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

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Justice for Agriculture (JAG) would like to express their deep and sincere
sympathy to the Sithole family, their friends and colleagues on the loss of
a wonderful man.  His strong stand on human rights and democracy will long
be remembered, and his work continued for the betterment of his beloved
country Zimbabwe.


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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1: J L Robinson

The Council and Director of
The Commercial Farmers' Union.

Dear Council,

Please could you read the letter that was written to you by Mrs. Kay, which
it seems was sent to the Council in October 2001.

The points raised by the lady some eighteen months ago appear to have
continued to come home to roost in a most unfortunate manner for commercial
farmers and their employees, indicating that both she and her husband seem
to have had (and continue to have) an incredible grasp of the situation.

The Chairman of JAG has advised me that he visited their farm over twenty
years ago, as a Gwebi College student, and that their farming operation was
outstanding - in a truly holistic sense. The human resources were, by all
accounts, nurtured to an equal standard of the crops or the environmental

I understand that Mr. Kay has fairly recently sought the opportunity to
come and discuss current agricultural affairs with you as a Council and
that this request was refused. It is somewhat unnecessary for me to comment

Yours faithfully,
J.L. Robinson


Letter 2:

I have lost contact with Mr. Michel Robertson, a farmer. I am concerned
that something might have happened to him and his family. Would you please
help me find him and ask him to send me an email on:



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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JAG Security Report April 11, 2003

Today's Daily News reports that two more opposition MDC party MP's David
Mpala and Jealous Sansole have been arrested and their whereabouts are
unknown.  The physical abuse of Gugu Moyo at the hands of Jocelyn Chiwenga
(and the Police/Army) who declares herself "I am the law" as reported in
the newspapers.  This is clearly an ongoing attack by the ruling party on
anyone construed to be opposition members or activists and is deplorable in
every sense of the word.

Perhaps one needs to be taken back to the report by Genocide Watch of
February, 2002 when it issued a Politicide Watch for Zimbabwe which simply
put means getting rid of, or disempowering the political opposition one
way or another.  So have the events of the past four years (not forgetting
Gukurahundi in Matabeleland) been a "softening up" process for the people
of Zimbabwe?

In a report entitled "Is Zimbabwe on the brink of genocide" prepared for
ZIMNEWS by an Independent human rights consultant in January of this year,
I quote :-

Stage 6 - Preparation.
It is at this point that Zimbabwe is currently argued to be by Genocide
Watch. Here the "out" group is visibly distinguished by the perpetrators.
It is the final point at which preventive action can be taken by the
international community.  As Genocide Watch comments:

"At this stage, a Genocide Alert must be called. If the political will of
the US, NATO and the UN Security Council can be mobilized, at the very
least, humanitarian assistance should be organized by the UN and private
relief groups for the inevitable tide of refugees."

Genocide is an ugly and terrifying word, but it is even uglier and more
terrifying in reality, as the Ndebeles and Rwandans can bear witness to.
Such information as above may be construed by some to be tantamount to
creating panic.  Well knowing the true Zimbabwean psyche I like to think
it would have the opposite effect - that it will galvanize individuals,
organizations, the SADC region, Commonwealth, UN, NATO etc in action.  No,
not thinking and talking and waiting, but acting on the very obvious signs,
acting on the Genocide Watch warning, acting before it is too late.  It is
everyone's responsibility to prevent the final evil act.




JAG Hotlines:
(011) 612 595 If you are in trouble or need advice,
    (011) 205 374
       (011) 863 354 please don't hesitate to contact us -
       (091) 317 264
    (011) 207 860 we're here to help!
(011) 431 068

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From The Cape Times (SA), 11 April

Zim officials 'would compromise task team'

By Brian Latham

Harare - If Zimbabwean government officials are included in the Southern
African Development Community's task force due to investigate the country's
crisis, the results will be "as good as pre-determined", opposition Movement
for Democratic Change secretary general Welshman Ncube said on Thursday.
Ncube was responding to press reports suggesting the SADC task force that is
to visit Zimbabwe next week will include government officials from the
ruling Zanu PF party. "If these reports are true they would seriously
compromise the search for the truth about what is happening in Zimbabwe and
the path towards the resolution of the Zimbabwe problem," said Ncube. "The
Zimbabwe government would be investigating itself. The failure of previous
SADC missions to Zimbabwe can be largely explained by the fact that Stan
Mudenge, Zimbabwe's foreign minister, was allowed to be part of such
missions, compromising their independence and integrity," he said. Last week
SADC foreign ministers meeting in Harare agreed to send a task force to the
country to investigate the deepening crisis.

