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      After Empire

      by Theodore Dalrymple

      As soon as I qualified as a doctor, I went to Rhodesia, which was to
transform itself into Zimbabwe five years or so later. In the next decade, I
worked and traveled a great deal in Africa and couldn't help but reflect
upon such matters as the clash of cultures, the legacy of colonialism, and
the practical effects of good intentions unadulterated by any grasp of
reality. I gradually came to the conclusion that the rich and powerful can
indeed have an effect upon the poor and powerless-perhaps can even remake
them-but not necessarily (in fact, necessarily not) in the way they wanted
or anticipated. The law of unintended consequences is stronger than the most
absolute power.

      I went to Rhodesia because I wanted to see the last true outpost of
colonialism in Africa, the final gasp of the British Empire that had done so
much to shape the modern world. True, it had now rebelled against the mother
country and was a pariah state: but it was still recognizably British in all
but name. As Sir Roy Welensky, the prime minister of the short-lived and
ill-fated Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, once described himself, he
was "half-Polish, half-Jewish, one hundred percent British."

      Until my arrival at Bulawayo Airport, the British Empire had been for
me principally a philatelic phenomenon. When I was young, Britain's
still-astonishing assortment of far-flung territories-from British Honduras
and British Guiana to British North Borneo, Basutoland, Bechuanaland, and
Swaziland-each issued beautiful engraved stamps, with the queen's profile in
the right upper corner, looking serenely down upon exotic creatures such as
orangutans or frigate birds, or upon natives (as we still called and thought
of them) going about their natively tasks, tapping rubber or climbing
coconut palms. To my childish mind, any political entity that issued such
desirable stamps must have been a power for good. And my father-a communist
by conviction-also encouraged me to read the works of G. A. Henty,
late-nineteenth-century adventure stories, extolling the exploits of empire
builders, who by bravery, sterling character, superior intelligence, and
force majeure overcame the resistance of such spirited but doomed peoples as
the Zulu and the Fuzzy-Wuzzies. Henty might seem an odd choice for a
communist to give his son, but Marx himself was an imperialist of a kind,
believing that European colonialism was an instrument of progress toward
History's happy denouement; only at a later stage, after it had performed
its progressive work, was empire to be condemned.

      And condemned Rhodesia most certainly was, loudly and insistently, as
if it were the greatest threat to world peace and the security of the
planet. By the time I arrived, it had
      no friends, only enemies. Even South Africa, the regional colossus,
with which Rhodesia shared a long border and which might have been expected
to be sympathetic, was highly ambivalent toward it: for South Africa sought
to ingratiate itself with other nations by being less than wholehearted in
its economic cooperation with the government of Ian Smith.

      I expected to find on my arrival, therefore, a country in crisis and
decay. Instead, I found a country that was, to all appearances, thriving:
its roads were well maintained, its transport system functioning, its towns
and cities clean and manifesting a municipal pride long gone from England.
There were no electricity cuts or shortages of basic food commodities. The
large hospital in which I was to work, while stark and somewhat lacking in
comforts, was extremely clean and ran with exemplary efficiency. The staff,
mostly black except for its most senior members, had a vibrant esprit de
corps, and the hospital, as I discovered, had a reputation for miles around
for the best of medical care. The rural poor would make immense and touching
efforts to reach it: they arrived covered in the dust of their long
journeys. The African nationalist leader and foe of the government, Joshua
Nkomo, was a patient there and trusted the care implicitly: for medical
ethics transcended all political antagonisms.

      The surgeon for whom I worked, who came from England, was the best I
have ever known and a man of exemplary character. Devoting his enormous
technical accomplishment to the humblest of patients, he seemed not only
capable of every surgical procedure, but he was a brilliant diagnostician,
his clinical intuition honed by a relative lack of high-tech aids: so much
so that others in the hospital regarded him as the final court of appeal. I
never knew him to be mistaken, though like every other doctor he must have
made errors in his time. He saved the lives of hundreds every year and
inspired the most absolute trust and confidence in his patients. He never
panicked, even in the direst emergency; and he knew what to do when a man
had been half eaten by a crocodile or mauled by a leopard, when a child had
been bitten in the leg by a puff adder, or when a man appeared with a spear
driven through his skull. When called in the early hours of the morning, as
he frequently was, he was as even-tempered as if attending a social event.
Greater love hath no man. . . .

