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

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Business Day

Mugabe's reforms a sham, report finds


A CONFIDENTIAL report by Commonwealth secretary-general Donald McKinnon,
which was sent to the body's 55 heads of government this week, pours cold
water on claims by President Thabo Mbeki and his Nigerian counterpart,
Olusegun Obasanjo, that the situation in Zimbabwe is improving.

The report, a copy of which has been obtained by Business Day, was intended
to back up the work of a Commonwealth troika on Zimbabwe, made up of Mbeki,
Obasanjo and Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

But the troika, which suspended Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth in March last
year, fell apart when Mbeki and Obasanjo resisted moves to prolong the
suspension on the grounds of Zimbabwe's failure to make progress in key

The report is likely to put pressure on the Southern African Development
Community task force on Zimbabwe to press Harare on reforms if it is to
maintain credibility.

It concludes that there has been no positive response from Harare to the
Commonwealth's demands which included political dialogue and national
reconciliation, the normalisation of political activity and the promotion of
transparent and equitable land reform. "Overall, the general political,
economic and social situation has deteriorated."

McKinnon says all his efforts, "direct and indirect, to engage in dialogue
with President (Robert) Mugabe have been rebuffed".

Undertakings given to Mbeki and Obasanjo by Mugabe had also not been

The report refers to "a systematic campaign of violence and intimidation by
agents of the state and Zanu (PF)" against the main opposition party, the
Movement for Democratic Change.
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Business Day

Zimbabwe arrests dismissed as propaganda


Harare Correspondent

ZIMBABWE is trying to mend its image by arresting "rogue soldiers" accused
of fanning political violence.

This is evidently in preparation for the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) visit to Zimbabwe, possibly this week, to tackle the
country's economic and political problems.

In a joint operation, police and troops arrested 26 Zimbabwe National Army
"deserters". The government claims they had "suspected links with an
underground military wing of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change

Although the government is seeking to link the arrested soldiers with the
MDC, the opposition says this is propaganda designed to create an impression
that it is dealing with lawlessness.

Government has in the past arrested and paraded soldiers, linking some of
them with Mozambique's former rebel movement, Renamo, and apartheid SA to
justify repression.

Harare alleges that the MDC trained soldiers to overthrow President Robert
Mugabe. Uganda was linked to purported training of the MDC "troops".

The swoop on "errant" army officers followed a recent upsurge in violence by
armed militants in army uniforms and a state crackdown on dissent.

The MDC said the soldiers beat up people on official orders.

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo defended the deployment of soldiers this
week. He said they were there "to deal with terrorists who throw petrol
bombs and plant dynamite under bridges and in public buildings".

Army spokesman Maj Alphios Makotore denied the army was beating up people.

Government claims of reform include promises of legislative amendments and
dialogue with white farmers. The government has been promising to amend
press laws and the Citizenship Act to accommodate immigrants from the region
in the country since independence in 1980, and using this as evidence of

Harare also claims the land issue is now being finalised, and efforts are
under way to resolve outstanding differences with white farmers.

But the smokescreen seems to be collapsing as farmers refused last week to
sign a memorandum of understanding with government on the way forward,
saying that the document did not address their grievances.

Since then the farmers have been attacked as "irrelevant and unrepentant
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Business Day

      Zimbabwe unions condemn evictions


      Harare Correspondent

      THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions has condemned the eviction of
farm workers from Charleswood Estate, owned by opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) MP Roy Bennet.

      "The (congress) is deeply concerned by reports of continued harassment
of farm workers, allegedly perpetrated by Zanu (PF) party activists, the
police, members of the Central Intelligence Organisation and soldiers," the
labour movement said.

      The Zimbabwean High Court ruled on Tuesday that Bennet's 1000 workers
should be allowed to return to Charleswood Estate in Chimanimani from where
they were evicted last week by state agents and Zanu (PF) militants.

      The union said Bennet's workers were being victimised for political
reasons. It said police should implement the court order by providing
security to returning farm workers.