Ncube said that the MDC has received no formal, written invitation to meet
the SADC task force. MDC leaders last week offered cautious praise to SADC
for "rethinking" its position on Zimbabwe. "They were to be here this week,"
he said. "But indications are that they will arrive only next week. We have
been told by Mozambican officials, who we understand are to chair the task
force, that they would like to meet us, but we've had no formal invitation
giving us a date," he said. The move followed unprecedented torture and
violence directed at opposition supporters. A wave of terror in Harare's
townships saw over 250 torture victims treated in hospitals. The MDC says
over 1 000 people fled their homes ahead of scores of terror brigades armed
with AK-47s, whips and batons. "It doesn't matter who you are or where you
are in this country, you can be beaten, gang raped and tortured any time,
anywhere. All you have to do, the only crime you have to commit, is to come
across members of Mugabe's militia," said Ncube.

Last month, Harare's hospitals were flooded with over 250 victims of torture
and rape. According to the opposition, about 100 remain in hospital with
severe injuries. "You've all seen them in The Avenues Clinic," Ncube told
reporters. "They have broken arms and broken legs, they've been raped and
beaten." MDC presidential spokesperson William Bango said: "The Avenues
Clinic looked like a military hospital in a nation at war." Bango described
how one elderly woman in an impoverished township had been raped by soldiers
who forced her to perform a sex act with a beer bottle. And he said others
had been forced to have unprotected sex in public after men in uniform
raided township nightclubs. He also told reporters that Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo, a hard-line Mugabe supporter, last week warned: "Where the
army is deployed, people should not expect a picnic."
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Cops try to defy court order

Police yesterday tried to circumvent the court order to release MDC
spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi. After High Court Judge Maphios Cheda had
ordered the release of Nyathi, police tried to have him charged again before
a magistrate in order to continue detaining him. Nyathi was seen being
shepherded around the corridors of Tredgold Buildings, where the Bulawayo
magistrate's courts are situated. Nyathi's lawyers managed to reach him
before any hearing could take place, produced the high court order, and
effected his release from the cells, where he was being held pending a
return to Khami prison.. Two policemen - Inspectors Matira and Masuna -
claimed ignorance of the order, although Matira had been present in the high
court when it was ordered, and had undertaken to release Nyathi. Inspector
Matira has become notorious in Matabeleland for his abuse of police powers,
and involvement in violent acts over the last three years.
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Comment from The Star (SA), 10 April

Zim must think about how to recover

By Max du Preez

It was an extraordinary moment. Monday, mid-morning Iraqi time. The Iraqi
Information Minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, holds a press conference on
the roof of the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad. He is buoyant. There are no
American soldiers in Baghdad, he says emphatically. It's all lies. We're
slaughtering them all. The TV screen splits, and the other half shows
American tanks parked in front of Saddam Hussein's main palace. A Fox News
reporter talks to the tank commander, who says the minister should simply
look down into the street and he'll see the tanks - they're about 500m apart
. "Perhaps we should go in and tap him on the shoulder," he says. My
thoughts immediately went to another minister of information who is as much
of a clown as al-Sahhaf and is also never deterred by facts clear for anyone
to see: Zimbabwe's Jonathan Moyo. This week I listened to him denying his
government's campaign of terror on Zimbabweans after the successful stayaway
action two weeks ago. At the same time as we are shown television and press
images of tortured and beaten-up people and listen to multiple stories of
Zanu-PF thuggery, Moyo blames the opposition for all the violence. How many
times have we listened to Moyo, the man who called South Africans barbarians
after his huge shopping spree in Johannesburg, stating that there were no
human right abuses in Zimbabwe; that the rule of law was intact; that there
was no violent, corrupt land-grabbing sanctioned by his government.

