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

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Letter 1: Ben Norton

Dear Colin.

Very many thanks for your very welcome reply. I certainly do appreciate the
very difficult task that has landed in your lap, and I congratulate you for
the manner in which you are handling that task. I certainly do not want to
intrude in the very limited time you have to spend on has beens comments,
and before you read any further I ask you to put this note in your pocket
and take it home with you and read it with a whiskey in hand and sitting in
a comfortable chair and watching the cricket, but I would ask you please to
take this Pathetic attempt in trying to help find the right solution to the
worst tragedy that has ever befallen commercial farming in Zimbabwe. And I
might add here that I think that commercial farming, as we knew it is
something of the past, and can never be resuscitated, and if that thought
proves to be true then I believe that the same applies to the C.F.U. and
that the C.F.U of the year 1999 that was funded and serviced the needs of
5000 farmers no longer exists and that a new body that serves the
requirements of the 5% of farmers that remain be formed and funded by
themselves, and that the ex C.F.U funded by the funds accumulated in the
past should concentrate their efforts on helping the 95% that have lost
their all and not forgetting that a large proportion of those farmers
carved their farms out of virgin bush and spent every penny they earned on
developing their farms and even those that inherited farms spent all their
earnings on developing farms that are no older than 100 years, and I
contend that a larger proportion of our Zimbabwean farms are better
developed, by better farmers than any where else in the world.

I also believe that many of the farms that are still being farmed by their
rightful owners have been left there for a purpose and that most of them
are now preparing to quit as they are unable to carry on under the present
circumstances, and I venture to say that they realise that their farms have
been identified by some V.I.P who want their farms protected and not
destroyed by so called settlers. The rest I believe have bought their farms
anew and feel quite safe and to my thinking deserve no help.

I have also heard of a number of cases where members of the C.F.U are
carrying on various farming operations in partnership with the new elite,
on farms that have been illegally acquired. Although I fully support the
saying that God only helps those who try and help themselves, this is one
time where we should be all working together for the well being for all
commercial farmers, and not just thinking only of our selves, am I not
right in saying that these chaps are operating illegally and should be
discouraged by what ever means possible.

I also believe that the C.F.U should be discouraging all remaining farmers
from producing any crops what so ever until the rule of law is
re-established and a comprehensive plan is formulated to resuscitate the
production of food and tobacco.

I believe that Jag and their activities should be looked upon as a
legitimate rightwing opposition to the C.F.U. and not as a group of
troublemakers.  I think it is true to say that the C.F.U policy only
started changing, for the better, after Jag was founded and I would like,
on behalf of ex farmers, to take this opportunity to thank Jag for their
hard work on our behalf. I look forward to their sitreps and other
informative communications.

To answer your remarks Colin, the ex C.F.U. chairman that I suggest you
invite to a mini congress are any ex C.F.U presidents that are available at
this time, most of these chaps have gone a long way since they were
President and are all well regarded by the commercial world. I feel quite
sure that the time is ripe, notwithstanding the old idea of I am now
president or chairman Will you please piss off I am now in the drivers seat
and I can assure you that if I need your help or advice I will not hesitate
to ask for it, for you to accept new ideas and help from where ever you can
obtain it.

I admit that I was wrong in saying publish the names of those who do not
wish to participate, because they have already contributed enormously to
the welfare of the farming community and are fully entitled to a peaceful

As to your remarks about my contacts with the minister, we are now living
in a completely different time and the relations were far more amiable but
with the support of the late Bob Rutherford and the ex director and fellow
farmer Dave Hasluck I did have a couple of documented clashes with the

I quite accept that you have very limited access to the minister but quite
frankly I do not see the need for any discussion with Mr. Made because I do
not think he would be at all sympathetic. In fact I do not think that he
would understand what you were getting at and perhaps he should just be
presented with the facts and or ultimatums and at the same time make them
available to the rest of the world and to your ex and present members.

Surely the time is not appreciate for talking about production of food and
Tobacco by your remaining active members, perhaps we should rather show
more support for the opposition parties and allow the meltdown take its
hurried course until the end and then that would be the time to present a
plan for the future. We should now be working on this plan taking advice
from all stakeholders and possibly from donor countries who are going to
fund the plan.

Colin I would like to take this opportunity to ask you to convey my very
grateful thanks to the Kind gentleman who paid my C.F.U. subs and to
confirm that I am still a staunch member of the family but welcome any
constructive criticism and help that the opposition have to offer. They are
not disgruntled kids Colin but are well-respected and worried members of
our community, who I thank for their efforts in trying to solve our

In closing I would like to thank you for your time, and for the very
Stirling effort you and your team are making in trying to satisfy your
members wishes and in trying to find a workable answer to the almost
insurmountable problems that beset Zim, agriculture today.

Finally Colin I have just downloaded my computer and the first two items
that caught my eye, which were also the first two items that I opened were
the JAG P.R. Communiqué of the 20th March and the JAG Sitrep. The first is
exactly the sort of questions that could be sorted out at a mini congress
of ex presidents and an agreed statement could be published.  The JAG
sitrep of the 20th is what the world should know about and what is our
right to know about, why should we have to wait for a Jag sitrep to know
about this sort of atrocity,

Work together today BOTH black (not ZANU PF) and white and tomorrow the sun
will shine on the pearl of Africa.

Yours sincerely.
Ben Norton


All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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Pressure continues to be exerted from some parties to offer more land on LA
Forms.  Before you do so please bear in mind the points:

1. By giving way to the pressure you are legalising the whole illegal
process and you will be the long-term loser.

2. In most areas it has not helped others who have gone this route and
there are numerous cases of continued harassment, eviction and imprisonment
even after farmers have felt pressured to sign away property.

3. In the vast majority of cases the State has not paid for the property
offered and where offers have been made they have been mostly heavily
discounted offers.

4. The State has expressly refused to pay for "the land" even though
property owners paid for the land in their original purchases of their

5. The State has not budgeted for this land acquisition exercise on
anything like the scale that it is proceeding.

6. In the vast majority of cases your workers will not be looked after,
paid or even housed once the property is acquired.

7. Productivity has not been a feature of land that goes to the State and
by offering land you will merely be contributing to the rapidly declining
economy and the hunger that many Zimbabweans now face.  This is not in the
National interest!

It is always important to bear in mind that "deals with dishonourable
people will not be honoured" in the vast majority of cases.  The current
regime has not shown itself to be of a particularly honourable nature up to
now.  If you still feel you ought to offer land please contact JAG first
for advice.  Do not do it in isolation - we are here to help.


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From News24 (SA), 8 April

Zim bribes farmworkers

Pretoria - The Zimbabwean government is trying to bribe farm workers with
food and promises of work to return to the farm of a member of the
Zimbabwean opposition after the workers were earlier violently removed from
the farm. The situation on the farm of Roy Bennet, MP of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), has become an embarrassment for the Zimbabwean
government and it is trying to convince the farm workers to return to the
farm. This comes after a high-level delegation of international
non-governmental organisations announced that they would be visiting the
farm on Tuesday. Bennet said the governor of Manicaland, Oppah Muchinguri,
drove to his farm near the Mozambique border in her luxury vehicle on Friday
to speak to the workers and their families. The workers and their families,
about 1 200 men, women and children, have been living in "terrible
conditions" at a bus stop near Chimanimani, Bennet said. One of Bennet's
workers said Muchinguri told them that they were now rid of Bennet and could
return to the farm. The farm would be taken over by government. "The workers
phoned me to ask whether they should accept the governor's food. I told them
to take the food as it could do no harm." However, the workers refused to
return to the farm unless Bennet himself came to fetch them. Bennet said
media reports in South Africa have caused the government to "wake up" and
that they were now trying to salvage the situation. "It has had a huge
impact, because it now focuses attention on what is really happening here.
The fact that ministers from the South African Development Community (SADC)
are now asking questions, definitely plays a big role," he said. A
delegation of SADC ministers will visit Zimbabwe this week on invitation of
the Zimbabwean minister of foreign affairs, Stan Mudenge. "The international
community has been aware of the situation in Zimbabwe for some time. What we
need is for SADC countries, and especially South Africa, to criticise the
government, then we will see a reaction." Bennet is still the lawful owner
of the farm under a court interdict that prevents police from setting foot
on the farm. He and his workers were threatened and assaulted several times
during the confiscation of farms.