      He was not a missionary, however; he was infused by nothing resembling
a religious spirit, only by a profound medical ethic and an enthusiasm for
his art and science. He wanted a varied and interesting surgical practice,
and he wanted to save human life; and the Rhodesia of the time offered him
ideal conditions for using his skills to maximum benefit (even the best of
surgeons relies on a well-organized hospital to achieve results). Within a
short time of the political handover in 1980, however, he returned to
England-not because of any racial feeling or political antagonism but simply
because the swift degeneration of standards in the hospital made the
high-level practice of surgery impossible. The institution that had seemed
to me on my arrival to be so solid and well founded fell apart in the
historical twinkling of an eye.

      In leaving Zimbabwe and returning to England, he accepted a much
reduced standard of living, whatever the nominal value of his income.
Talleyrand said that he who had not experienced the ancien régime (as an
aristocrat, of course) knew nothing of the sweetness of life. The same might
be said of him who had not experienced life as a colonial in Africa. I,
whose salary was by other standards small, lived at a level that I have
scarcely equaled since. It is true that Rhodesia lacked many consumer goods
at that time, due to the economic sanctions imposed upon it: but what I
learned from this lack is how little consumer goods add to the quality of
life, at least in an equable climate such as Rhodesia's. Life was no poorer
for being lived without them.

      The real luxuries were space and beauty-and the time to enjoy them.
With three other junior doctors, I rented a large and elegant colonial
house, old by the standards of a country settled by whites only 80 years
previously, set in beautiful grounds tended by a garden "boy" called Moses
(the "boy" in garden boy or houseboy implied no youth: once, in East Africa,
I was served by a houseboy who was 94, who had lived in the same family for
70 years, and would have seen the suggestion of retirement as insulting).
Surrounding the house was a red flagstone veranda, where breakfast was
served on linen in the cool of the morning, the soft light of the sunrise
spreading through the foliage of the flame and jacaranda trees; even the
harsh cry of the go-away bird seemed grateful on the ear. It was the only
time in my life when I have arisen from bed without a tinge of regret.

      We worked hard: I have never worked harder, and I can still conjure up
the heavy feeling in my head, as if it were full of lead-shot and could snap
off my neck under its own weight, brought about by weekends on duty, when
from Friday morning to Monday evening I would get not more than three hours'
sleep. The luxury of our life was this: that, our work once done, we never
had to perform a single chore for ourselves. The rest of our time, in our
most beautiful surroundings, was given over to friendship, sport, study,
hunting-whatever we wished.

      Of course, our leisure rested upon a pyramid of startling inequality
and social difference. The staff who freed us of life's little
inconveniences lived an existence that was opaque to us, though they had
quarters only a few yards from where we lived. Their hopes, wishes, fears,
and aspirations were not ours; their beliefs, tastes, and customs were alien
to us.

      Our very distance, socially and psychologically, made our relations
with them unproblematical and easy. We studiously avoided that tone of
spoiled and bored querulousness for which colonials were infamous. We never
resorted to that supposed staple of colonial conversation, the servant
problem, but were properly grateful. Like most of the people I met in
Rhodesia, we tried to treat our staff well, providing extra help for them
for the frequent emergencies of African life-for example illness among
relatives. In return, they treated us with genuine solicitude. We assuaged
our conscience by telling ourselves-what was no doubt true-that they would
be worse off without our employ, but we couldn't help feeling uneasy about
the vast gulf between us and our fellow human beings.