      "We have had cases in this country where the police have refused to
carry out court orders after getting directives from politicians and we
would like to believe that, this time around, they will not find themselves
in the same situation," the union said.

      The militant labour movement demanded that government should prosecute
"those responsible for farm workers' evictions, alleged beatings and

      Thousands of farm workers, mostly of Malawian, Zambian and Mozambican
origin, have been displaced by farm invasions and government land reforms.
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The Star

      Official takes plunge as women fume
      April 10, 2003

      Harare - A Zimbabwean government official jumped out of a third-floor
window to escape a beating by angry female war veterans demanding ownership
papers for land they seized from white farmers.

      A police official said that 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.

      The 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 violent land seizure programme.

      The police official confirmed that five women had been arrested over
the attack, which a local newspaper said the government official had been
lucky to survive.

      Mugabe's government has seized almost three-quarters of the farms
owned by Zimbabwe's 4 500 white commercial farmers, a policy blamed for
plunging the country into its worst political and economic crisis since
independence from Britain in 1980. - Reuters
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Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2003 8:29 PM
Subject: Fwd: [aisan] Second Update to Urgent Action #UA 81/03 on Zimbabwe

OK the news about the situation is starting to increase. The SADC will send a Fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe but the Government will have a voice on the mission. Also today the Commonwealth report by the Troika and the Secretary-General was released also today it was not a flattering portrait of the Human Rights Situation there.

Scott A. Morgan
Hello Southern Africa RAN Activists,

A success!  Thank you to all those who
contributed to this release.
There are still others incarcerated, however.
Please consider forwarding this to your
members and friends for action.
Ask them to either copy you on their letters
and emails, or ask them to let you know how
many letters they sent.

....then let us know!

Kris Roehling
RAN Assistant
404-876-5661 x18


Go to
to read this month's newsletter.

8 April 2003

Further Information on UA 81/03 issued 21 March 2003 and
re-issued 28 March 2003
Arrest and detention without charge/abduction/fear for

Austin Mupandawana (m) Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) Member of Parliament for Kadoma Central
Calisto Tsvangirai (m)
Francis Musiniwa (m)
Tongai Ndemberembe (m)
- MDC activists

An unknown number of other MDC activists

Austin Mupandawana, Calisto Tsvangirai, Francis Musiniwa,
Tongai Ndemberembe and 24 other Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) activists were released from Kadoma prison on 4
April. They had been held for 17 days. Initially the court had
denied them bail and remanded them in custody until 9 April.
However, they were granted bail on 4 April and are are
scheduled to appear in court on 9 April, to answer charges of
destroying property.

The 28 men were arrested on 19 March and charged under the
Public Order and Security Act (POSA) with public violence and
sabotage during the national two day mass "stay-away" of 18
and 19 March. Austin Mupandawana, Calisto Tsvangirai, Francis
Musiniwa and Tongai Ndemberembe claimed that they had been
assaulted and tortured while in police custody, and Tongai
Ndembere was attacked by a police dog. None of the men was
given access to medical treatment in detention. After their
release, all four men received hospital treatment.

Though most of those arrested during the national "stay-away"
have now been released, among the MDC activists still missing
are eight activists reportedly abducted in the Budiriro and
Mabvuku suburbs of Harare by supporters of the ruling ZANU-
PF party.

Many thanks to all who sent appeals. Amnesty International
will continue to investigate the cases of those still missing in
Zimbabwe.  If possible, please send a final round of appeals:

- welcoming the release of Austin Mupandawana, Calisto
Tsvangirai, Francis Musiniwa, Tongai Ndemberembe and 24
other Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists;

- expressing concern that Austin Mupandawana, Calisto
Tsvangirai, Francis Musiniwa and Tongai Ndemberembe were
beaten and tortured while in police custody, and were denied
access to medical treatment in contravention of the Standard
Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and the United
Nations Convention Against Torture;

- calling for an immediate and impartial investigation into the
alleged beating and torture of Austin Mupandawana, Calisto
Tsvangirai, Francis Musiniwa and Tongai Ndemberembe, for the
results to be made public and for those responsible to be brought
to justice;

- calling for the immediate release of those reportedly abducted
and urging that those responsible for the abductions be brought
to justice.