The sad thing is that many Iraqis and citizens from Arab and Muslim states
actually believe Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, and many people in Southern
Africa, including apparently our foreign minister and general secretary of
the ruling party, believe Moyo. They believe these men against all evidence
because they want to believe them. But unlike most Arab states, we in
Southern Africa are not strangers to democracy and an open society.
Zimbabweans fought for years with great suffering and loss of life for those
values, and accepted it as the norm during the first decade or so after
independence. They want and deserve the truth. The big question in Iraq
today is not which way the war is going to end, but what will happen after
the war. In Zimbabwe the big question should not be whether Robert Mugabe's
reign will end, but how Zimbabwe will recover from his disastrous rule after
he had gone. It is becoming increasingly clear that he will probably not see
Christmas in Harare. The rebuilding of Zimbabwe's economy is crucial, and
hopefully Britain and the rest of the international community will play an
active role in that process. But the reconciliation of the people of that
country is even more important. The hatred and resentments run very, very
deep. The police and army will have to be rehabilitated, because today they
are widely seen as the henchmen of the ruling clique and enemies of the
ordinary people. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Thank God we had Nelson
Mandela to carry much of the load himself as an extraordinary symbol of
reconciliation. But I have no doubt in my mind that our Truth and
Reconciliation Commission process, much maligned as it was from many
quarters, played a major role in persuading the vast majority of our people
to accept the compromises reached during the negotiations process. I firmly
believe that we would not have had the stability and goodwill we have now if
we had not gone through that experience.

Zimbabwe will need a truth and reconciliation process after Mugabe had gone
as much as we needed it after apartheid. Ordinary people will need to on to
a public forum to tell the stories of their torture and humiliation and get
recognition for their suffering. Hundreds of Zanu PF officials, policemen
and soldiers will have to be tried and sent to jail if their country does
not also have a system whereby perpetrators of gross human rights violations
can confess and make full disclosure and then be granted amnesty. And above
all, the lies about what happened in the last few years should be exposed.
Zimbabweans can learn a lot from our experience when they have a truth
commission. Their process should also be as public as possible with
television cameras and radio microphones present everywhere. In our case,
our daily participation in the TRC proceedings through the media was far
more important than the final reports of the commission, and so it will be
for them. Civil society and the various non-governmental organisations in
Zimbabwe should start preparing for that now. The sooner after a regime
change Zimbabweans can go through that process, the quicker healing can
start. A truth commission experience in Zimbabwe will not only help to heal
personal pain and communal resentments, but it will go a long way in
restoring that nation's sense of public morality. It will also do a lot to
restore the high esteem most of the world had for Zimbabwe before Mugabe
started messing up.
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Investor to Plough $40 Billion Into Ferro-Chrome Operations, Jobs Likely

The Herald (Harare)

April 11, 2003
Posted to the web April 11, 2003

Deputy Business Editor

The Chinese company, Shanghai Baosteel International Economic and Trading
Company, will plough US$50 million (Z$40 billion) into its ferro-chrome
operations should the ongoing exploration of the mineral bear fruit.

It is also anticipated that the ambitious initiative would create at least 2
000 new jobs in the mining sector.

A six-member Chinese delegation from Afrochine Energy Corporation, the
company that has been contracted to undertake the exploratory work, began
its exercise yesterday.

The exploration is being undertaken at several sites in the country
including Darwendale, Shurugwi and Zimasco.

Afrochine chairman, Mr Philip Mand, said he was optimistic that the mining
project by Shanghai Boasteel Company would take off before the end of the

"We are very confident that Shanghai Baosteel International Economic and
Trading Company will resume operations after the exploratory work because
Zimbabwe has abundant chrome ore reserves.

"Our exploratory work is mainly to ascertain the nature of the chrome ore
deposits in the countryand analyse the investment risk. Otherwise,
operations would resume within six months after completion of our
exploratory work," he said.

The only problem that the giant steel company may face could be the right to
mine chrome in areas under the control of certain individuals and private
companies, which have exclusive prospecting orders.

Individuals and companies with such rights usually demand to be paid large
amounts of money and in some cases, shares from companies intending to
resume operations in areas under their control. Mr Mand said the Chinese
were going to make representations to the Ministry of Mines and Mining
Development for possible assistance regarding the matter.

He said the Shanghai Boasteel International Company also intended to build a
smelting plant in Darwendale.

China is now the biggest producer as well as the largest consumer of steel
in the world according to United Nations figures.

The country produces 160 million tonnes of steel per year and is also the
largest market of ferro-alloys.

The wife of the Zimbabwe High Commission to China, Mrs Monica Mutsvangwa, is
accompanying the delegation from China. She said that her husband, Mr Chris
Mutsvangwa, has held meetings with several Chinese businessmen appraising
them of investment opportunities in the country.

Mrs Mutsvangwa said several Chinese companies have expressed willingness to
invest in Zimbabwe.

"There is strong political will from the Chinese government to strengthen
economic relations with Zimbabwe," she said.