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From The New York Times, 8 April

Bill would ban trade in conflict diamonds

Washington (AP) - Diamonds that finance and fan African civil wars would be
banned from U.S. import and export under a bill passed by the House on
Tuesday. "It makes a step in the right direction to wage war on the
international trade nexus of money, diamonds and weapons, which help fuel
conflicts in Africa," said Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y. The bill, passed 419-2 with
one member voting present, enters the United States into an international
agreement that bans trade in so-called conflict diamonds. The Senate Finance
Committee approved a similar bill last week. The international agreement,
known as the Kimberley Process, includes representatives of the diamond
industry, human rights groups and dozens of other nations. The group
requires that traded diamonds come with certification that they were mined
from legitimate sources. Conflict diamonds have been linked to civil wars in
Sierra Leone and Angola. The rebels use forced labor to mine diamonds, then
use the proceeds to purchase weapons and finance military action. The U.S.
Customs Service will monitor the diamond trade and fine anyone who violates
the ban. Rep. Christopher Smith, R-N.J., asked the agency to look into
whether several countries participating in the Kimberley Process, including
Zimbabwe and the Central African Republic, still trade in conflict diamonds.
It is estimated that trade in conflict or "blood'' diamonds makes up less
than 4 percent of the annual global diamond trade. Lawmakers also argued
that blocking trade in illegitimate diamonds will cut off financing to
international terrorist groups. The Treasury Department suspects terrorists
are moving their assets into commodities like diamonds as they are forced
out of the traditional banking system. "Drying up the cash that supports
terrorism is a very, very important part of the war on terrorism,'' said Vic
Snyder, D-Ark. "If somebody can just take a sock full of illegal diamonds,
put it in their pocket, walk onto a plane, they have an ability to move
wealth all over the world to bribe, to buy weaponry, to buy explosives.''

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Farmers Dissatisfied With Compensation Offers

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

April 9, 2003
Posted to the web April 9, 2003


Commercial farmers in Zimbabwe on Wednesday criticised as insufficient the
government's purchase offers for their farms, acquired under the
controversial land reform programme.

Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) president, Colin Cloete, told IRIN that on
average, the authorities were willing to pay less than 50 percent of
anticipated compensation figures.

"The government is not serious about compensating farmers. There has been a
case where an independent valuation pegged a farm at Zim $250 million but
the government offered the farmer a mere Zim $20 million. We understand that
the government does not have the necessary finance to meet all the
compensation needs, but we do expect some kind of reasonable compromise,"
Cloete said.

He added that the offers were not being made in writing, but by verbal

Under the terms of Zimbabwe's land law, some 290 white farmers have been
offered compensation for improvements to their land, but not for the seized
land itself. Of an original 4,500 white farmers, only 600 are estimated to
be on their farms as a result of the government's fast-track land
redistribution programme.

Cloete said the CFU was in dialogue with the government in an attempt to
reach an agreement on "fair compensation".

IRIN was unable to get comment from the government on Wednesday.
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Women beat Zimbabwe official over land seizures

HARARE, April 9 - A Zimbabwe government official jumped out of a third floor
window to escape beating by angry women war veterans demanding ownership
papers for land they seized from white farmers, police said on Wednesday.
       A police official told Reuters the acting provincial administrator
for Zimbabwe's Mashonaland West Province had been injured and admitted to
hospital after being assaulted with clubs, an iron bar and fists in his
office in Chinhoyi.
       He said his assailants were women who turned on him when he said he
had no authority to issue new occupation papers for land they had taken
during President Robert Mugabe's controversial and violent land seizures
       The police official confirmed five women had been arrested over the
attack, which one local newspaper said the government official had been
lucky to survive.
       Mugabe's government has seized almost three-quarters of farms owned
by Zimbabwe's 4,500 white commercial farmers, a policy blamed for plunging
the southern African country into its worst political and economic crisis
since independence from Britain in 1980.
       Critics say Mugabe's top officials have taken over most of the farms,
but the government dismisses this as propaganda by its domestic and foreign
opponents, saying the land has been distributed to landless blacks.
       Opponents say Mugabe's security forces have arrested hundreds of
people in a crackdown on critics since one of the biggest protests against
his 23-year rule last month.
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Zimbabwe: Human Rights Concerns Not a Diversion, LCHR Says

NEW YORK- The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights welcomes the announcement
made Thursday that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will
send a task force to Zimbabwe to have discussions with various groups about
the current crisis in the country. Following a meeting of SADC foreign
ministers, held in Harare on April 3, the foreign minister of Mozambique,
Leonardo Simao, told reporters that the task force would visit Zimbabwe this
week. Simao is reported to have said that "all different stakeholders will
be invited to voice their opinions about the current situation."
While Simao expressed concern about the absence of "peace, stability and
harmony" in Zimbabwe, the official communiqué released at the end of the
SADC meeting made no reference to the political and human rights crisis in
Zimbabwe. Rather, the communiqué notes that "those opposed to Zimbabwe have
tried to shift the agenda from the core issue of land by selective diversion
of attention on governance and human rights issues."

"Severe violations of human rights and systematic undermining of the rule of
law in Zimbabwe are not a diversion," said Lorna Davidson, Senior Associate
with the New York based Lawyers Committee for Human Rights who recently
visited the country. "The only way to tackle the many political and
humanitarian challenges facing the country is to restore respect for the
rule of law, and to uphold the rights of all Zimbabweans.

The Lawyers Committee is concerned that the SADC communiqué fails to fully
acknowledge the severity of the human rights crisis in Zimbabwe, and the
obstacle that these systematic violations place in the way of any resolution
of the political, humanitarian and economic crises that increasingly
threaten the country and the surrounding region.

Human rights abuses are reported daily by reliable local and international
sources. Indeed, the South African government has itself recently expressed
concern about violations of freedom of expression and the repression of
peaceful political dissent in Zimbabwe. The South African Chamber of
Business also this week condemned the lack of concerted regional efforts to
address the crisis in Zimbabwe. A spokesman for the organization stated that
the situation in Zimbabwe had a negative impact on the entire region and on
African initiatives such as the New Partnership for Africa's Development.

The sending of a SADC task force to Zimbabwe is an important step in
reaching a regional solution to the crisis. In order to be effective, the
task force should visit both urban and rural areas and ensure that it
gathers information independently. Its members must meet and have an open
discussion with a range of civil society actors, including human rights
organisations, church leaders, trade union representatives and agricultural

One of the Principles stated in the Declaration and Treaty of SADC, which
governs the organisation's operation, is that its members act in accordance
with human rights, democracy and the rule of law. It is therefore incumbent
upon the SADC task force and the organs to which it reports to seek
solutions to the crisis in Zimbabwe that are in full accordance with
international and regional human rights standards.
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The Swedish Parliament

      TUESDAY 8 APRIL 2003

      Swedish protests against Zimbabwe

      In an address during the General Debate at the ongoing conference of
the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Santiago de Chile, the leader of the
Swedish delegation, Second Deputy Speaker Kerstin Heinemann, criticised the
attacks perpetrated on parliamentarians in Zimbabwe. In her address she also
expressed the energetic protests of the Riksdag against the wave of violence
and torture occurring in Zimbabwe.

      The 108th Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), which is
being held in Santiago de Chile on 6-12 April 2003, is being attended by
almost 600 parliamentarians from 116 countries.

      Christina Green
      Press Officer, tel. +46-8-786 40 54, +46-70-609 64 48
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Macedonian Press Agency, Greece

      Athens, 9 April 2003 (17:58 UTC+2)

     A declaration was issued by the EU Presidency, the Acceding Countries
Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta,
Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, the Associated Countries Bulgaria
and Romania, and the EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European
Economic Area, concerning restrictive measures against Zimbabwe.

      The Acceding Countries Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary,
Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, the
Associated Countries Bulgaria and Romania, and the EFTA country
Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, declare that they share
the objectives of Council Common Position 2003/115/CFSP of February 18, 2003
amending and extending Common Position 2002/145/CFSP concerning restrictive
measures against Zimbabwe. They will ensure that their national policies
conform to that common position.