APPEALS TO: (It is sometimes difficult to get through to
Zimbabwe fax numbers but please keep trying; if you cannot
get through please send your appeal by airmail)

Minister of Home Affairs:
The Honourable Khembo Mohadi
11th Floor Mukwati Building
Private Bag 7703
Telegram:   Minister of Home Affairs, Harare, Zimbabwe
Fax:        011 263 4 726 716
Salutation:       Dear Minister

Police Commissioner:
Mr. Augustine Chihuri
Police Headquarters
P.O Box 8807
Telegram:    Augustine Chihuri, Police Headquarters,
Harare, Zimbabwe
Fax:        011 263 4 726 084/ 235 212/ 728 768
Salutation:        Dear Mr Commissioner

Chief Prison Officer:
Retired Major-General Paradzai Zimondi
Prison Headquarters
PO Box 7718
Fax:  011 263 4 739 986
Salutation:    Dear Sir

Ambassador Simbi Veke Mubako
Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe
1608 New Hampshire Ave. NW
Washington DC 20009
Fax: 1 202 483 9326

Please send appeals immediately. Check with the Colorado
office between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm, Mountain Time,
weekdays only, if sending appeals after March 20, 2003.

Amnesty International is a worldwide grassroots
movement that promotes and defends human

This Urgent Action may be reposted if kept
intact, including contact information and stop
action date (if applicable). Thank you for your
help with this appeal.

Urgent Action Network
Amnesty International USA
PO Box 1270
Nederland CO 80466-1270
Phone: 303 258 1170
Fax:     303 258 7881


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Australia urges African nations to press Zimbabwe

CANBERRA, April 10 - Australia urged African nations on Thursday to put
greater pressure on Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe to stop the violence
linked to his seizure of white-owned farmland.
       Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said that while the Commonwealth
has suspended Zimbabwe from its grouping of mostly former British colonies
African leaders have stood by Mugabe and his crisis-struck government.
       A three-nation Commonwealth group set up to deal with Zimbabwe was
breaking down, with South Africa and Nigeria opposing Australia in wanting
Mugabe readmitted to the group.
       Downer said African nations needed to put more energy into resolving
the problems of Zimbabwe, where food shortages were now affecting half of
the 14 million population.
       ''The important thing is that the South Africans, the Nigerians, and
others in Africa really ram home to President Mugabe the message that what
he is doing is doing terrible damage to the people of Zimbabwe and the
reputation of Africa,''
       Downer told Reuters in an interview in his parliamentary office.
       ''We hope there will be bit more activity on that front in the next
few weeks.''
       Zimbabwe is grappling with its worst political and economic crisis
since independence from Britain in 1980, when Mugabe took over as leader,
with record unemployment and inflation and acute shortages of fuel and
foreign currency.
       Mugabe's critics blame the severe food shortages in Zimbabwe on the
government's policy initiated in 2000 of seizing white-owned farms to give
to landless black majority and accuse him of rigging elections in 2002 to
retain power.
       Downer said he was disappointed that French President Jacques Chirac
in February had invited Mugabe to Paris for a Franco-African summit.
       ''We thought that transmitted the wrong message to the Zimbabwe
regime,'' he said.
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Zimbabwe frees opposition spokesman from detention