Mrs Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwean companies should seize the existing
opportunities by entering the Chinese market.

"There is need for local companies to participate at some of the Chinese
trade events. There are several events, which take place in China every
year, which provide several opportunities for Zimbabwean companies to market

"Already the Chinese are preparing for a very important trade event, the
Shanghai Export which will be held in 2010," said Mrs Mutsvangwa.

Trade between Zimbabwe and China have been heavily in favour of Zimbabwe
with the country having 28 000 tonnes of tobacco worth $180 million to China
against imports worth US$200 million.

Zimbabwe generally imports light industry goods, machinery, textiles, grain,
clothing, electronic gadgets and bicycles from China.
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Mandaza Seeks Court Order to Transfer Bubi Farms Into His Name

The Herald (Harare)

April 11, 2003
Posted to the web April 11, 2003


Publisher and businessman Dr Ibbo Mandaza is now seeking a court order
compelling Mr Charles Hammer-Nel, the previous owner of a block of farms he
bought in Bubi, to transfer the farms into his name.

According to his lawyer, Mr Johannes Tomana of Muzangaza, Mandaza and
Tomana, the publisher is also seeking an eviction order against the people
settled on the four farms.

Mr Tomana said they have issued summons against the majority shareholder of
the companies that owned the farm, Mr Hammer-Nel.

The block of farms at the centre of controversy are Robert Block 19, Robert
Block 20, Subdivision 1 of Graves End, Induba and Mucklenuck, all in Bubi

"The summons seek to compel the transfer of those shares held by Mr
Hammer-Nel to Dr Mandaza," said Mr Tomana.

"We are moving towards obtaining an eviction order against these people."

The Government has made it clear that the block of farms was not designed
for resettlement and was delisted.

The people on the farms are, however, claiming that they were resettled
under the land reform programme.

"But nobody is taking responsibility to assert to their claim and the
Government has not acknowledged their claim," said Mr Tomana.

He, however, refuted allegations that there were 95 people on the farms.

He said they were less than 10 people.

Last month the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement
instructed its officials in Matebeleland North province to withdraw from the
courts acquisition proceedings of the Bubi farms.

This was done in order to facilitate their take over by Dr Mandaza.

But Mr Hammer-Nel instituted legal proceedings against Dr Mandaza claiming
that he bought one farm and failed to pay for the other four, resulting in
the cancellation of the agreement of sale.

He accused ministry officials of assisting Dr Mandaza to get the farms.

The matter is still pending at the High Court.

According to the Sunday Mirror of this week, private investors have shown
interest in financing the billion-dollar Induba Agricultural Development
Project as a response to the land reform.

The project was initiated in April two years ago and is aimed at
transforming five separate land titles, totaling 7 000 hectares into one
agro-estate based on the complimentary approach model, combining ranching
and irrigation supported small and medium scale agricultural production.
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(the question marks appear in the original report, no doubt because of the  Chinese characters of the original. ... I have left them in.B)
      UNDP supports Zimbabwe on its economic blueprint


      Xinhuanet 2003-04-12 01:40:29

          HARARE, April 11 (Xinhuanet) -- The United Nations Development
Program (UNDP) said here Friday that it fully supports Zimbabwe's newly
crafted economic blueprint, the National Economic Revival Program (NERP),
launched by the Tripartite Negotiating Forum in February this year.

      ??Victor Angelo, UNDP resident representative to Zimbabwe, told
participants to a one-day workshop in Harare that the world body regarded
the NERP measures as important and necessary for the revival of the
Zimbabwean economy.

      ??"We fully support the plan and we are always willing to play our
part in assisting Zimbabwe," said Angelo.

      ??"In addition, we would be ready to facilitate discussions between
Zimbabwe and the international community in order to mobilize support for
the plan," he added.

      ??He said that the NERP had provided hope in the process of economic
revival and represented an essential framework within which stakeholders
continued to work together to revive the economy.

      ??Angelo pointed out that the measures outlined by NERP provided a
stepping-stone towards efforts to improve the economy.

      ??He said it was critical that the program was fully implemented for
it to produce results, adding that the success of the NERP wasdependent on
the full support of all players in the economy.

      ??The most difficult challenges, he said, pertained to the
establishment of a macro-economic environment that was conducive to
meaningful participation of all sectors as well as the support of the
international players in realizing the objectives of the NERP.