      The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.
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World Bank

      Africa's progress, challenges

      Bank Releases Comprehensive Collection of Development Data Covering
the Regions's Last Two Decades

            April 9, 2003-With tables on HIV/AIDS, communications,
transportation, household welfare and hundreds of other development
indicators from more than 50 African countries, new edition of the African
Development Indicators (ADI) 2003 released this week provides the most
detailed collection of development data on Africa in one volume.

            Drawn from the World Bank Africa Database and covering a period
of 21 years, the African Development Indicators (ADI) 2003 aims at assisting
practitioners and policy makers to better understand today's regional
economic, social and environmental trends and issues.

            "Africa urgently needs rich nations to deliver on their promises
of more generous aid and wider trade opportunities to reverse the cruel
effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, civil wars, and persistent low growth
rates," explains Alan Gelb, World Bank Chief Economist for the Africa

            "The World Bank's latest annual report African Development
Indicators (ADI) 2003 sounds a clear warning that the rapid spread of
HIV/AIDS, anemic aid and investment flows, and weak commodity prices
threaten to undo the hard-fought gains of recent years," he adds.

            The ADI 2003 presents data from 53 African countries and five
regional country groups, arranged in separate tables or matrices for more
than 500 indicators of development.

            The ADI report provides data from 1980-2001 with a wealth of
indicators, grouped into 16 chapters: background data; national accounts;
prices and exchange rates; money and banking; external sector; external debt
and related flows; government finance; agriculture; power, communications,
and transportation; public enterprises; labor force and employment; aid
flows; social indicators; environmental indicators; Household Welfare
Indicators; and HIPC debt initiative.

            Each chapter begins with a brief introduction on the nature of
the data and their limitations, followed by a set of statistical tables,
charts, and technical notes that define the indicators and identify their
specific source. Included this year are new tables on HIV/AIDS,
communications and transportation, the HIPC debt initiative, and household
welfare indicators.

            The publication is designed to provide all those interested in
Africa with a focused and convenient set of data to monitor development
programs and aid flows in the region.

            "This publication brings together in one place the best
statistical picture of Africa available. In it you will find evidence of
Africa's progress, and Africa's challenges --and throughout the complexity
of the African scene," says Jeff Katz, the Manager of Africa Partnerships
and External Affairs.
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ZNSPCA update

08 APRIL 2003
I keep hoping that the next report I write will be to let everyone know that things have taken a turn for the better.  Regrettably, in this report we can only let you know that the situation has taken a further turn for the worse.  Meryl and the rescue team bravely and determinedly battle on but there just does not appear to be any end in sight.
Following the mass civil action on 18 and 19 March, there have been wholesale violent acts of retribution meted out to any and all perceived government opponents.  The level of brutality has left us all completely stunned and shocked.
Inevitably innocent animals are 'caught in the crossfire'.  Many of you will have seen footage of the young female opposition supporter who was raped with the barrel of an automatic weapon and had her arm slashed resulting in permanent nerve damage.  Despite her horrific experience, this brave soul provided information to Meryl about a dog which had been badly injured during the violent reprisals.
The rescue team recovered 'Shumba' from a house in Mabvuka, Harare.  The owners had been hospitalised due to the extent of their injuries.  It is reported that 8 men in army uniform arrived at their home late at night and before beating the occupants, they first beat 'Shumba', a female Collie cross who had tried to protect her owners.  They beat her with rubber batons and neighbours said they had heard the dog 'screaming' during the attack.  The team rescued Shumba and took her straight to a vet who reported that although completely covered in injuries, her thick coat had probably saved her from any permanent injury.  She is recovering well although still not able to walk properly.
The eviction of 1000 farm workers from MDC MP Roy Bennett's farm in the Chimanimani area has also been reported in the media. 
Meryl received a report from Mr Bennett that cattle on the farm had been slashed with axes.  When the team arrived at the farm, they found 15 head, mainly calves and weaners (which are easy targets) that had been attacked.  Most had serious gaping wounds.  One young bull had a shoulder wound about 15cm deep.  One weaner had received a spinal injury and could no longer walk and had to be euthanaised.  All other animals have been treated and are recovering.
The most distressing part of the report is that following the team's visit, the few remaining workers on the farm who co-operated with the rescue team were subjected to a vicious beating, in particular one farm guard, who had to be hospitalised, having been beaten with a truncheon encased in a metal pipe.  The beating was reportedly carried out by one Joseph Mwale of the CIO and the Officer in Charge of ZRP Chimanimani.  The farm worker said that he finally begged them to shoot him as he was in such unbearable pain but was told by Mwale that he had to suffer.  5 other workers received treatment at the local clinic.
These scenes are obviously becoming more and more difficult for Meryl and the team to cope with.  We have reinforced the rescue team, but the emotional stress is obviously taking its toll.  They battle on and we all hope and pray that we will not have to hang on too much longer.  Surely the international community can no longer stand by and ignore the worsening situation.    
We must also unhappily report that 5 more black rhino have been killed in Zimbabwe.  The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force reports that 6 black rhino were caught in poachers' snares on the Bubiyana Conservancy.  One was saved and one broke free with the snare still imbedded in its flesh - the remaining 4 died.  The 5th rhino was reported dead at the hands of poachers on Gourlays Ranch.  No further details are yet known.
As always, we strenuously commend the many wonderful people and organisations who continue to rally round us in our efforts to protect the animals of Zimbabwe.  There are so many who have assisted in so many ways and we are always reluctant to name them in case we exclude any of the special people who have contributed in any way, but I am compelled to name those who have been such a tower of strength when the situation has seemed so hopeless and who have given us the encouragement and strength necessary to keep going:  Organisations we must commend are the NSPCA in South Africa, IFAW, RSPCA, Vizara Ridgebacks, Zimbabwe Pet Rescue Project, WSPA, Mafikeng SPCA, the Zimbabwe Blue Cross, SPANA, Motorsport SA, the South African Animal Anti Cruelty League, Sims Black Trust, National Horse Trust, SAfm, SW Radio, the Zimbabwe Animal Support Group and the Hugg Foundation.
Individuals who need special mention are Marcelle Meredith, Chris Kuch, Val Wise, Mary Pringle, Estelle Walters, Ann Kempen, Roger Matthews, Timmy Ralfe, Sherri Williamson, Mariette van der Veer, Tracey Clarke, Beaulah Schoeman, Lisa Haylett, Patricia Glyn, Nadine Da Silva, Anne Bosman, Christine Baseotto, Linda Costa, Jimmy Bass, Pat Sessi and Howard and Jane Why.
There are many other individuals, companies and organisations who have been supporting us with regular donations and kind messages of commendation or who have been disseminated our reports.  In all the chaos and pressure we are working under, I know you will fully understand if we have omitted you from our messages.  We thank each and every one of you.  We really could not do it without you. 
Should any individuals, especially ex-Zimbabweans, wish to receive copies of other reports relating to the situation in Zimbabwe, please let me know.
Best regards
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09 April 2003 19:22
Update on Paul Themba Nyathi

Dear Friends,

Paul Themba Nyathi, MDC Publicity and Information Secretary is spending his third night in detention. The lawyer had failed to secure a court hearing within 48 hours and had put in an urgent application to the High Court compelling the Police to bring Nyathi to court. The party spokesperson will appear in court tomorrow at 11 am. Hopefully no further dirty tricks will be employed and he will make bail tomorrow. Paul is the member of parliament representing me in my rural home - Gwanda North in Matabeleland.
Meanwhile some Law and Order officers visited my offices today, I was not available at the time. I am informed that they wanted to know where I operate from, a question they obviously knew the answer to when they set out to visit my office. Should they manage to find me  I will gladly appraise them of my activities exercising my constitutional and human rights.
I watched the Iraqis dance on the felled statue of Saddam Hussein. For over an hour several men with determination, but few resources they attempted to fell the statue. They took it in turns to hammer at the plinth and at the feet and finally they requested the assistance of an American tank crew. As the statue fell they rushed forward to dance on it and pelt it with their shoes in insult. Others then triumphantly placed the Iraqi flag on the plinth signaling that Iraqis had triumphed over Saddam the Dictator. I remember vividly the night the Rhodes statue was brought down after Independence.
I long for the day that Zimbabweans will dance with joy and their victory. We have Independence but desire freedom. 18 April is Independence day, an appropriate day for us to begin the struggle for freedom. Be ready, willing and able to do your bit on that day!
''Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe and enthusiastically act upon..must inevitably come to pass''
Paul J. Meyer - founder of SMI
As always,

Jenni Williams

Contact Jenni Williams on Mobile (+263) 91 300456 or 11213 885 Or on email
or Fax (+2639) 63978 Office email
A member of the International Association of Business Communicators. Visit
the IABC website
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Alien Tort Claims Act Proceeding Against Robert Mugabe
By Frederic L. Kirgis
American Society of International Law
September 2000

  According to news reports, Robert Mugabe, the head of state of Zimbabwe,
was served with process while he was in New York City for the United Nations
Millennium Summit, in a suit brought by Zimbabwean nationals seeking civil
damages under the U.S. Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA). The suit alleges that
Mugabe orchestrated violence by his political party against its opponents,
including beating and burning the plaintiffs or, in one case, the husband of
a plaintiff, in order to stay in power at the time of Zimbabwe's
parliamentary elections in June.