HARARE, April 10 - A Zimbabwean court freed the spokesman for the country's
main opposition movement on Thursday, four days after he was detained on
charges of organising violent protests to oust President Robert Mugabe.
       The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said a High Court judge
ordered the release of its information and publicity secretary, Paul
Themba-Nyathi, after police failed to bring him to court to formally charge
him or explain his detention.
       Police were not immediately available to comment on Thursday. Earlier
in the week they said Themba-Nyathi was being held for playing a key role in
organising one of the biggest protests against Mugabe's 23-year rule last
month. The protest turned violent and there were scores of arrests.
       Themba-Nyathi was arrested on Monday after going to court for a
remand hearing of MDC Vice-President Gibson Sibanda who was held for a week
after the protests.
       The MDC accuses Mugabe's security forces of waging a crackdown since
the protests. They say more than 500 people have been arrested, 250 taken to
hospital and scores beaten and tortured while in police custody.
       Western governments, who accuse Mugabe of rigging his re-election
last year have condemned the crackdown.
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Zimbabwe report must be made public

Iain Duncan Smith has called on Tony Blair to publish a Commonwealth report
into human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

The Conservative Leader believes the move would help demonstrate support for
the downtrodden people of Zimbabwe, and encourage other southern African
states to adopt a stronger stance against the disgraced regime of President
Robert Mugabe.

The report on "abuses in Zimbabwe" has been drawn up by the Commonwealth
Secretary General Don McKinnon, and strongly condemns the Mugabe government.
But so far, the document has only been circulated among Commonwealth

In a letter fired off to 10 Downing Street, Mr Duncan Smith called on the
Prime Minister to make the report public, and wrote: "I understand that the
Commonwealth secretary-general, Don McKinnon, has produced a report
explaining that the situation in Zimbabwe has not improved since Harare's
suspension from the councils of the Commonwealth last year. Those areas
include democracy, human rights, the press, the judiciary and land reform.

"My concern is that at present this report has only been made available to
Commonwealth Heads of State. Publishing Mr. McKinnon's report in the United
Kingdom ... would send a powerful message of support to the people of
Zimbabwe and put further pressure on partners in the region to take a tough
stance against Mugabe."

Mr Duncan Smith added: "By ensuring that the information in Don McKinnon's
report is placed in the public domain you can ensure that Mugabe is not
allowed to use the present situation in the Middle East as a cover for
further abuses."
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      ZIMBABWE: Feature - Food security worsening in south
      IRINnews Africa, Thu 10 Apr 2003

      More aid needed for Matabeleland South

      JOHANNESBURG, - The food security situation in Zimbabwe's Matabeleland
South province is "critical", the latest report by the UN Relief and
Recovery Unit (RRU) has warned.

      A UN inter-agency team carried out a rapid assessment between 24 and
29 March, to determine the potential gaps in the present humanitarian
response and the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in the
province, which lies in the southwest of the country, bordering South

      "The mission found that the food security situation has worsened ...
and the conditions for the people have become critical. This situation is
mainly due to rain failure, resulting in water shortages, crop failure and
livestock deaths," the Zimbabwe-based RRU said.

      Although the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and NGOs had made various
interventions, these did "not cover all households who may now be described
as vulnerable".


      The report added that resources made available by public works
programmes were insufficient and distributions by the state grain monopoly,
the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), were irregular.

      The latest report by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS
NET) said "although GMB imports account for almost three times the volume of
food aid imports, GMB food is hardly visible in the communal areas".

      "Food aid is catering for up to 70 percent of the rural population,
while GMB food supplies have stopped altogether in most rural areas," FEWS
NET charged.

      Meanwhile, the UN mission "noted with concern the sharp decline in
water availability for both humans and livestock throughout the province. A
significant number of dams have dried up, or will dry up well before the
next rainy season. In addition, a substantial proportion of borehole pumps
in the province are not functioning due to poor maintenance systems, lack of
spare parts, or both," the RRU said.

      Health services had already been "severely strained as a result of the
prevailing economic hardship". The current drought would only worsen the
situation, especially for the rural population, placing further constraints
on resources.

      According to health officials in Matabeleland South, cases of severe
malnutrition were on the rise.

      "In addition, it was found that populations will be more susceptible
to water-related diseases, due to the severe shortage of safe water for
domestic consumption and the lack of adequate sanitation disposal methods.
As a result of the higher risk of waterborne and epidemic-prone diseases,
there is a need to step up disease surveillance," the unit warned.