      By contrast, our relations with our African medical colleagues were
harder-edged, because the social, intellectual, and cultural distance
between us was far reduced. Rhodesia was still a white-dominated society,
but for reasons of practical necessity, and in a vain attempt to convince
the world that it was not as monstrous as made out, it had produced a
growing cadre of educated Africans, doctors prominent among them.
Unsurprisingly, they were not content to remain subalterns under the
permanent tutelage of whites, so that our relations with them were
superficially polite and collegial, but human warmth was difficult or
impossible. Many belonged secretly to the African nationalist movement that
was soon to take power; and two were to serve (if that is the word to
describe their depredations) as ministers of health.

      Unlike in South Africa, where salaries were paid according to a racial
hierarchy (whites first, Indians and coloured second, Africans last),
salaries in Rhodesia were equal for blacks and whites doing the same job, so
that a black junior doctor received the same salary as mine. But there
remained a vast gulf in our standards of living, the significance of which
at first escaped me; but it was crucial in explaining the disasters that
befell the newly independent countries that enjoyed what Byron called, and
eagerly anticipated as, the first dance of freedom.

      The young black doctors who earned the same salary as we whites could
not achieve the same standard of living for a very simple reason: they had
an immense number of social obligations to fulfill. They were expected to
provide for an ever expanding circle of family members (some of whom may
have invested in their education) and people from their village, tribe, and
province. An income that allowed a white to live like a lord because of a
lack of such obligations scarcely raised a black above the level of his
family. Mere equality of salary, therefore, was quite insufficient to
procure for them the standard of living that they saw the whites had and
that it was only human nature for them to desire-and believe themselves
entitled to, on account of the superior talent that had allowed them to
raise themselves above their fellows. In fact, a salary a thousand times as
great would hardly have been sufficient to procure it: for their social
obligations increased pari passu with their incomes.

      These obligations also explain the fact, often disdainfully remarked
upon by former colonials, that when Africans moved into the beautiful and
well-appointed villas of their former colonial masters, the houses swiftly
degenerated into a species of superior, more spacious slum. Just as African
doctors were perfectly equal to their medical tasks, technically speaking,
so the degeneration of colonial villas had nothing to do with the
intellectual inability of Africans to maintain them. Rather, the fortunate
inheritor of such a villa was soon overwhelmed by relatives and others who
had a social claim upon him. They brought even their goats with them; and
one goat can undo in an afternoon what it has taken decades to establish.

      It is easy to see why a civil service, controlled and manned in its
upper reaches by whites, could remain efficient and uncorrupt but could not
long do so when manned by Africans who were supposed to follow the same
rules and procedures. The same is true, of course, for every other
administrative activity, public or private. The thick network of social
obligations explains why, while it would have been out of the question to
bribe most Rhodesian bureaucrats, yet in only a few years it would have been
out of the question not to try to bribe most Zimbabwean ones, whose
relatives would have condemned them for failing to obtain on their behalf
all the advantages their official opportunities might provide. Thus do the
very same tasks in the very same offices carried out by people of different
cultural and social backgrounds result in very different outcomes.

      Viewed in this light, African nationalism was a struggle as much for
power and privilege as it was for freedom, though it co-opted the language
of freedom for obvious political advantage. In the matter of freedom, even
Rhodesia-certainly no haven of free speech-was superior to its successor
state, Zimbabwe. I still have in my library the oppositionist pamphlets and
Marxist analyses of the vexed land question in Rhodesia that I bought there
when Ian Smith was premier. Such thoroughgoing criticism of the rule of Mr.
Mugabe would be inconceivable-or else fraught with much greater dangers than
opposition authors experienced under Ian Smith. And indeed, in all but one
or two African states, the accession to independence brought no advance in
intellectual freedom but rather, in many cases, a tyranny incomparably worse
than the preceding colonial regimes.

      Of course, the solidarity and inescapable social obligations that
corrupted public and private administration in Africa also gave a unique
charm and humanity to life there and served to protect people from the worst
consequences of the misfortunes that buffeted them. There were always
relatives whose unquestioned duty it was to help and protect them if they
could, so that no one had to face the world entirely alone. Africans tend to
find our lack of such obligations puzzling and unfeeling-and they are not
entirely wrong.