  The ATCA gives federal courts in the United States jurisdiction over "any
civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law
of nations or a treaty of the United States."(1) The violence alleged in the
suit, if proved and if committed by state officials acting as such, or if
committed under color of law, would almost certainly be a tort (i.e. a civil
wrong) in violation of the law of nations. International law prohibits
torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment at the hands of public
officials, even when the victims are citizens of the state in which the
treatment occurs.(2) The definition of torture in the international
Convention Against Torture includes not only the infliction of severe pain
or suffering for purposes of eliciting information, but also for purposes of
intimidating or coercing an individual or a third person for some other
reason.(3) Torture, however, would not necessarily have to be proved, since
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment would also suffice for potential

  Nevertheless, Mugabe could assert in defense to the suit that, as the
current head of state of Zimbabwe, he is entitled to head-of-state immunity
from suit in a U.S. court. In 1994 a federal court held that Jean-Bertrand
Aristide, then the recognized head of state of Haiti, was immune from suit
in a U.S. court in a case involving an alleged political assassination.(4)
In 1995 an ATCA suit against Radovan Karadi, the president of the
self-proclaimed republic of Srpska in Bosnia-Herzegovina, was allowed to
proceed, but the United States had never recognized the legitimacy of a
state of Srpska and the case thus would be distinguishable from the current
one.(5) In 1999 the British House of Lords denied head-of-state immunity to
Augusto Pinochet of Chile, but he was no longer the head of state at the
time of the British proceedings, so his case could be distinguished as

  Some cases in federal courts also allow individual high-ranking foreign
government officials to claim sovereign immunity from suit.(7) Sovereign
immunity is based on a federal statute, the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act
(FSIA),(8) which applies primarily to governments themselves and their
instrumentalities, rather than to heads of state. It is not clear that all
federal courts would consider someone like Mugabe eligible for sovereign
immunity (as distinguished from head-of-state immunity). If the court in the
Mugabe case did so, it would probably provide Mugabe with another successful
defense. Even though the FSIA contains a limited exception to immunity for
cases involving torture, it applies only to sovereigns that are on the U.S.
State Department's terrorist list (Zimbabwe is not) and it applies only in
favor of persons who were U.S. nationals at the time of the alleged

  Mugabe could also argue that the alleged violence was not "official,"
since it was conducted by a political party or persons in the service of a
political party, rather than by the government as such. If it was not
official, there would be doubt whether it constituted a violation of
international law. An answer could be that if Mugabe, the head of state,
orchestrated the violence for purposes of remaining in power, that would
supply the "official" element.

  Mugabe might argue, further, that international law is not incorporated
into federal law in the United States in the absence of a specific
Congressional act adopting a particular rule of international law as a rule
of federal law, so a federal court relying on the constitutional grant of
jurisdiction over federal questions could not constitutionally exercise
jurisdiction over an international law claim without such a Congressional
statute. The ATCA, however, is a Congressional act. Most federal courts that
have applied the ATCA have treated it as incorporating rules of
international law as federal rules of decision on which plaintiffs may base
their claims for monetary damages. In addition, there is a line of federal
cases to the effect that some rules of customary international law have the
status of federal common law in the United States. The rules most likely to
have that status would be specific rules protecting basic human rights, such
as the rule against torture of the rule against cruel, inhuman or degrading

  Another argument might be based on the federal act of state doctrine,
which precludes courts in this country from inquiring into the validity of
the public acts of a recognized foreign sovereign committed within its own
territory. There is a question, mentioned above, whether the acts of a
political party, even one in power, are the acts of the sovereign. Even if
they are, one Supreme Court precedent on the act of state doctrine suggests
that U.S. courts may review acts of foreign sovereigns when there is a great
degree of codification or consensus concerning a particular area of
international law.(11) There is a high degree of consensus regarding the
international law prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment of individuals by government officials (leaving aside
procedural defenses such as head-of-state immunity which could apply in a
domestic court, though not in an international criminal court).

  Questions could be raised about the propriety of serving process on Mugabe
while he was in New York for a U.N. meeting. The Convention on the
Privileges and Immunities of the U.N., a multilateral treaty to which the
United States is a party, gives "representatives" to the U.N. immunity from
arrest (Mugabe was not arrested) and from legal process of any kind "in
respect of words spoken or written and all acts done by them in their
capacity as representatives."(12) Mugabe probably would be considered a
representative of Zimbabwe to the U.N. during his brief visit to New York,
but the legal process served on him did not relate to anything done by him
in that capacity. Under the Convention, he would also be entitled to "such
other privileges, immunities and facilities not inconsistent with the
foregoing as diplomatic envoys enjoy."(13) This could give him immunity from
suit (just as head-of-state immunity would), but would not necessarily
invalidate the service of process on him.

  There is also a Headquarters Agreement between the United States and the
United Nations. It gives diplomatic immunity to "resident representatives"
of members to the U.N. But Mugabe would not be a "resident"

  The strongest defense, judging from the facts available so far, would
appear to be head-of-state immunity.

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      Effecting regime change in Zimbabwe

      4/10/03 1:12:04 AM (GMT +2)

      About a decade or so ago, I was a student at a mission school whose
most famous alumni now presides over the anarchy in Zimbabwe.

      As students, one of the few highlights of our calendar that we eagerly
looked forward to was the annual Kutama Old Boys Association (KOBA) meeting
which was sure to also come with a change of diet for that special day.

      We called it "special meat" long before Zimbabweans sang along to that
meaningless but catchy song with the same title. On the day, the old boys
would come, often fronted by the President and speechify on end, promising a
bus for the school, new computers or such other pie in the sky that never
materialised. We always thought they came merely to show off their new cars,
to bask in the glow of their famous school-mate as well as try to impress
him with oratory which might open doors to important government positions
and appointments.

      On one such occasion they came as usual, their shiny cars gleaming in
the morning sunshine. The headmaster's shrill blast of the whistle soon
assembled us at the usual assembly point.

      We loved our "Jachi" as James Chinamasa, a towering, industrious and
at once authoritarian schoolmaster from the old school was affectionally

      That day, he organised us into seated and orderly rows on the hard
surface in front of the science block and in the shadow of the statue of
Justicia, the blindfolded Greek goddess of justice.

      The meeting began. The speeches flowed. One distinguished old boy
after another spoke glowingly about the famous and ancient school and how it
had produced a most important old boy who happened to be the guest of honour
that day. Robert Mugabe listened, smiling indulgently all the while, like
Lewis Carol's Cheshire Cat as the speakers droned on and on.

      One Washington Mbizvo impressed as master of ceremonies and did the
occasional praise-singing. He became a permanent secretary in the government
shortly afterwards for his efforts. Ignatius Chombo was there too. He
pontificated as usual. A few years later he too was to be invited into the
government of the famous old boy. So did one Jewel Kufandada, now late. He
became a deputy minister in due course. It appeared to us then as it does
now that PhD's tickle Mugabe's fancy.