      A set of recommendations would be completed soon for distribution to

      The RRU also reported that "in what would be its largest effort to
date, preliminary figures indicate WFP distributed over 57,000 mt of corn
soya blend, maize meal, pulses and vegetable oil to 4.7 million people in 49
districts during the month of March - the height of the lean season".

      During April, the plan is to provide 50,000 mt of cereals to 4.6
million people.

      "Complementary food aid pipelines such as those implemented by C-SAFE,
Save the Children (UK) and German Agro-Action are expected to meet the needs
of an additional 900,000 beneficiaries in April," the unit added.

      However, WFP faced a shortage of pulses and vegetable oil and would
not be able to distribute these commodities in April. WFP distribution
figures would drop significantly as of May, which coincides with the end of
the maize harvest.


      "This year's maize crop is still being harvested. There are
contradicting reports about the size of the harvest and the government of
Zimbabwe's final figures will not be available for several weeks yet. Those
figures, along with reports from the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment
Committee (ZimVAC), and the findings of the [Food and Agriculture
Organisation] FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission, will form the
basis of any future appeal to donors," the RRU noted.

      More positively, FEWS NET said that the cereal gap for the 2003/04
consumptive year was forecast to be 561,180 mt, much reduced from last
year's gap of 1.4 million mt.

      The RRU noted that donors have been asked to fund the extension of the
current emergency operation. "Unfortunately, any immediately forthcoming
donor contributions would not be expected to arrive in the country before
July," the unit said.

      FEWS NET raised concern that "urban areas and newly resettled areas
continue to be excluded from large-scale food aid programmes, despite
evidence of a deteriorating food security situation in these areas".

      However, the RRU reported that the a pilot urban intervention
programme initiated by WFP in Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, had recently
been replicated at two municipal clinics in the capital Harare.

      As with the project in Bulawayo, Help Germany was implementing the
programme in conjunction with the city of Harare's Health Department, with
food from WFP and additional funding by the British development fund, DFID
(Department For International Development).

      "Children who visit these clinics and exhibit weight loss, or whose
weight is stagnant, receive a monthly ration of 10 kg of corn soya blend
(CSB) and 1 litre of vegetable oil. The fortified CSB helps the children
rapidly regain weight. WFP will evaluate the pilot intervention sometime in
June and, depending on the findings, may expand the programme," the RRU

      In relation to household vulnerability, the year-on-year inflation
rate for the month of February 2003 gained 12.8 percentage points on the
January figure, reaching a record high of 220.9 percent, FEWS NET pointed

      "Food inflation accounts for 79 percent of this latest increase," it
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No Progress On Commonwealth Concerns - Report

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

April 10, 2003
Posted to the web April 10, 2003


The government of Zimbabwe has not made progress towards addressing concerns
raised by the Commonwealth and has rebuffed all offers of assistance,
according to a report by the Commonwealth secretary-general, leaked to the
media this week.

"Overall, the general political, economic and social situation in Zimbabwe
has deteriorated since March 2002," the report said.

The report was produced last month by secretary-general Don McKinnon to
facilitate the review of Zimbabwe's one-year suspension from the councils of
the Commonwealth, which was to have expired on 19 March. The suspension was
upheld until December following consultations by McKinnon across the
54-member body.

Nigeria and South Africa supported lifting the suspension, saying Zimbabwe
had made progress, but Australia, the third member of the "troika" mandated
to monitor the issue, disagreed.

Zimbabwe's suspension from the group was announced in the Marlborough House
Statement of 19 March 2002. Among other conditions contained in the
statement, the secretary-general was asked to engage with the government to
ensure the implementation of recommendations from a Commonwealth Observer
Group's (COG) report, released after last year's presidential elections.

The recommendations included the need to end the "systemic" use of violence
in political campaigns, especially against the opposition, and the repeal of
certain laws, like the Public Order and Security Act and the Access to
Information and Privacy Act, which "impede freedoms of association and
movement". Suggestions for improving the electoral process and making it
independent of the government were also made.