      ??The Zimbabwean government and its social partners, he said, needed
to actively engage with international development assistance providers for
financial and technical resources support, particularly in the area of

      ??"The declining economic performance and the deteriorating
humanitarian situation makes it more imperative for stakeholders to urgently
explore ways of enhancing consultation with the international community on
program areas and on the mobilization financial and technical resources,
particularly in the area of HIV/AIDS," he said.

      ??He said the escalation of the epidemic had severe effects on the
socio-economic development of the country.

      ??The international community, in consultation with stakeholders,could
enhance support to on-going national efforts in terms of HIV/AIDS
prevention, care and support, treatment and mitigation, he said.

      ??The NERP aims to spur economic growth through increased agricultural
production and a vibrant export sector.

      ??Zimbabwe's economy is in its fourth year of recession, largely
caused by the withdrawal of aid by multi-lateral institutions and the
informal sanctions imposed on the country by the European Union (EU).

      ??The country's relations with the EU soured following the stanceit
took in 2000 on the land reform program which has seen thousands of
historically margined blacks resettled on prime land.Enditem


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Sunday Times (SA)

SA gives Zimbabwe R93.5m in food aid

Zimbabwe has been allocated 93.5 million rand worth of emergency food aid
from South Africa to combat famine in the subregion, according to
Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza.

In reply to a question in Parliament from New National Party MP Francois
Beukman, she said 55,000 tons of maize had been allocated to Zimbabwe.

In addition, she said, Swaziland, Mozambique and Lesotho would receive
10,000 tons each. Malawi would receive 15,000 tons.

The total cost was 170 million rand, she noted.

The World Food Programme had been assigned as the executing agency for the
delivery of the maize.

"The Department of Foreign Affairs is overseeing the entire process on
behalf of (the South Africa) government," she noted.

The first consignment to Zimbabwe had already started, she said.

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Washington Times

April 11, 2003

Opposition vows anti-Mugabe march
By Geoff Hill

     JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe's opposition movement is planning one of its
biggest challenges yet to the government of President Robert Mugabe by
marching "tens of thousands" of supporters to the leader's residence, where
soldiers have taken up posts with a shoot-to-kill policy.
      "We don't want to give the government any warning of our actions ahead
of time because they have all the resources of the state at their disposal
just waiting to thwart us," opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai told The
Washington Times. "But you can expect to see a lot of things happening very
     Mr. Tsvangirai, who heads the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), has promised to lead a march of "tens of thousands of supporters" on
the State House, Mr. Mugabe's official residence.
     In response, the government has deployed troops to guard the residence
and imposed a shoot-to-kill policy in the vicinity of the building. The
government also says it plans to arrest Mr. Tsvangirai for inciting
     A week ago, the MDC won two by-elections in the capital, Harare, and a
party spokesman said this confirmed that the people were ready for change.
     Mr. Mugabe was returned to power last year in a poll marred by violence
and intimidation. Many Western countries, including the United States, have
refused to recognize the result, and the opposition has demanded another
vote under international supervision.
     Human rights groups complained that in the week after an
opposition-organized general strike last month, more than 500 people were
arrested and tortured by police.
     The MDC said that police had arrested Information Secretary Paul Themba
Nyathi in the southern city of Bulawayo, an opposition stronghold, but
police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said he was not aware of the arrest.
     Last week, one of Mr. Tsvangirai's deputies, MDC Vice President Gibson
Sibanda, was arrested under the draconian Public Order and Security Act and
charged with organizing the successful strike on March 8-9.
     During the past four years, a government land-reform program has seen
all but 600 of the country's 4,000 white commercial farmers forced off their
property. The land was to be given to rural blacks, but critics say that the
best farms have gone to government ministers and to Mr. Mugabe's friends and
     Agriculture has collapsed to the point where the United Nations World
Food Program estimates that 60 percent of Zimbabwe's 12 million people live
under conditions of famine.
     In the capital, there are lines for basic goods, including cornmeal,
milk, bread, paraffin and gasoline.
     The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has begun periodic
cutoffs to factories and mines, saying it does not have the money to buy
sufficient power from neighboring South Africa.
     South African President Thabo Mbeki has followed a policy of "quiet
diplomacy" with Zimbabwe, but there were signs this week that Mr. Mbeki's
patience had run out when he criticized Mr. Mugabe's record on land and
human rights.
     A government source in Pretoria said the state-owned ESKOM power
corporation, which sells electricity to neighboring countries, had been told
to "apply commercial principles" to ZESA which has, in the past, run up a
large debt with ESKOM.
     Last week, the British minister for Africa, Valerie Amos, who was on an
official visit to South Africa, said problems in Harare were jeopardizing
progress in the rest of the continent.
     "The situation of Zimbabwe could see developed nations lose their
collective vigor for plans to revive Africa," she said.
     But Mr. Tsvangirai says he believes the standoff between the MDC and
the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party could be
over sooner rather than later.
     "This is the final push," he said. "There can be no going back because
the country has sunk so low that there is nowhere to go back to. All we can
do is continue the struggle to restore legitimate government and to regain
our freedom," he said. "The time has come to end the madness."
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Business Day