      But one speaker stood out. He was introduced as George Kahari. I
remember an articulate and scholarly looking man, tallish and on the elderly
side with a distinctive bald pate and funny suspenders - the scholar indeed.
I remember that he too spoke of his love for the school but that he did not
pontificate. He quoted a poet in his speech:

      "Gather ye rosebuds whilst ye may

      Old time is still flying

      And this same flower that smiles today

      Tomorrow will be a-dying".

      It was a warning to us all he said, to make the most of the time
available because we had this one chance in a life time to be young, to
learn and to move on to more challenges facing our nation. Years after that
day, I have met many who remember that speech. Mugabe might not. He is said
to love only the speeches that he himself makes.

      When I began to read more books with the passing years, I realised
that Kahari had that day quoted a 16th century English poet called Robert
Herrick to express in very simple terms an idea neatly captured in the Latin
phrase 'carpe diem'.

      Scholars say it means to "seize the day". Perhaps the phrase "make hay
whilst the sun shines" which expresses the same idea, is more familiar to
readers. All the same, Robert Herrick might have been writing to the people
of Zimbabwe, brutalised as they are by a regime that excels in rigging the
vote, concentrating state power and repressing all manner of dissent.

      The message from the poet to us would be: do not put off what must be
done today no matter how difficult and dirty and unsavoury. Rather, proceed
to implement immediate effort and energy to the vital task at hand;
effecting regime change in Zimbabwe.

      And yet that task is formidable, so formidable in fact that Morgan
Tsvangirai, that doyen of reformists, appeared to shirk from it when he
recently told supporters that he was no saviour and that Zimbabweans must go
to the streets themselves and fight for their liberty.

      Some in despair have called for foreign power intervention
"Bush-in-Baghdad style". They argue that even though Mugabe might not have
weapons of mass destruction to threaten his neighbours with like his friend
in Baghdad, the spill-over from his violent agrarian reform are nevertheless
similarly devastating to the southern Africa region.

      There are however, many good reasons why we must not allow a foreign
power to intervene directly in our struggle, not least being the fact that
the West is duplicitous and double-headed like the proverbial snake.

      There should be a worse word than hypocrisy to describe how the
Reagan-Bush administration for instance, authorised the sale of poisonous
chemicals and deadly biological viruses, from anthrax to bubonic plague,
throughout the 80's to Saddam's regime in flagrant violation of the Geneva
Protocol of 1925, which outlaws chemical warfare.

      History will forever tell us how the then special envoy for the
administration, Donald Rumsfeld who now runs the war on Iraq, met face to
face with Saddam Hussein in December of 1983 to offer US support and
military backing in Iraq's brutal war against Iran, during which millions of
civilians were slaughtered.

      To this end, the US armed Saddam Hussein with a terrifying arsenal of
fighter planes, helicopters, tanks, cluster bombs, germs and lethal
chemicals. During this period too, Saddam stashed away blood money estimated
at US$30 billion in a web of accounts and shareholdings across Europe and
the Middle East.

      The Americans and others in the West conveniently turned a blind eye
to all this. Only after Saddam mis-stepped and began to threaten Western
access to Persian Gulf oil, which at 20 million barrels a day accounts for a
staggering one-quarter of world supply, did he become the "butcher of
Baghdad" and the father of terrorism.

      Similarly, in Zimbabwe, no Western voice was heard to rebuke Mugabe's
government for the gukurahundi atrocities which lasted for almost a decade,
beginning in the early 1980's and in which thousands of Ndebeles were
systemically killed and maimed during what was purportedly a war against

      Throughout that period and beyond in which Mugabe was promiscuous in
the use of violence, he continued to be the darling of the West and was
dined and wined across the breadth of the Western world, collecting an
impressive array of awards and citations for leadership and economic
stewardship from their governments and institutions. Back then he was in
tandem with the West's strategic aims. In fact as Robin Cook, then the
United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary, pointed out in a debate in the House of
Commons, "Lady Thatcher increased aid by £10 million at the time of the
massacres". (Hansard - Commons, March 27 2001).

      Only when Mugabe began to seize white-owned land did he become the
evil one, the dictator and the brutal Marxist. Then the aid dried up, the
adulations ceased and some even called for a revocation of the awards heaped
on him. It became apparent that the West is a fair-weather friend.

      Apart from this disquiet with the West's double standards, there is no
gainsaying the fact that allowing the West to intervene directly will play
directly into Mugabe's hands. It will be the evidence that he needs to prove
the existence of an imperialist agenda by the West.

      His legacy as the modern day defender of Pan-Africanism would be
secure forever. Witness how the African elites such as Thabo Mbeki and
others who ironically are the architects of NEPAD, the African renaissance's
blueprint which emphasises the importance of good governance as a
prerequisite to African prosperity based on development partnership with the
West, have failed to criticise their comrade. They seem to have bought
Mugabe's cheap propaganda to consistently depict the Zimbabwean crisis as a
colonial issue.

      The fear of a Western agenda would not be without cause. Those that
propagate it point to the current war against Iraq and in particular to the
possible post-conflict scenario. There is growing alarm, especially in the
Arab world, at plans to appoint a host of Americans to top administrative
jobs to run oil-rich Iraq after the war, albeit for a transitional period.
Apart from that, there is the American plan to foist upon the Iraqis the
pro-American Ahmed Chalabi as leader in the same manner that Hamid Karzai
was installed in Afghanistan.

      Then there are the lucrative contracts for reconstruction work in Iraq
which have long been dished out to predominantly American companies. The
United Nations will apparently have a very limited role in this set-up. This
reinforces the fear that Americans harbour neo-colonial tendencies and have
little commitment to multi-lateralism and the United Nations.

      Whatever the real motives of the Americans, we must not desire, or
indeed expect salvation from outsiders. Western and indeed the entire
international community's support, would be ideal, but not direct
intervention unless a multi-lateral effort spearheaded by the United Nations
were to be launched. Outside that, we as Zimbabweans will have to master the
will power to deliver our own 'shock and awe' to Robert Mugabe.

      But we will need a coherent plan of action based on wider consensus
and a concerted mobilisation effort. The struggle to unseat an ugly regime,
like any thing indeed, is half won on the drawing table. The diagnosis
first, then the painful surgery. Here is my own contribution to the market
of ideas on the way forward. I call it the Six-Point Plan of Immediate

        a.. First, form a loose, supra-party alliance of all Zimbabweans
committed to regime change and group under an Alliance for Change. To this
end, business, the student movement and Zimbabweans in the diaspora must be
courted as strategic partners in the alliance. Only those who imagine
themselves to be bigger than Zimbabwe and who seek to build their own
empires within their MDC, NCA, Crisis Zimbabwe or such other organisations
might remain un-persuaded.
        b.. Secondly, as individual members of this alliance, boycott all
manner of taxes (including income and corporate taxes and levies);
government businesses and media and refrain from advertising therein. I for
one cannot understand anyone who still places an advert in the Herald.
        c.. Thirdly, as a wider alliance, mobilise for a more sustained
programme of mass stayaways and demonstrations. Things must never be done in
half measures. Something must give before we pause. As Martin Luther King
would say, "This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to
take the tranquilising drug of gradualism".
        d.. Fourth, to the extent that the role of the international
community must be that of supporting Zimbabweans in their just struggle and
not to actively intervene, the services of leading authors, politicians,
intellectuals and celebrities must be enlisted to publicise the plight of
Zimbabwe, especially now that world attention is elsewhere.
        e.. At the same time, the campaign for the sustainance and increase
of targeted sanctions which impact on the regime itself and not the ordinary
Zimbabweans must move a notch higher. The international community must also
be invited to support home grown institutions that foster a culture of
participatory democracy as well as play a part in capacity building.
        f.. Fifth, initiate the appointment of a United Nations Special
Rapporteur to visit Zimbabwe and investigate and make a report of the gross
abuses of human rights that take place daily with a view to tabling same
before the United Nations in order to bring pressure to bear on the regime.
        g.. Sixth, come up with a post-Mugabe plan of action that addresses
the problems of neo-patrimonialism and the privatisation of state power as
well as an economic blueprint that acknowledges that good macro-economic
governance is a parallel and essential component of development and change.
Removing Mugabe must be a means to that end otherwise the legitimate
discontent of Zimbabweans will not pass.
      The opportunity for change, so palpable in the air now, must not pass
us by. It has been many years since Professor George Kahari taught us that
vital idea at Kutama Mission. I hear he recently opposed Mugabe's "scorched
earth" policies. It must be difficult to openly oppose a fellow alumni. But
that would be like the man who introduced me and my peers to the world of
Robert Herrick, the poet. And long dead as that poet might be, he speaks to
us yet, "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may".

