Mr. Mugabe sees the activities of Tsvangirai and his MDC as conspiracy by
his opponents and Britain to remove him from power.

In response to the condemnation by certain leaders Mugabe says he would not
desist from the process of giving the people their land back; the essential
message is to defend the land reforms and farm seizures that have occurred
in the past two years.

But Mr. Tsvangirai claims his party wants an integrated society - black,
white, yellow, whoever. "This is the principle that the people themselves
have defined. That our problems do not arise out of the mischief of whites
or any small group; our problems arise out of misgovernance, corruption and
lack of investment and creation of jobs. So that is the basis upon which
people are defining their issues. Whether Mugabe defines it in his own
paranoid obsession about whites, that' s his problem it's not our problem."

Mr. Tsvangirai says the MDC has been at the receiving end of the terrorist
actions of Mugabe's administration, not that they have initiated anything to
warrant those kinds of labels. " MDC is one that has maintained peace in
this country. "We have maintained peace in this country otherwise it would
have blown out of control."

For past 12 months Mugabe has accused the MDC of waging a terror campaign,
backed by British intelligence, to destabilize Zimbabwe. No one has taken
the claims seriously. Internationally, the focus has been on the violence
and terror being created by pro government Zimbabweans are grappling with
the world's highest inflation - 1,700% a year - while unemployment and
poverty are widespread.

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Refugees swap white collars for blue in SA

From The Sunday Times (SA), 8 April

Professionals flee Mugabe's tyranny for an uncertain, illegal life across
the border

Julian Rademeyer

Three years after being forced into exile, Zimbabwean Judge Michael Majuru
has all but given up hope of being granted asylum in South Africa. "It is an
almost impossible process to get an asylum-seeker's permit. It is a process
riddled with corruption and you need to pay bribes to get your way into the
system," he said this week. "There is no acceptance from South African
authorities that there is a problem in Zimbabwe and that some Zimbabweans
may genuinely be seeking asylum in South Africa." Accused of "colluding with
British imperialists" while hearing an appeal by Zimbabwe's Daily News
against its closure under the country's draconian media laws, Majuru fled
the country in 2003. "A Central Intelligence Organisation agent told me a
senior police officer had been assigned to look into ensuring my arrest.
More than anything else, that scared me and so I had to run away." For the
moment he remains in South Africa on a student visa while pursuing a master's
degree in human rights law. His wife has to return to Zimbabwe every 30 days
to renew the business visa she was granted. Majuru hopes that one day he
will be able to return home. "The expectation of every Zimbabwean is that
the situation will normalise and then they will go back."

Thousands of Zimbabwean teachers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, engineers and
scientists have joined the Zimbabwean diaspora over the past decade. Victims
of economic deprivation and worsening violence, they have been forced to
flee their homes and abandon friends and family to pursue an uncertain
future in South Africa, Europe, Canada and Australia. Last month, Zimbabwe's
parliamentary portfolio committee on Foreign Affairs, Industry and
International Trade heard that the "brain drain" was costing the country
billions each year. Emotionally and sometimes physically scarred by their
experiences, many of the Zimbabweans fleeing to South Africa fall victim to
xenophobic hatred and exploitation. In cities like Johannesburg, engineers
find work as security guards and teachers become construction workers. Like
many of his friends and colleagues, Absalom, a teacher, fears reprisals from
the Zimbabwean security forces and does not want his full name published.
"You are always afraid, wherever you are. We will do any work that comes our
way because you have to survive. You have to eat and you have to bath ...
You can't live in a country where you know you can be killed at any time for
nothing. That is why we have come here ... But our skills are being
exploited for the benefit of South Africa," he says.

Another teacher, who taught maths and computer science at a private school
in Zimbabwe, agrees. "We do part-time jobs in construction, some of the guys
go to work for security companies at football matches . But the construction
companies cheat us. Just before pay day they will call the police to round
up all their workers and get them deported. That way they get free labour."
The maths teacher has found work at a fly-by-night inner-city college and
earns a paltry R1500 a month. "There are a lot of experienced Zimbabwean
workers here who could benefit South Africa. As skilled people we would like
to offer our services." Teachers have been specifically targeted in terror
campaigns conducted by President Robert Mugabe's thuggish security services
and youth paramilitaries, the "green bombers". "Educated people are seen as
being against Zanu PF and because of that the victimisation is quite
difficult," said another teacher.