However, McKinnon said repeated attempts to engage President Robert Mugabe
directly or indirectly had failed. He had met once with the country's
foreign minister, Stan Mudenge, on the sidelines of last year's African
Union summit, when he was told that the Zimbabwe government considered the
COG report flawed and the troika's mandate illegitimate.

"With the rejection by Zimbabwe of the COG report, no steps have been taken
to implement any of the group's recommendations, or indeed the
recommendations contained in the Report of COG to the 2000 Zimbabwe
Parliamentary Elections," McKinnon's report said. The constitutional,
legislative and electoral framework for the conduct of elections remained
unchanged, and POSA and AIPA remained on the statute books.

The institutions of law and order continued to function, "but there is
widespread evidence of selective enforcement of their functions,
particularly by the police, and widespread allegations of abuses of power".

McKinnon noted that there continued to be a disturbing pattern of political
pressure on the judiciary, especially judges thought to be unsympathetic to
the government.

Referring to the government's fast-track land reform programme, the
secretary-general said neither the Abuja agreement dealing with farm
occupations, nor any of the UN Development Programme's (UNDP)
recommendations had been heeded.

He continued to believe there was a moral case for the United Kingdom to
contribute towards land reform in Zimbabwe. "Indeed, the government of the
United Kingdom has undertaken to do so under the Abuja Agreement, in the
context of a UNDP-backed programme to which the government of Zimbabwe has
also formally committed itself."

However, he added that the Zimbabwe government's programme was viewed as
flawed, as it offered no effective compensation for farms compulsorily
acquired, many from owners who had original titles and had paid in cash.
Moreover, many farmworkers had been excluded from the programme.

The report also expressed concern over the collapse of talks between the
ruling ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
which ZANU-PF stopped attending because the MDC had challenged Mugabe's
victory in the 2002 presidential elections in court.

A spokesman for the South African government, whose President Thabo Mbeki
was part of the troika, told IRIN that any comments on the report would
probably be made at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Abuja,
Nigeria, in December where Zimbabwe's suspension would be discussed.

A spokesman for the Zimbabwe government was not immediately available for
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            Human Rights bodies warn of anarchy as cops defy law
            April 10, 2003, 19:45

            Zimbabwe's leading human rights organisation demanded today that
the country's police be reformed urgently before the rule of law "disappears

            The Human Rights Non-Governmental Organisation Forum, an
alliance of 14 of the country's civil rights bodies, said in a report issued
today that "it is evident that torture is a serious problem in Zimbabwe and
it seems now that state agencies are implicated in torture."

            The report was issued as the forum simultaneously said there had
been 159 cases of torture reported to it last month, as well as 103 cases of
unlawful arrest.

            The report said that "the evidence suggests a crisis within the
police that requires urgent action, and such action must take place now if
the rule of law is not to disappear completely. "The fabric of Zimbabwean
society is at grave risk if the level of state-organised violence and
torture is maintained or increased."

            Indications were that it was "worsening," it said. The forum
appealed to international organisations for action "to reform the Zimbabwe
Republic Police in order to promote the accountability and effectiveness of
the police."

            It also called for international and local action to ensure "the
Zimbabwe judiciary's independence." The International Bar Association has
denounced Mugabe's regime for "packing" the benches of the supreme court and
the high court with judges who openly support the ruling Zanu (PF) party.

            Several judges have been given farms seized illegally from their
former white owners. - Sapa

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Zim Independent

No poll in Zengeza
Blessing Zulu

WHILE the ruling Zanu PF party has started campaigning for the Zengeza seat
in Chitungwiza, it has emerged that the sitting Movement for Democratic
Change member of parliament, Tafadzwa Musekiwa, has not formally resigned.

Speaker of Parliament Emmer-son Mnangagwa told the Zimbabwe Independent on
Wednesday Musekiwa has not resigned.

"I have not received any letter of resignation from Musekiwa and as far as I
know he is still a member of parliament," Mnangagwa said.