      Tapfumanei Nyawanza is a Zimbabwean lawyer studying in the UK. He can
be reached at
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      Million dollar ticket racket at Air Zim

      By Luke Tamborinyoka News Editor
      4/10/03 3:49:13 AM (GMT +2)

      THE police's Criminal Investigations Department (CID) is investigating
a ticket scam run by a syndicate of officials at Air Zimbabwe, which could
have prejudiced the financially troubled national airline of over $35
million, the Financial Gazette has established.

      Sources at the company said officials in the reservations section and
other departments involved in ticket purchasing had taken advantage of
loopholes in the ticketing system, resulting in Air Zimbabwe flying
passengers to London for free while employees pocketed millions of dollars.
      According to information made available to the Financial Gazette, the
officials would create the impression that airfares for passengers flying to
and from London had been paid in foreign currency at the parastatal's
offices in the British capital.
      Because of the large number of Zimbabweans living abroad, especially
in the United Kingdom, it has become common for passengers to fly from
Zimbabwe using tickets purchased by their relatives overseas.
      The airfares are cheaper when paid in foreign currency, but run into
millions of dollars when converted into the local currency.
      But sources said in some cases where passengers were said to have paid
for air travel in London, Air Zimbabwe would not receive the foreign
currency supposedly paid for tickets.
      Passengers would instead have paid a fee to the company's employees,
resulting in the airline flying them for free, the sources added.
      They said the syndicate involved in the ticketing scam would create
fictitious documents and pass them on to the airline's finance department
for accounting purposes, even though no money had been paid for tickets.
      "What it means is that Air Zimbabwe carried these passengers for free,
at the same time leaving fully-paid passengers for lack of space," a source
told the Financial Gazette.
      "The London office was not aware, but if proper procedures were
followed, coupled with a proper monitoring mechanism, the scam would have
been discovered a long time ago," the source added.
      Zimbabwe Republic Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said the fraud
squad of the CID was investigating the ticket scam.
      He said one person had already been arrested in connection with a
potential prejudice of $5 million after falsely claiming that nine tickets
had been paid for in the United Kingdom.
      "We are completing our investigations and we will soon be handing over
the docket to the attorney-general," Bvudzijena said. "I cannot say much
about the issue because that may prejudice the case."
      Air Zimbabwe insiders however said millions of dollars had changed
hands as part of the scam, especially between September and October last
year, when the airline planned to introduce new measures to tighten the
ticketing system in its reservations department.
      Air Zimbabwe's managing director Rambai Chingwena yesterday confirmed
that the ticketing system had been abused by employees in the reservations
department and that the scam also involved two travel agents.
      But he said the company had taken corrective measures by introducing a
new system.
      "I can confirm that we are changing our airline booking system, not
because of these problems, but because we want to improve our service to
passengers," he said, adding that the matter was still under investigation
by the police.
      The Financial Gazette has a list of 18 passengers who travelled from
Harare to London between October 23 and November 28 2002, but who allegedly
obtained their tickets fraudulently and prejudiced the troubled parastatal
of over $12 million.
      The fraud allegedly took place at the passenger services desk at
Harare International Airport, where employees at the traffic section were
working with those in the airline's selling offices at Eastgate and Travel
Plaza in Harare and with some travel agents.
      They said the syndicate would issue tickets that had not been paid
      But Air Zimbabwe insiders said investigations into the scam had to be
widened to include those responsible for accounting for daily ticket
transactions, their supervisors, sales department staff and internal
      They said failure to do so could leave several corrupt officials in
the system, who would continue to fleece the debt-ridden company.
      The airline has a debt of US$10 million that management expects to hit
US$21 million before the end of this year. The company made a profit of $100
million last year, but company executives say the airline could post a loss
in 2002 because its salary bill has shot up by 300 percent.
      Air Zimbabwe has been hit by the sharp decline in foreign tourists
travelling to Zimbabwe, while domestic air travel has also fallen because of
rising airfares and the drop in disposable incomes.
      The national airline is operating below capacity, and has been reduced
to flying only five aircraft that require constant maintenance.
      The company has reportedly lost billions of dollars in foreign
currency through the payment of bonus fees, intermediaries, travel
allowances and kickbacks to management in a botched deal to acquire two
50-seater aircraft from France.
      Air Zimbabwe management has however denied the charges.
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      ZESA offered 25% stake in Mozambique power utility

      By Godfrey Marawanyika Senior Reporter
      4/10/03 3:50:47 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has been invited to
take up a 25 percent stake in Mozambican power utility Hydro Electrica
Cahorra Bassa (HCB)'s main power station, in a deal that could provide a
respite for ZESA, under pressure to settle arrears to regional power

      According to a Ministry of Energy and Power Development document dated
March 26 2003, a copy of which is in the possession of the Financial
Gazette, the offer was made with the support of the Mozambican government.
      The Energy Ministry document said ZESA has been invited to take up 25
percent equity in Cahorra Bassa Power Station, the Mozambican power utility'
s main electricity generation facility.
      The Zimbabwean power utility has also been invited to take up a stake
in the development of Cahorra Bassa North Bank Power Station and the "second
400kv (kilovolt) transmission line from Cahorra Bassa to Zimbabwe via
Bindura and Dema," according to the document.
      The report added: "A draft memorandum of understanding between the
government of Zimbabwe and the government of Mozambique is under
consideration by the Cabinet committee on legislation."
      Sources close to the matter said the offer would soon be presented to
Zimbabwe's Cabinet for consideration.
      It was not possible to ascertain from Energy Minister Amos Midzi when
the proposal might be submitted to Cabinet. The minister was said to be in a
meeting and was not reachable on his mobile phone.
      The offer from HCB comes in the wake of failure by ZESA to service
debts owed to regional power suppliers from who it imports electricity to
supplement the power generated by its stations at Kariba, Hwange, Bulawayo,
Harare and Munyati.
      HCB last month reduced supplies to ZESA because of debt repayment
arrears, while South Africa's Eskom has also been pressing for payment.
      The company has been classified as an interruptible customer by
suppliers because of debt arrears, the result of Zimbabwe's severe foreign
currency shortages.
      ZESA, which has been forced to introduce load-shedding because of the
reduction of supplies, needs at least US$165 million to pay arrears to the
World Bank, European Investment Bank, Africa Development Bank and suppliers
of imported power and spare parts.
      Because of foreign currency constraints that could affect ZESA's
ability to take up HCB's offer, the Energy and Power Development Ministry
recommends in its March 26 document that the Mozambican company should be
given the opportunity to take up equity in the Zimbabwean parastatal.
      "To avert foreign currency constraints in such investment,
consideration must be given to HCB taking up equity in our power plants,"
the document says.
      It added: "Such equity would be matched with equity ZESA would take in
HCB. Equity in regional utilities would enable Zimbabwe to diversify its
sources of power and thereby enhance security of supply."
      The ministry recommended that if the government and ZESA failed to
raise foreign currency for the proposed deal, any "Zimbabwean organisation
with the ability to do so would be asked" to assist.
      But industrialists this week said the loss-making ZESA might face
difficulties in convincing local companies to participate in such an
      Officials from the power utility and from the Energy and Power
Development Ministry on Tuesday failed to secure promises from industry
representatives that they would assist ZESA to raise hard cash to import
power and pay debt arrears.
      Sources privy to the discussions said ZESA wanted to know whether
companies would be interested in raising foreign currency and selling it to
the power utility at an exchange rate still to be decided.
      They said the parastatal had sent letters to companies in the last
week of March, asking for their assistance in raising forex.
      Industry representatives said ZESA had been told at Tuesday's meeting
that companies had not yet committed themselves to the scheme.
      "ZESA did not get the commitment and foreign currency pledges it had
sought and the situation is not likely to improve any time soon," a source
told the Financial Gazette.
      Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries acting chief executive Farai
Zizhou, who attended Tuesday's meeting, had not responded to questions from
this paper at the time of going to print.
      ZESA requires US$17 million per month for power payments and is unable
to secure sufficient hard cash from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
      Regional supply agreements that have sustained the company in the last
few years are expected to expire in 2007, forcing the parastatal to consider
upgrading its existing power stations and building new ones.
      But analysts say such projects will be hampered by funding
constraints, adding that HCB's offer would provide a respite for ZESA,
guaranteeing electricity supplies for some time.
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      ZESA uses parallel market rates for bills

      Staff Reporter
      4/10/03 1:13:44 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) is using parallel
market rates of up to $1 600 to the United States dollar to charge tariffs
for its industrial consumers, who are paid a rate of $824:US$1 for their
export earnings, according to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries

      Exporters said ZESA had begun sending them bills denominated in United
States dollars even though it had been denied permission by the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe to demand payment from exporting companies in foreign currency.