It is Thursday night at the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg's inner
city. From the street, the shadows of the refugees can be seen silhouetted
against the grimy windows and dull yellow lights of the church. Inside,
hundreds of people, - mostly Zimbabwean - crowd around the sanctuary in
stairwells, passageways and halls. For now, this is their home. Surrounded
by meagre possessions, they prepare to bed down for another uncomfortable
night on cold, hard floors. Many have survived horrific journeys from towns
and villages in Zimbabwe, across the Limpopo River and into South Africa. On
the eve of Easter, the sermon is about betrayal and forgiveness. As lights
outside the church are switched off, about 700 refugees emerge from the
darkness and jostle into the pews. Bishop Paul Verryn asks them to "pray for
the powerless ... and all who strive for justice". "Let us pray tonight for
the rulers of the countries from which we came," he exhorts.

In a corner on the fourth floor of the building, two teenagers, one
Mozambican, the other Zimbabwean, huddle together for warmth. Nelio Chauke,
15, left his home in the Zimbabwe Midlands in December last year. The
refugees who have taken him into their care say his father was killed during
an upsurge of political violence in their home town. His mother fled and has
not been heard from since. Somehow Chauke managed to slip across the Beit
Bridge border post. According to Absalom "the boy made his way to Musina and
boarded a train on his own. He found himself at Park Station and for close
to a week he slept on the street. Then he heard people speaking languages he
recognised from home and they told him to come here to the church."
According to the International Organisation for Migration, 793 children aged
between 11 and 17 were returned to Zimbabwe between January and March this
year. A further 51 801 adult migrants were deported from South Africa, with
the dominant group being 18 to 24.

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ZRA, Zesa Holdings Carry Out Inspection On Kariba Dam

The Herald (Harare)

April 9, 2007
Posted to the web April 9, 2007

Walter Nyamukondiwa

THE Zambezi River Authority and Zesa Holdings yesterday conducted major
checks on the Kariba Dam wall and key electricity generation infrastructure
to assess structural maintenance needs.

This resulted in the shutdown of both Kariba North and South power stations
feeding Zimbabwe and Zambia for up to six hours to allow consultants to
assess the level of corrosion on the apron -- subsequently switching off
most areas in the supply grid of electricity in the two neighbouring

An apron is a concrete structure at the foot of a dam wall to protect it
from the impact of falling water when floodgates are opened at first before
it starts falling into the 81-metre-deep plunge pool.

This has been eroded over the years especially when the floodgates are

The gates were last opened in 2001 and there are no immediate prospects of
them being opened owing to the low levels of water in Lake Kariba which is
at 30 percent capacity.

The last inspection was conducted in 1992 and the outcome of yesterday's
inspection is expected to be almost the same as then when maintenance needs
are minimal.

ZRA chief executive officer Dr Michael Tumbare said preliminary indications
were that the main structure was intact while it should be established if
there was need to resurface its coating.

"So far we have looked at the apron and it seems the main structure is
intact although we now need to wait for the consultants to find out whether
there is a need to resurface it or not," he said.

This means that no major maintenance work would be needed in the next five
years that could warrant the shutting down of the two power stations for
long periods.

"If there was need for major work on the apron it would have meant a
shutdown of up to a week but the core of the structure is still intact," he

Dr Tumbare said the dam wall was intact and still had at least 90 more years
of its projected 147-year lifespan.

ZRA board member from the Zambian side Mrs Emily Striedel said the process
went on smoothly on the North station.

The gradual shutdown of the four generators on either side of the Kariba Dam
wall began at 8am resulting in water levels dissipating along the Zambezi.

However, one generator each from the North and South power stations was left
running at 25 megawatts to allow for a smooth switch-on of the other
generators after the inspection.