MDC secretary-general Professor Welshman Ncube said as far as he was
concerned there was no by-election in Zengeza.

"The position is that as of today we still are not in receipt of the formal
resignation of Musekiwa," said Ncube.

"We know what he has stated to the press but he has not communicated to the
party that he has resigned.

"We are not aware that he has sent a letter of resignation to the speaker of
parliament and no such announcement has been made in parliament," Ncube

Press reports last month said Musekiwa had resigned and gone into exile in
Britain because he believed the government wanted to eliminate him.

Musekiwa is still in the UK where he sought political asylum. According to
the Zimbabwe constitution, an MP should not be absent from parliament for 21
consecutive sittings. These have not expired owing to the few days
parliament has been in session this year.

Meanwhile, the ruling Zanu PF prospective candidate, Christopher Chigumba,
is said to have started campaigning in the constituency.

Chigumba, who lost to Musekiwa in the 2000 parliamentary election, is said
to have set up a grinding mill in the area. He is understood to have started
distributing basic commodities such as sugar, mealie-meal and milk to the

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Zim Independent

Market spurns ZBC bond
Vincent Kahiya/Dumisani Muleya

A ZIMBABWE Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) $1,7 billion bond to raise money
for recapitalisation has found no takers, exacerbating the already critical
cashflow problems at the state broadcaster.

The ZBC in January announced it was going on to the market to raise about
$1,7 billion for re-capitalisation and other financial obligations.

Sources at Pockets Hill said there were no takers for the ZBC paper because
of the high risk factor caused by poor management and financial
indiscipline. The Zimbabwe Independent has it on good authority that details
of the bond were made available to selected financial institutions the
government thought would subscribe to the bond.

Money market sources said there was a lot of uncertainty at ZBC because of
high staff turnover. They also want ZBC to demonstrate its ability to raise
revenue and operate profitably.

Revenue at the ZBC has over the past three years diminished as advertisers
have taken flight from the corporation's poor programme schedule, which has
been crafted to fulfil a 75% local-content requirement and to promote the
government's political agenda.

The little advertising revenue that has trickled in comes mainly from
anti-Aids adverts.

Sources said the bond did not "excite the market".

"We heard about it and just laughed it off in the bar," said a senior
manager with an asset management firm. "No one took it seriously."

Workers who were retrenched under ZBC's Vision 30 programme this week said
they had still not received their terminal benefits as the public
broadcaster was unable to raise money. The former workers said ZBC owed
administrators of the pension fund Old Mutual about $100 million which has
still not been remitted.

l The failure to raise fresh capital comes amid reports that ZBC is
contemplating introducing a complete ban on international music which
originates outside Africa.

Sources at Pockets Hill said Information minister Jonathan Moyo - the
architect of the current unpopular 75% local content quota - is planning to
prohibit non-African music from ZBC television and radio stations.

"We understand he is planning to do this and there have been signs of late
that he is determined to proceed," a source said.

"It may be coming in the next two to three months. He is likely to say for
every 10 songs played, two must be from Africa and the rest from Zimbabwe."

A ZBC source said managers recently ordered SFM disc-jockeys to stop playing
foreign music, meaning that which originates outside Africa, but retreated
after fierce resistance by listeners.

"They tried it recently and the DJ who was on air in Bulawayo's Montrose
Studios came under fire from listeners," a source said. "People attacked her
for the experiment but she referred all complaints to Pockets Hill. The test
was later abandoned."

ZBC DJs say they have been banned by their managers from playing
"unauthorised songs" like those of Thomas Mapfumo, Hugh Masekela, and
cricket star Henry Olonga.

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Zim Independent

Foreign diplomats gagged
Dumisani Muleya

FOREIGN diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe have been banned from making
speeches at their national day events after Australian High Commissioner to
Harare, Jonathan Brown's recent condemnation of rising repression in the

Sources said the Dean of Diplo-mats, Ndali-Che Kamati of Nami-bia, on
February 5 distributed a copy of a Foreign Affairs order barring ambassadors
and high commissioners from making addresses on their national days.