      Zimbabwe's power utility, which imports 35 percent of its electricity
needs from regional suppliers to meet domestic demand, wanted payment in
foreign currency so that it could settle arrears owed on its debts with
suppliers and continue importing power.

      The exporters said they had been receiving bills denominated in United
States dollars since February, but were paying the tariffs in local

      CZI acting chief executive Farai Zizhou said exporting companies were
being charged US8 cents a kilowatt hour (Kwh), which was converted at a rate
between $1 400 to $1 600 against the American greenback.

      ZESA however insists that it is charging US3.2 cents/kwh at the
official mid-rate of $824:US$1.

      Zizhou said as a result, there was now a huge difference between
tariffs charged to non-exporting companies and to exporters. Non-exporters
are charged $1 945/kwh, compared to between $11 200 and $12 800/kwh for
exporting companies.

      "The tariff rate being applied seems inconsistent as it differs from
company to company with some companies reporting US8 cents per kwh, compared
with the US3.2 cents per kwh that ZESA said it was using," Zizhou said in
the CZI's monthly newsletter for March.

      "The Zimbabwe dollar tariff given as an alternative is based on an
exchange rate of between 1 400 and 1 600 Zimbabwe dollars to the US dollar.
Exporters are getting 824 Zimbabwe dollars per US dollar."

      Exporters are required to remit half of their earnings to the central
bank at a rate of $824 against the United States dollar, with the remainder
of their proceeds also being lodged with the Reserve Bank to be held on
their behalf.

      Previously, exporting companies had to remit 40 percent of their
proceeds and could exchange the remaining 60 percent on the parallel market,
which is offering more lucrative exchange rates.

      Analysts this week said by using parallel market rates to convert its
tariffs into Zimbabwe dollars, ZESA was pushing up operating costs for
exporting companies, whose earnings are exchanged at $824.

      They said this could worsen the operating environment for firms,
already hard hit by soaring inflation as well as raw material shortages.

      Meanwhile, Zizhou said industrialists were also concerned that there
was no evidence that the government was treating recent power cuts by
regional suppliers as an issue that had to be urgently resolved.

      Mozambique last month reduced supplies because of arrears, while ZESA
is also under pressure from South Africa's Eskom to settle outstanding
payments on its debt. The reduction of imported supplies resulted in ZESA
load-shedding for both domestic and industrial consumers.

      Zizhou said the private sector had called for an emergency meeting of
the government-business-labour Tripartite Negotiating Forum to discuss the
problems affecting ZESA.

      It was not however possible to immediately establish when the meeting
would take place.

      The CZI's acting chief executive said power cuts would continue in the
meantime and that ZESA was now working with the government to come up with a
load-shedding schedule.

      "Some business people feel there is no evidence of government treating
the power cuts as an emergency and have decided to call for an emergency
meeting of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum to find an all inclusive
solution," Zizhou said.

      "Power cuts are going to continue and ZESA is working with government
to work out a schedule," he added.

      He said it was also not clear how the government was utilising the 50
percent of export proceeds that is surrendered to the Reserve Bank, from
which ZESA is supposed to benefit.

      "It is unclear as to what is happening to the 50 percent of foreign
currency earnings surrendered to the RBZ. Part of it is supposed to be used
to pay for electricity but this has not happened so far," said Zizhou.
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      Govt bid to crush MDC intensifies

      By Luke Tamborinyoka News Editor
      4/10/03 2:08:25 AM (GMT +2)

      THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has come under
fresh siege, in what analysts say is an attempt by the government to
intimidate the party's top leadership and instil fear in the nation ahead of
mass action to press for a resolution of Zimbabwe's political and economic

      Since the MDC called for a job stayaway that shut down industry for
two days in the middle of last month, the party says several of its
supporters and top officials have been arrested or harassed.
      The opposition party says about 500 of its supporters have been
detained in the past two weeks, as have been its vice president, Gibson
Sibanda, and spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi.
      Sibanda has been charged with contravening the Public Order and
Security Act (POSA) by organising a mass action, while Nyathi is also due to
be charged under POSA.
      "The arrest of Nyathi adds to a growing list of MDC leaders and party
activists who have become victims of (President Robert) Mugabe's incited
crackdown on the opposition, aimed at crushing the MDC," the opposition
party's secretary-general Welshman Ncube said in a statement after Nyathi's
arrest on Monday.
      "This crackdown, which involves the militia, the army, state agents
and the police, has resulted in torture in police custody, rape (and) broken
limbs. At least 500 MDC supporters and leaders have been arrested and
tortured in the last two weeks. One MDC supporter, Steven Tonera, has died
as a result of torture in the last two weeks while at least 100 supporters
are in hospital today."
      MDC officials say several party supporters have fallen victim to a
campaign of retribution perpetrated by state security agents after the
ruling ZANU PF lost parliamentary by-elections in the Harare high-density
suburbs of Highfield and Kuwadzana at the end of last month.
      The government has denied the charges, with the army announcing this
week that 23 army deserters had confessed to conniving with the MDC to
commit acts of terror during last month's stayaway and to brutalise members
of the public to discredit ZANU PF.
      MDC presidential spokesman William Bango this week denied the
allegations, dismissing the alleged deserters as "ZANU PF thugs" and
accusing the government of attempting to destroy the opposition party in the
high-density suburbs, where it enjoys significant support.
      University of Zimbabwe lecturer Lovemore Madhuku told the Financial
Gazette: "The intention is obviously to cow the opposition leaders, send
fear right across the ordinary people and spread the message that if people
proceed with any action detrimental to the government, the security forces
will deal with them."
      Political analyst John Makumbe added: "They want to show Zimbabweans
that the government will deal with them if they dare attempt to unseat it."
      The MDC gave Mugabe a two-week ultimatum at the conclusion of last
month's stayaway to agree to a negotiated political solution or face mass
protests that would involve marches to his Munhumutapa building offices and
his residence at State House.
      Party officials have indicated that the mass protests are still on the
cards since Mugabe had not responded to the MDC's demands by the expiry of
the ultimatum's deadline on March 31.
      Political commentators said mounting public pressure on the MDC to
announce a date for the protests and not to lose the momentum of last month'
s overwhelmingly supported stayaway had contributed to the latest crackdown
against the opposition.
      "The important thing is that these signs of panic and repression must
not cow the opposition because there is no struggle without casualties,"
Madhuku said. "This repression must make them overcome fear and get
emboldened in their struggle for democracy in this country."
      Analysts said the latest siege against the opposition was in line with
Mugabe's terse warning to the MDC at the burial of Higher Education Minister
Swithun Mombeshora in March, and was aimed not at merely intimidating the
party but in completely crushing it.
      Mugabe warned that "dangerous mischief-makers" abusing freedom of
expression to promote violence and terrorism would be dealt with "promptly
and with vigour".
      "Let the MDC be warned that those who play with fire will not only be
burnt but consumed by that fire," he said.
      Commentators said the government's objective was to cripple the MDC's
structures from the top to ensure that once destroyed, it would not be able
to resurrect itself.
      They pointed out that three of the party's top leaders, president
Morgan Tsvangirai, secretary-general Welshman Ncube and shadow minister for
agriculture Renson Gasela, were already on trial for treason.
      The three are accused of plotting to assassinate Mugabe in the run-up
to last year's presidential poll, charges that they deny.
      MDC treasurer Fletcher Dulini-Ncube is also facing murder charges
relating to the abduction and killing of war veterans' leader Cain Nkala,
while several of the party's members of Parliament also have cases pending
in the courts.
      The analysts said the detention of MDC leaders and supporters was
likely to escalate in the next few weeks following the arrest of alleged
army deserters who claim to have links with an alleged underground military
wing of the opposition party.
      The so-called deserters allege that they were recruited by the MDC to
bomb service stations, among other terrorist acts, during last month's
stayaway and to pose as soldiers to terrorise members of the public and
discredit the army.
      Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena indicated this week that more people
accused of participating in the terror campaign would be arrested in a
countrywide operation.
      "It (confession of alleged deserters) provides the appropriate excuse
to justify repression and to send everyone scurrying for cover," Madhuku
said. "It's a systematic way of diverting the MDC's focus from the national
crisis and get it bogged down in a litany of court cases battling for its
own survival and its leaders'."
      Commentators said the growing repression would test the resolve of the
MDC, but could also ultimately work against the government by forcing
Zimbabweans to rally around the opposition party.
      Madhuku said: "If they (MDC) buckle because of these arrests, they
will allow this regime to proclaim victory from this repression.
      "The arrests are a testing point because they must feel emboldened
rather than intimidated by this clampdown on dissenting voices which is a
prime characteristic of a regime living its last days."
      Makumbe said the arrests would attract the attention of the
international community, which is focused on attempts to unseat Iraqi leader
Saddam Hussein by a United States-led coalition.
      "The arrests make the MDC leaders popular among the people and are a
meaningful prize to carry for the opposition," Makumbe told the Financial
Gazette. "For ZANU PF, they have the effect of bringing Zimbabwe back in the
net of conflict-ridden areas deserving international attention.
      "This desperate party is definitely shooting itself in the foot and
the knee as well," he added.
      But political analyst Heneri Dzinotyiwei said ordinary Zimbabweans
were likely to be the worst affected by the stand-off between the country's
two main political parties, which could result in a violent confrontation.
      He urged dialogue, which some analysts say is Zimbabwe's best chance
of overcoming the political impasse.
      He said: "We have two parties obsessed with the issue of power. One is
so worried about getting into power while the other is prepared to use
whatever means to maintain it, including repression.
      "We definitely have to move away from this kind of politics because we
are likely to see a bloody confrontation which benefits no-one. There must
be a paradigm shift from this to a more dialogical approach between the two
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      'Green Bombers'using rape as political weapon