This shutdown left some fish exposed owing to the lowering of the water
levels playing into the hands of expectant people who were waiting to catch
trapped fish.

People on either banks of the Zambezi River were able to catch some fish
although officers from the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority of
Zimbabwe were there to monitor the situation.

Security officers were deployed to monitor activity along the Zambezi as
people tried to take advantage of the subsiding water levels to poach fish
or smuggle goods in and out of the country.

"This time we could not catch as many fish as the last time when generators
from the two power stations suddenly tripped and the water levels dropped
almost instantly meaning fish did not have time to move to safety," said a
man who had managed to catch some fish in the subsiding water.

Zesa also took the opportunity to inspect and repair all its four
tailraces -- an outlet of water used to run the turbines for power
generation into the Zambezi River -- for the smooth control of water flow.

The shutdown was a spectacle for tourists who were lucky to be in Kariba.

"It is spectacular because we can see the hippos and fish while they are in
the water unlike when the volume of water is high," said Mrs Lyn Schwim of
Bulawayo who is on holiday in the resort town with her family.

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Message from the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM*) on the State of Affairs in Zimbabwe

(SECAM is the Pan-African Association of Catholic Bishops Conferences)

A message from the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and
Madagascar (SECAM*) on the State of Affairs in Zimbabwe

We, members of the Standing Committee of SECAM, meeting in Accra, Ghana,
from March 26-30, 2007, having prayerfully reflected on a number of issues
pertaining to our continent and not being indifferent vis-à-vis the
suffering of our sisters and brothers in other African countries, do hereby
issue the following message on the situation in Zimbabwe.

"God is always on the side of the oppressed" (Psalm 103:6)

We are saddened and concerned about the suffering of our sisters and
brothers in Zimbabwe. A fact-finding mission sent to Zimbabwe recently by
SECAM reports that the situation there has reached a state, where an
uncontrolled outbreak of violence, chaos and anarchy is more and more
becoming a danger.

The mission confirmed the observations which the Catholic Bishops'
Conference of Zimbabwe has made in a recent pastoral letter.

Zimbabwe today is characterized by:

A political situation, where freedom of assembly, expression and movement no
longer exists; members of the civil society, political opponents and even
ordinary citizens become victims of violent acts, meted out on them for no
legitimate reason.

A social situation, where basic needs are hardly met; food has become
unaffordable for the vast majority of the population. Drugs and medical
services are far beyond the reach of the ordinary Zimbabwean. The education
system is almost collapsing.

A situation of despair; almost four (4) million Zimbabweans have gone into
exile. They continue to send their loved ones some basic commodities from
outside. At the same time, the wave of refugees to Zimbabwe's neighbouring
countries is also becoming a burden for that region.

An economic situation, which makes the production and distribution of goods
impossible, therefore leading to a continuous deterioration of the public
and common good.

The situation in Zimbabwe is not the result of a natural catastrophe or only
of adverse international conditions. It is largely self-inflicted. It is a
crisis of moral leadership and of bad governance.

We strongly appeal to the Government of Zimbabwe, in the name of Jesus, to
immediately stop the violence. And we urge all the political leaders of
Zimbabwe to be fair, just and compassionate in governing their people.
Peace, good governance and respect of human rights should always be the
overriding principle.

We also appeal to President John Agyekum Kufuor, Chairman of the African
Union (AU), and President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, Chairman of the Organ of
Politics, Defense and Security of the Southern African Development
Cooperation (SADC), and all leaders assembled in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania on
the 29th of March 2007 that, in the spirit of the New Partnership for
Africa's Development (NePAD) and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM),
they should prevail upon the Government of Zimbabwe to immediately take
measures to stop the violence and carnage that is engulfing the country.
They should insist that the rule of law and respect for fundamental human
rights as enshrined in the African Charter of Human and Peoples' Rights, to
which Zimbabwe is a signatory, be reinstated.