"The order basically states that the practice of making speeches during
national days should be discontinued," a diplomatic source said. "After
that, embassies and high commissions have stopped speeches, toasts to
President Ro-bert Mugabe and the people of Zimbabwe, and any other gestures
of courtesy."

It was the declining number oftoasts to Mugabe that proved the final straw
for government, the sources said. "Ambassadors, particularly from the
European Union and North America, generally preferred to toast 'the people
of Zimbabwe'," one source said.

Sources said the order was meant to gag outspoken diplomats who have
criticised government over repression and human rights abuses. While
diplomats like Ka-mati, Zambian High Commission-er Dingiswayo Banda, who is
also Dean of African Diplomats in Ha-rare, and Nigerian High Commis-sioner
Wilberforce Juta, have tend-ed to whitewash Zimbabwe's simmering political
and economic crisis, others have been less indulgent. Spanish ambassador
Javier Sandomingo issued a stinging rebuke on the occasion of his national
day last year, lamenting the failure of Harare to address issues raised by
his government.

But Brown, in his address, turned up the volume. In some of the strongest
remarks made by a senior diplomat in Harare, he told an Australia Day
gathering on January 26 that his country, which supported the process
leading to Zimbabwe's independence and reconstruction, was shocked by the
current dramatic national decline.

"Australia has watched with dismay as the people of Zimbabwe have become
poorer," Brown said. "They are now more vulnerable to ill-health. They are
more hungry, more often."

Brown said Zimbabweans had become victims of growing repression.

"They are less able to enjoy the democratic and human rights guaranteed to
all peoples in the Commonwealth," he said.

"Above all, the people of Zimbabwe were, in Australia's views and in the
view of the Commonwealth Observer Group, denied the free expression of their
will in the March 2002 presidential election."

Brown noted that since the disputed poll, repression had been intensifying.

"Since that election, we have seen the government of Zimbabwe tighten its
grip on its people, further denying their freedoms of speech and
association, and their protection under the law without discrimination," he

The government has of late been sending Ministry of Foreign Affairs
officials to national days instead of ministers as was the custom in the

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Zim Independent

Perence Shiri denied bid to export
Augustine Mukaro

AIR Force of Zimbabwe boss Perence Shiri and hordes of Zanu PF chefs who
grabbed farms under government's land reform programme have failed in their
bids to supply produce to international markets as they are not officially
recognised as land owners.

Highly placed sources in the horticulture industry said Shiri and others
approached farm produce exporting giant Mitchell & Mitchell of Marondera
seeking to be engaged as its out-growers. Shiri's offer was turned down
because he doesn't officially own the land he is occupying.

Under the fast track resettlement scheme, Shiri was allocated Eirene Farm in
Marondera at the expense of 96 families who had initially taken over the

Directors at Mitchell & Mitchell confirmed that many A2 farmers in the area
wanted to be the company's out-growers.

"We have received lots of inquiries from A2 resettled farmers aspiring to
get into horticulture farming," a director with Mitchell & Mitchell said
this week.

"It's unfortunate that we can't accept them because of the way they have
acquired their land. We work under specific and stringent criteria set by
international markets.

"Only those farmers who officially own land are eligible to become our
out-growers. Farmers should produce title deeds as the first requirement. If
you don't have title deeds we don't even consider your offer," he said.

"The selection criteria we are using have not been designed by ourselves
because we are not the final consumers of the products. It is what the
international market wants and we have to comply with their demands or risk
contract cancellation," he said.

Shiri and other A2 resettled farmers do not have title deeds or even leases
to show that they are official owners of the land they occupy. The only
documentation they have is a certificate of occupation issued by the
Ministry of Lands. The state is the new owner of most of the 11 million
hectares acquired since 2000.

Mitchell & Mitchell is a major supplier of horticultural and vegetable
products to leading United Kingdom-based supermarkets.

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