Unity will defeat Mugabe - MDC


International Affairs Editor

MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) foreign affairs spokesman Moses
Mzila-Ndlovu says there are strong signs that some African countries could
soon take a tougher stand on the growing human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

He said criticism from legislators from Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique,
Uganda, Niger, and Zambia at a recent meeting in Congo (Brazzaville) of
parliamentarians from the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries with
their European Union counterparts could mark a turning point.

Mzila-Ndlovu, said criticism of Zimbabwe at the meeting was led by
St.Vincent and the Grenadines, an island grouping in the Caribbean, but he
was pleasantly surprised by the number of African parliamentarians from
countries that had shown a new level of awareness of the problems in

He said a delegation from Uganda, had led other African countries in
slamming President Robert Mugabe.

From this he said it was clear that Mugabe's attempt to play the racial card
in defending his ongoing abuses of human rights had failed.

Mzila-Ndlovu said the head of the Zimbabwean delegation to the meeting had
refused him permission to speak, but a Swedish parliamentarian had given
away her time for him to address the gathering.

With the recent crackdown and arrest of MDC top officials and their onerous
bail conditions, which include having to report to a police station twice a
week, Mzila-Ndlovu said it was becoming increasingly difficult for the
party's leadership to operate effectively in the country and travel abroad.

Earlier this week Mzila-Ndlovu drew praise from the ANC Youth League for
what they said was his criticism of the "racist" Tony Leon. However,
Mzila-Ndlovu said the point he wanted to get across was that the Democratic
Alliance's criticism of SA policy toward Zimbabwe was allowing the ANC to
play the racial card in defending Mugabe.

PAUL Themba Nyathi, the MDC's secretary for information and publicity, was
released yesterday without charge on the orders of High Court Judge Justice
Mafiosi Cheda after the state failed to show any case as to why he should
remain in custody.

Moments before his release police attempted to move him to another prison.
Business Day Reporter

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      11 Apr 2003 11:29:43 GMT
      Zimbabwe food deficit seen lower, crisis lingers


HARARE, April 11 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe expects a reduced 561,180 tonnes
cereal gap for the 2003/04 consumption year but food security continues to
worsen in most rural areas in the southern districts, a U.S.-based agency
said on Friday.

Aid agencies say a combination of drought and disruption to agriculture
linked to President Robert Mugabe's seizure of white-owned farms for
redistribution to landless blacks has left half of Zimbabwe's 14 million
people facing food shortages.

On Friday, the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET) said food
security in northern parts of the country had improved due to increased food
aid assistance from the humanitarian community and an upward revision in
output from the 2002/03 crop season because of improved rains in the second

"Preliminary crop estimates put the current season's maize production at
1,289,000 tonnes. This represents about 90 percent of recent five year
average production and close to a 160 percentage increase over the 2001/02
season's maize harvest," FEWSNET said.

Industry officials had previously estimated a maize output of at least
414,100 tonnes from the 2002/03 (Nov/March) cropping season, down 20 percent
from the previous year.

FEWSNET said the output would leave a total cereal deficit of 561,180
tonnes, or 35 percent of total cereal requirements for the just-started
2003/04 (April/March) marketing season.

Maize would account for 55 percent and wheat for 28 percent of the total
forecast deficit, it added.

"The crop producing districts in the northern half of the country will
typically have a net cereal surplus in the 2003/04 consumption year while
the southern districts of Matebeleland, Midlands and Masvingo are going to
have serious grain deficits".

Also vulnerable to shortages were people in urban and the new resettlement
areas which were excluded from current donor food assistance and largely
depended on inadequate supplies from the state Grain Marketing Board (GMB).

"In general, food security prospects for urban areas will remain critical
throughout the 2003/04 consumption year. Failing any meaningful food
assistance, the urban population will have to depend on the GMB (but) it is
already clear that the GMB supplies are going to be restricted," FEWSNET

Continued shortages of maize and other basic commodities such as sugar,
cooking oil and milk would inevitably increase the price of food
substitutes, thereby further pushing them out of reach of the majority of
poor urban households.