The major motivation of the Church's involvement in the development of
people has been the promotion of the dignity of the human person, made in
the image and the likeness of God. As a Church we are aware of the
challenges that lie ahead of us and will do all within our means to play our
prophetic role and carry out the divine mission entrusted to us. That is why
we shall continue to speak out for the voiceless, the marginalized and the
oppressed in society.

We also urge all Churches and people of faith and good will in Africa to
join the people of Zimbabwe in their national day of prayer scheduled for
the 14th of April 2007 by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Zimbabwe.

May our Mother Mary, the Mother of Africa, intercede for us!

Issued on March 28th 2007 in Accra, Ghana


His Eminence Cardinal Pengo, President of the Symposium of Episcopal
Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) and Archbishop of
Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania.

His Eminence Peter Cardinal Turkson, Treasurer of SECAM and Archbishop of
Cape Coast, Ghana.

Most. Rev. Theodore-Andrien Sarr, First Vice President and Archbishop of
Dakar, Senegal.

Rt. Rev. Fancisco João Silota, Second Vice President and Bishop of Chimoio,

Most. Rev. John Onaiyekan, Immediate Past President of SECAM and Archbishop
of Abuja, Nigeria.

Most. Rev. Nicolas Djomo Lola, Bishop of Tshumbe, Democratic Republic of
Congo, representing the Bishops' Conferences of  the countries of the Great

Most Rev. Paulin Pomodimo, Archbishop of Bangui, Central African Republic,
representing the Bishops' Conferences of Central Africa.

Most. Rev. Fulgence Rabemahafaly, Bishop of Antanimena, Madagascar,
representing the Bishops' Conferences of Madagascar and the Islands of

Most Rev. Jean-Pierre Kutwan, Archbishop of Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire,
representing the Bishops' Conferences of French-Speaking West Africa.

Most Rev. Vincent Landel, Archbishop of Rabat, Morocco, representing the
Bishops' Conferences of North Africa.

Rt. Rev. Franklyn Nubuasah SVD, Bishop of Francistown, Botswana,
representing the Bishops' Conferences of Southern Africa.

Most Rev. John Njue, Bishop of Nyeri, Kenya, representing the Bishops'
Conferences of Eastern Africa.

Most Rev. Gabriel Anokye, Auxiliary Bishop of Kumasi, Ghana, representing
the Bishops' Conferences of English-Speaking West Africa.


Rev. Fr. François-Xavier Damiba, Secretary General of SECAM

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Lebanese woman fined 84,000 dollars for smuggling Zimbabwe diamonds

Monsters and Critics

Apr 9, 2007, 7:31 GMT

Harare/Johannesburg - A Lebanese woman, arrested last month in the company
of a Zimbabwean government official while trying to smuggle diamonds through
Harare International Airport, has been fined the equivalent of 84,000 US
dollars, reports said Monday.

Thirty-six-year-old Carole Georges El Martni was sentenced to an 18-month
prison term or a fine of 16,456,105 Zimbabwe dollars for being in illegal
possession of diamonds, plus a 4,936,830 dollar penalty for attempting to
smuggle them to Dubai, the state-controlled Herald reported.

A further five-year jail term was wholly suspended on condition she does not
commit a similar offence.

Although officially worth more than 21 million Zimbabwe dollars, the fine is
worth just 840 US dollars on the unofficial but widely used parallel market
rate for foreign currency.

The Lebanese woman was arrested on March 1 in the company of William Nhara,
the principal director in the ministry without portfolio, who was trying to
help her to get past the airport officials.

An x-ray machine at the airport had picked up the diamonds in her hand
luggage. She pleaded guilty to the charges. The diamonds have been forfeited
to the state.

Nhara, who is reported to have pleaded for clemency from President Robert
Mugabe, is still in custody.

Zimbabwe's central bank chief last week said the cash-strapped economy had
in the last nine months lost around 400 million US dollars worth in
potential earnings from the smuggling of diamonds from a rich source in
eastern Zimbabwe.

The diamond fields of Marange have been plundered by fortune- seekers after
the government cancelled a claim to the area by an international mining firm
and allowed impoverished villagers to take matters into their own hands.