      By Mercedes Sayagues
      4/10/03 2:09:09 AM (GMT +2)

      JOHANNESBURG - "In a Dark Time", a documentary film about sexual abuse
in Zimbabwe perpetrated by pro-government militia, premiered last week at
Witwatersrand University, one of South Africa's most respected tertiary

      In the film, 16-year-old Sarudzai recalled how she was alone in the
family home with three younger siblings when militiamen surrounded it.
      Her father was at a funeral. Her mother was in the bush, hiding from
the militia. Fearing they would set the hut on fire, Sarudzai stepped out.
She was raped right there, she said, to punish her mother for supporting
Zimbabwe's opposition party.
      Sarudzai and other women featured in the documentary said their
attackers were militiamen known as the "Green Bombers", a government-created
youth brigade often accused of human rights abuse.
      For protection, the film maker and women interviewed have remained
      The event, organised by Wits Institute for Social and Economic
Research, sought to alert academics and human rights activists about
gender-based human rights abuses, like gang rape and sexual torture,
reportedly taking place in Zimbabwe.
      "We need to break the silence of academia and human rights
institutions in South Africa about what is happening in our neighbourhood,"
said Sheila Meintes, a member of South Africa's Commission on Gender
Equality and a lecturer in political studies at Witwatersrand University.
      International human rights watchdogs like Amnesty International, Human
Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group and Physicians for Human Rights
have documented systematic rape and sexual torture of women during Zimbabwe'
s political violence since 2000.
      Last year, Amnesty International warned about "mounting reports of
rape and sexual torture by the militia, continuing the pattern seen before
presidential elections in March 2002".
      Tony Reeler, regional human rights defender with the Institute for
Democracy in South Africa, described what he said was a new pattern of
sexual violence in Zimbabwe.
      During 2000 and early 2001, human rights watchdogs documented
widespread torture of opposition supporters. About 40 percent of these were
women. They were beaten up, stripped naked and humiliated, but few were
raped or sexually abused.
      After June 2001, rape and sexual torture of women became more
prevalent and brutal. It allegedly happened in front of family and
neighbours. As a result, the whole community experienced the psychological
      "One individual's physical torture becomes a mass psychological
torture," explained Reeler.
      The Zimbabwean government has dismissed reports by local and
international human rights groups that rape is used as a political weapon.
      "Yes, we have seen the allegations, but I don't need to tell you that
definitely these are fabrications," Betty Dimbi, an official in the
Department of Information said.
      No further comment could be obtained this week from the Zimbabwean
      Rape remains the least condemned war crime, concluded the United
Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, referring to Rwanda
and other civil wars in the late 1990s.
      The tide, though, is turning. In 2001, in a historic decision to
acknowledge rape as a war crime, the International Criminal Tribunal for the
former Yugoslavia began prosecuting rapists.
      This, says Amnesty International, "challenges the widespread
acceptance that torture of women is an intrinsic part of war."
      The Rwanda Tribunal is explicitly empowered to prosecute rape as a
crime against humanity and a violation of the Geneva Conventions.
      South African judge Richard Goldstone, a former prosecutor for the
Rwanda Tribunal, found that sexual assault can constitute torture and be
prosecuted as a transgression of international humanitarian law.
      International law condemns rape and other forms of sexual violence as
war crimes. The Geneva Conventions of 1949 were later strengthened by
Protocol II, which extends protection to victims of rape, enforced
prostitution or indecent assault during conflict.
      Broadly, four kinds of rape can be identified in conflict.
      Genocidal rape, as in Rwanda and the Balkans, seeks to destroy an
ethnic or political group perceived as being the enemy.
      Political rape punishes individuals, families or communities who hold
different political views.
      Opportunistic rape takes place when combatants run amok, assured of
impunity in a lawless context.
      Forced concubinage involves the conscription or kidnapping of young
girls to wash, cook, porter and have sex with soldiers and militiamen. The
Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association estimated that some 1 000 women were held
in militia camps in 2002.
      The last three forms of rape are found in Zimbabwe, said Reeler.
      Tina Sideris, a South African researcher and activist on gender-based
violence, noted the general invisibility of sexual abuse of women during
conflicts in Southern Africa.
      Rape and forced concubinage were frequent during the long-running
civil wars in Mozambique and Angola, but ignored in South African media and
political circles, she said.
      Even in South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)
"didn't deal with rape as a gross human rights abuse. Women were raped in
detention and in guerrilla bases, raped by the enemy and by comrades," she
      The TRC devoted a great deal of time to the murder and torture of
freedom fighters, but only one day to listen to abused women.
      "Awareness of the gender dimension in human rights abuses is missing,"
said Meintes.
      In conflicts throughout the world, sexual violence is routinely
directed at females as a conscious strategy, although commanders and
politicians may dismiss it as isolated incidents by rogue soldiers.
      "Rape in conflict is a weapon to terrorise and degrade a particular
community and to achieve a specific political end," said a Human Rights
Watch report.
      "The rape of one person is translated into an assault upon the
community through the emphasis placed in every culture on women's sexual
virtue. The shame of the rape humiliates the family and all those associated
with the survivor."
      "I act, I feel differently from the other girls," Sarudzai said in the
documentary. "I am not a virgin any more. It happened against my will. Maybe
I have HIV. I wish I'd die. Then I'd feel no pain."
      Sideris points out that post-conflict program-mes don't deal
adequately with gender violence.
      One reason is underreporting. Out of shame, economic vulnerability and
powerlessness, women keep quiet about sexual abuse.
      In Zimbabwe, "the most vulnerable, the poorest, uneducated, unemployed
rural women like Sarudzai . . . are abused, which makes it all the more
sinister," said Reeler.
      "We have a responsibility to speak out against human rights abuses and
the time has come to do so," concluded Meintes. - Irin
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