"Food aid assistance should continue and should be scaled up in innovative
ways that takes care of the needs of both the urban population and the rural
population currently uncatered for," FEWSNET urged.

Industry officials say Zimbabwe, grappling with an acute foreign currency
shortage, is importing about 70,000 tonnes of maize a month from South
Africa and the U.S., far short of the 150,000 tonnes needed to meet national
consumption requirements.

President Mugabe denies that government mismanagement has left what was once
a thriving economy in shambles, with acute foreign currency and fuel
shortages, among other scourges.

The veteran leader, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, says
the current food shortages are due solely to incessant droughts, which have
hit small-scale black farmers who produce the bulk of Zimbabwe's maize.

The government says its land reforms are needed to correct the imbalances
created by colonialism, which left the bulk of the country's prime farming
land in the hands of minority whites who constitute less than one percent of
Zimbabwe's population.
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New DZL producer prices for standard milk are $150/l as from 01/03/03 and
$230/l as from 01/04/03. Premiums/penalties to be applied.

 The date for The Dairy Farmer of The Year field day to be hosted by Eddie
and Barbra Warambwa has been changed from the 03/05/03 to 16/05/03.

The next dairy supervisors course at Blackfordby Agricultural Institute is
scheduled for 01/06/03 to 06/06/03.  The cost is now approximately
$25,000.00 per participant subject to changes to the fuel price.
Rob Jansen-van Vuuren
C.E.O. N.A.D.F.
The deadline for paying additional amounts on your vehicle carbon tax is
fast approaching.
Previously, carbon tax was paid over the same period as your vehicle licence
and could be done at the same time. This year, however, Government has
stated that carbon tax must be paid for the period 01 January 2003 to 31
December 2003. This means that if you had paid from September 2002 to
September 2003, you must now pay for the additional three months.
Payments can only be made at a ZIMRA Revenue Office. These are in Harare
(Ground Floor, Kurima House, next to ZTA), Bulawayo, Gweru, KweKwe, Mutare
and Masvingo. You must take along proof of payments already made otherwise
you could be charged for the whole year. The deadline for payments is Monday
14th April 2003.
There have been reports of people being asked for their carbon tax
certificates at police roadblocks, so it is advisable to get your payments
up to date and keep a copy of the certificate in your vehicle.

PHONE: 799407/8
FAX: 790282


CONTACT MAX ON 011 219 825 OR 04 335382
PRICE OF DIESEL 9TH APRIL 2003 = 35 US cents per litre + Z$90 per litre
PRICE OF PETROL 9TH APRIL 2003 = 34 US cents per litre + Z$110 per litre

Unless specifically stated that this is a Commercial Farmers' Union
communique, or that it is being issued or forwarded to you by the sender in
an official CFU capacity, the opinions contained therein are private.
Private messages also include those sent on behalf of any organisation not
directly affiliated to the Union.  The CFU does not accept any legal
responsibility for private messages and opinions held by the sender and
transmitted over its local area network to other CFU network users and/or to
external addressees.
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mmegi Botswana

      Zim immigrants: hard come hard stay

      Staff Writer
      4/11/2003 11:33:57 AM (GMT +2)

      Siphiwe is a real life Zimbabwean illegal immigrant who has lived and
worked in Botswana as a domestic help for five years. She has worked for
only one family whose two children she nursed from birth.

      With the little pay she gets from her employer, she was able to buy
some food and clothes for her two children and her mother back in Zimbabwe.
But Siphiwe's male employer died this week, and his wife has been on sick
leave for over a month. She has asked Siphiwe to leave her job because she
can no longer afford to pay her. And Siphiwe has two choices. She can go
back home or try and get a job in Botswana. She has received her last pay of
P375. But currently she has a serious problem of transport money and finding
where to sleep, bathe and eat. Moreover going home would mean her mother and
her two children would starve. She has temporarily been accommodated by a
cousin who stays in Mogoditshane with her boyfriend in a single room. In the
last five days that she has tried to get a job she has been unlucky. A
fairly beautiful woman, Siphiwe is now contemplating joining the hordes of
Zimbabweans who wait by Orapa House and Dutch Reformed Church in the African
Mall. She has even fleetingly considered sex work. Should she do either,
Siphiwe will automatically become a target of both the police and vigilante
groups. Like hundreds of her country people, she would immediately become
the bane of the Botswana Society and qualify for deportation.