The free-for-all also attracted miners and dealers from outside the country.

© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur

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Zimbabwe Opposition Denies U.S. Backing For 'Regime Change'


      By Carole Gombakomba
      09 April 2007

Harare has seized on a document released by the U.S. State Department
recently as proof that Washington is intent on bringing about "regime
 change" in Zimbabwe, but a senior U.S. official and Zimbabwean opposition
officials have rejected the charge.

Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu charged that a report entitled
"Supporting Human Rights and Democracy" proved that Washington was "actively
undermining the Zimbabwean government under the guise of democracy and human
rights," and that it was backing the opposition aiming to bring down
President Robert Mugabe.

The report states that the U.S. strategy is to maintain pressure on the
Mugabe regime, strengthen democratic forces and to provide humanitarian aid
for those left vulnerable by poor governance. The opposition Movement for
Democratic Change faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai has denied receiving U.S.
funds to help it unseat Mr. Mugabe.

In a news conference Thursday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for
Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Barry Lowenkron dismissed assertions the
report highlighted plans by the U.S. to bring about regime change in
Zimbabwe, saying the intention was simply to allow the Zimbabwean people to
determine their own destiny.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Eliphas Mukonoweshuro of the Tsvangirai MDC
faction told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
the MDC was not funded by the United States, unlike a number of civil
society groups in the country.

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Harare turns knife on cross-border traders

Zim Online

Tuesday 10 April 2007

By Batsirayi Muranje

HARARE - Thirty-eight year old Elijah Mukarati has been a cross-border
trader since he quit the teaching profession four years ago.

Like so many other workers in Zimbabwe, Mukarati could no longer cope with
his small salary forcing him to throw in the towel and abandon the classroom
for the tough world of cross-border trading.

Each month, Mukarati collects crafts, wooden spoons, cooking sticks,
crocheted baskets, bags and other wares carved wood for sale in South Africa
and Botswana, Zimbabwe's two prosperous neighbours.

But the thriving trade, his only source of income, came under severe threat
last month after the Zimbabwean government through its Environmental
Management Authority, pounced on the traders confiscating wares worth
millions of dollars.

"The confiscation of our wares will send most of us into crime because at
least we were making an honest living," said Mukarati as he packed the few
wares that he managed to hide at the busy Roadport international bus
terminus in Harare.

"Most companies have shut down over the past seven years. The economy is in
recession and millions have been retrenched. Cross border trading was the
only legitimate means left for many of us to eke out a living," said

A few metres away here at Roadport, Loreta Mashayamombe, a widow, says the
seizure of her wares had also worsened her plight.

Mashayamombe says cross-border trade was her only source of income as she
looks after her family of five.

"I was on my to Johannesburg and I had bought these baskets for $800 000 for
resale in South Africa but now I have to go back home.

"I am not sure whether I will recover from this setback and be able to fend
for myself and my family again," said a teary eyed Mashayamombe.

"There was no warning and these people have ruined our lives. At least they
should have given us a warning. This was my only means of survival and I don't
know what I will do now," she said her voice shaking with emotion.

The police and the Environmental Management Authority argue that the cross
border traders are a serious threat to the environment as most of them were
plundering natural resources for raw materials in newly resettled farms.

"Forests are fast disappearing especially in Domboshava, Seke, Hwedza,
Mhondoro and Zvimba due to the high demand for these wares.

"This has become a serious threat to the environment and we cannot allow
this to continue simply for the love of money," police spokesman for Harare
province, Inspector Memory Pamire, told ZimOnline.

 "We are simply following the law," she added.

With 80 percent of Zimbabweans out of a job, cross border trade is probably
the only viable source of sustenance for millions of Zimbabweans right now.

The southern African country is in the grip of a severe economic crisis that
has manifested itself in the world's highest inflation rate of nearly 2 000
percent, massive joblessness and poverty.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party, blames the
economic crisis on mismanagement by President Robert Mugabe who has been in
power since the country's independence from Britain 27 years ago.

Most long distance buses companies that ply international routes to South
Africa, Botswana and Malawi have recorded significant drops in passengers as
a result of the police crackdown.

Never Gwitira, an inspector with City-to-City Bus Company that plies the
Harare-Johannesburg route said they had recorded a drop in business as a
result of the crackdown.

"We have witnessed a significant decline in the number of passengers because
of this operation. On the day these people began their operation, 46
passengers failed to make it to Jo'burg after their goods were confiscated.

"We did not reimburse them because they buy their tickets in advance but
since then, our business has hit a bad patch," he said.

As the police crackdown continues, what is certain is that these desperate
cross-border traders, with a fierce determination to succeed, will be back
again because they can hardly afford to stay at home and let their children
die. - ZimOnline

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Youths to resist any fake transition (manufactured settlement)

By Free Zim-Youth

FIRST of all we wish as young Zimbabweans to salute the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) for calling an urgent meeting to discuss the
worsening political and economic crisis in our country.

We all want an immediate end to the crisis so we can bring back political
and economic stability in the country that has been slowly bleeding to death
over the past seven or so years.

Following the outcome of the meeting of the SADC leaders, we feel as young
Africans that we have the moral and ideological obligation to voice our
concerns and respond to the resolutions that came out of the extraordinary
summit and any other such issues affecting members of the bloc.

From our point of view, there were some positive and negatives from the
compiled resolutions from the 29 March Extra-Ordinary Summit of the Heads of
State and Government of SADC in Tanzania regarding the Zimbabwe question.

Here we have merely provided our positive and negative expansion of the
resolutions by regional leaders.


Mbeki's appointment

 The summit mandated H.E President Thabo Mbeki to continue to facilitate
dialogue between the opposition and the Government and report back to the
Troika on the progress.

We feel there is need for more clarity on Mbeki’s appointment and an update
is also needed as to why his previous efforts have failed to yield results.
We strongly believe Mbeki should update Africans on what has been the
stumbling block to create a dialogue in Zimbabwe. We as young Africans have
no confidence with the so-called Mbeki mediation.

We feel Mbeki has for a long time been playing sustainable tactics, which
were and are designed to resuscitate and give more life to the Mugabe
government. He has since 2000 been endorsing election fraud and blocking any
U.N. motion to probe human rights violation in Zimbabwe. What of the
Zimbabwean government’s policies to displace families as a voter
manipulation tactic, leaving all victims eliminated from the voters’ roll.

Mbeki's failure in the Cote d' lvoire is a perfect example as to why we need
more clarity of time frame and platform of this new deal.

Young Africans shall resist by all means any efforts to manufacture a fake
peace settlement that will be tabled outside an independent platform which
can accommodate an independent election.

We are very sceptical of any efforts by the appointed mediator to push for
some form of stability that will be manufactured outside as electoral
process, excluding the masses in the decision-making process.

We stand united today saying No to another Zanu-Zapu peace accord. We demand
that all stakeholders should be involved in this process that should bring
lasting peace and stability to Zimbabwe and not just for a few years.

Surely we shall mobilise all the young Africans to resist any betrayal of
the aspirations of our forefathers who have been victims of the fall of
black majority rule. We say No to another smoke screen accord.

The Election Issue

We strongly feel that SADC failed to come up with a visible resolution that
will accommodate a free and fair electoral process;

- Given evidence that Zanu PF has already announced we are going to have
elections in 2008. We know the current electoral system is skewed and cannot
accommodate independent expression. There should be a level playing field in
place before any election is held in Zimbabwe and SADC should have made this
very clear.

 - The Ministry of Home Affairs has no resources issue out ID cards and
manpower to lay out such a majority capacity.

 - Zimbabwe being the only SADC member state that does not allow postal
votes, it is a major concern, especially when more that a quarter of the
population lives outside the country and can't exercise their voting rights.
We feel SADC should have come up with a resolution that will accommodate
voting framework that will allow the Diaspora to take part in the
restoration process of social justice in their motherland.