      While in the past deported Zimbabweans could come back into Botswana
on the same day they were deported, it might be difficult this time around.
The Botswana Government has built an electric fence along its border with
Zimbabwe in a bid to prevent illegal crossings, which has been identified as
one of the major reasons contributing to a spate of foot and mouth disease
outbreaks in the North East. Should she be deported and still make it back
to Botswana, Siphiwe will find herself back at the same place from where she
was picked by the police. She might finally succumb to prostitution. If she
does, she will fall victim to dishonest clients who will use her, refuse to
pay and call the police. She may even fall prey to some police officers who
might use her, refuse to pay and arrest her. At a traditional court
recently, one of six women charged with prostitution said the arresting
officer was a regular client of hers, who failed to pay and arrested her
instead. Getting odd jobs would be no different.

      "Many times we find odd jobs like doing the laundry or cleaning around
the house, but the women often refuse to pay and call the police on us
instead," said one of the women who wait by the Dutch Reformed Church in an
interview with Mmegi.

      But the line between truth and lies among these immigrants is often
blurred. For example there is a Zimbabwean calls himself Johnson Nyoni. He
claims a local brick-making company was employing Zimbabweans and paying
them only P10 a fortnight before chucking them out. But a visit to the
company by Mmegi proved the contrary. First there was never a Johnson Nyoni
at the company. But the management suspect who it might be. The description,
which includes his Zambian/Malawian accent fits that of Johnson. His real
name is Collin and he is a Zambian. He ran away from the company on
Wednesday last week after he was beaten up by two Zimbabwean colleagues for
stealing their clothes which they had taken off to don trench-coats. A look
at the payment register showed Collin was among the highly paid labourers -
getting as much as P120 per day.

      "We could never cheat Zimbabweans. These people are our lifeblood.
Batswana would rather queue up to offload stock or furniture, but not work
with the mortar and Zimbabweans are a ready labour," said a manager at the
company. However she pleaded with this paper not to publish her company name
as that would mean closure of business for them when the police come to
their premises to arrest immigrants.

      In another case Alexandra, a Zimbabwean bricklayer alleged that he had
built the foundation of a five-roomed house and was chased by the Motswana
project owner when only one course was left.

      "I told him I had a limited number of days and would therefore have to
work even on Sunday so that I could be done by Thursday when I will be going
back to Zimbabwe.

      But he decided not to bring the cement on Sunday. When I came again on
Monday he told me he no longer wanted me to work for him and refused to pay
me for the work I had done," he said.

      Together with the immigrant Mmegi visited the site and interviewed the
project owner. It turned out that the owner, whose family runs a
construction business, had indeed chased him away and refused to pay him.
However he claimed that he chased Alexandra because he now wanted more money
than they had initially agreed upon. He said he would pay Alexandra P650 for
the foundation and slab of the five-roomed house. Similar work for a
two-roomed house around the country costs at least P1000. Now that Alexandra
had only laid the foundation bricks, he could not possibly pay him as he
could not breakdown the figure, he said.

      It is because of people like Nyoni that most immigrants are seen as
bad, to an extent that even hardworking and non-thieving ones like Alexandra
find themselves at the mercy of their employers and the police. Village
Chiefs will not spare them either. Recently the Batlokwa chief Moshibidu
Gaborone had to summon Zimbabweans and their High Commissioner to the Kgotla
to give them a piece of his mind. In the meeting Zimbabwean illegal
immigrants were reported to be the masterminds behind break-ins and theft in
the village. However Zimbabweans interviewed by this paper said the
situation was not as portrayed by the Tlokweng authorities and the

      "As in any country, there are thieves among decent folks. When good
people travel, they too travel and practice their bad habits wherever they
are. There are bad Zimbabweans who come here. But should we all be painted
with one brush? Batswana criminals have realised that Zimbabweans have been
turned into a scapegoat and are now busier than ever knowing the blame will
fall on Zimbabweans," said one of the many Zimbabweans interviewed by Mmegi.

      The government of Botswana is working on a new law, which shall make
it difficult for illegal immigrants into Botswana. Under this law, an
illegal immigrant and the person aiding him or her can each be charged
P4000. But Zimbabwe has still to come out of the economic abyss, and more
illegal immigrants will keep pouring into Botswana. For these men and women,
especially with the newly erected electric fence it is hard come, hard stay.

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