-They should be a radical advocacy to ensure and accomodate diaspora postal

- We will fully support any efforts of a peaceful transitional process that
will pave the way for a new Zimbabwe but not a sell-out.

 - We salute the bloc's position to acknowledge that the crisis is home
grown and needs a home grown solution to deal with such issues as

But we need more clarity on how the bloc shall assist in ensuring there will
be a free and fair election in Zimbabwe.

With regards to the land issue, the Extra-Ordinary Summit urged Britain to
honour its compensation obligations made at the Lancaster House before
independence in 1980.
We as young Africans welcome any initiatives that will ensure black
empowerment and the need to debate the Lancaster House agreement but dismiss
the need to endorse Zanu PF bosses to advocate for reparations, especially
when they are the ones who negotiated and sold out to a compromise with the
Thatcher government.

Reasons why Zanu PF are bourgeois to claim a radical reform of the agrarian

We as young Africans believe Zanu PF has for long become a far right-wing
neo-liberal bourgeois organisation to claim to be truly behind empowering
black peasants and the working class.

We go back to the Lancaster House agreement in which the liberation fighting
wings of Zanla and Zipra came to a manufactured settlement with the
Rhodesian settlers, agreeing to a willing buyer and seller basis agrarian
land reform.

At the time of Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980 the best agricultural land
was owned mainly by large, commercial farms, often of more than 1,000
hectares each. Poor landless peasant families were crowded into the less
productive communal areas, on land holdings that were often less than one

Mugabe sold out on the Lancaster Agreement, signing to a no provision in the
settlement deal which did not establish a specific fund to support land

But in the agreed 10-year deal, Zanu PF failed to embark on the land reform
exercise adopting far-more right wing policies (neo-liberal policies - ESAP
and SAP) from the West, which had a major negative impact on the working
class. And the abuse of funds for the Agrarian reform between 1980 and 1985.
The UK provided £47m for land reform: £20m as a specific Land Resettlement
Grant and £27m in the form of budgetary support to help meet the Zimbabwe
Government’s own contribution to the programme. The Land Resettlement Grant
was signed in 1981, and substantially spent by 1988.

With corruption in parastatal organisations like GMB, and government-owned
oil procurement company, Noczim, with a combination of an elite gain in the
support of war in DRC at government expense and many other such dubious
initiatives -  all these have contributed to the knee-jacking of the

We young Africans strongly feel more equitable distribution of land is
essential to reduce poverty and to contribute to the country's long-term
economic and social future. But to be effective, young Africans strongly
believe that such reform must be carried out within the rule of law; be
transparent and fair; and within a well-managed economic policy framework
that contributes both to poverty reduction and Zimbabwe’s economic
We strongly dismiss Zanu PF's fake ideology. The current crop of leaders has
betrayed the aspirations of Joshua Nkomo and Tongogara and Sithole who all
fought for a free colonial Zimbabwe.

US Christopher Dell should shut up

We the youth angrily receive US government's foreign policy on Zimbabwe's
crisis as pathetic and fall to understand the strategy behind the Bush
administration's direct involvement in our crisis.Surely it now time we as
Africans stand up and lay things straight and dismiss any solidarity that is
undermining our solidarity from our Pan-Africanist comrades.We as the future
Zimbabweans are saying enough is enough from these parrot sympathizers who
don't read the ideological conflicts of there direct involvement,surely with
the chaos in Iraq and our no support of inhuman Guantanamo Bay prison and
the bombing of Somalia.

Our progressive leaders should know better and say something about this too
much talking from Dell.We shall implement programs aimed at exposing double
standards,lets all not forget our Chimurenga history which is not Zanu PF
but Zimbabwe's history.

As we head towards Independence Day, we call on all Zimbabwean Youth,
regardless of tribal grounds, to rise and demand their future which has been
hijacked by the so-called chefs.  It’s a class struggle. And remember we are
fighting a system!! We as the youths will soldier on with our “Africa
Liberate Zimbabwe” campaign until things change for the better in our
beloved country.

The future is today!!

Power to the People

Comradely thank You

Free-Zim Youth



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