      These considerations help to explain the paradox that strikes so many
visitors to Africa: the evident decency, kindness, and dignity of the
ordinary people, and the fathomless iniquity, dishonesty, and ruthlessness
of the politicians and administrators. This contrast recently struck me anew
when a lawyer asked me to prepare a report on a Zimbabwean woman who had
stayed illegally in England.

      She was in her forties and clearly in a disturbed state of mind.
Mostly she looked down at the floor, avoiding all eye contact. When she
looked up, her eyes seemed focused on infinity, or at least upon another
world. She spoke hardly a word: her story was told me by her niece, a nurse
who had come (or fled) to England some years before, and with whom she now

      During the war of "liberation," her brother had enlisted in the
Rhodesian army. One day the nationalist guerrillas came to her village and
commanded her parents to tell them where he was, that they might kill him as
a traitor to the African cause. But not knowing his whereabouts, her parents
could not answer: and so, in front of her eyes, and making her watch (she
was 17 years old at the time), they tied her parents to trees, doused them
in gasoline, and burned them to death. (At this point in the story, I could
not help but recall the argument, common among radicals at the time, that
those African countries that liberated themselves by force of arms faced a
better, brighter future than those that had been handed independence on a
plate, because the war of liberation would forge genuine leadership and
national unity. Algeria? Mozambique? Angola?)

      Whether or not it was witnessing this terrible scene that turned her
mind, she was never able thereafter to lead a normal life. She did not
marry, a social catastrophe for a woman in Zimbabwe. She was taken in and
looked after by a cousin who worked for a white farmer, and she spent her
life staring into space. Then the "war veterans" arrived, those who had
allegedly fought for Zimbabwe's freedom-in reality, groups of party thugs
intent upon dispossessing white farmers of their land in fulfillment of Mr.
Mugabe's demagogic and economically disastrous instructions. The white
farmer and his black manager were killed and all the workers whom the farm
had supported driven off the land. Hearing of her aunt's plight, her niece
in England sent her a ticket.

      This story illustrates both the ruthless appetite for power and
control unleashed in Africa by the colonial experience-an appetite made all
the nastier by some of the technological appurtenances of the colonialists'
civilization-and the generosity of the great majority of Africans. The niece
would look after her aunt uncomplainingly for the rest of her life,
demanding nothing in return and regarding it as her plain duty to do so,
also asking nothing from the British state. Her kindness toward her aunt,
who could contribute nothing, was moving to behold.

      My Zimbabwean experiences sensitized me to the chaos I later witnessed
throughout Africa. The contrast between kindness on the one hand and
rapacity on the other was everywhere evident: and I learned that there is no
more heartless saying than that the people get the government they deserve.
Who, en masse, could deserve an Idi Amin or a Julius Nyerere? Certainly not
the African peasants I encountered. The fact that such monsters could quite
explicably emerge from the people by no means meant that the people deserved

      The explanations usually given for Africa's post-colonial travails
seemed to me facile. It was often said, for example, that African states
were artificial, created by a stroke of a European's pen that took no notice
of social realities; that boundaries were either drawn with a ruler in
straight lines or at a natural feature such as a river, despite the fact
that people of the same ethnic group lived on both sides.

      This notion overlooks two salient facts: that the countries in Africa
that do actually correspond to social, historical, and ethnic realities-for
example Burundi, Rwanda, and Somalia-have not fared noticeably better than
those that do not. Moreover in Africa, social realities are so complex that
no system of boundaries could correspond to them. For example, there are
said to be up to 300 ethnic groups in Nigeria alone, often deeply intermixed
geographically: only extreme balkanization followed by profound ethnic
cleansing could have resulted in the kind of boundaries that would have
avoided this particular criticism of the European mapmakers. On the other
hand, pan-Africanism was not feasible: for the kind of integration that
could not be achieved on a small national scale could hardly be achieved on
a vastly bigger international one.

      In fact, it was the imposition of the European model of the
nation-state upon Africa, for which it was peculiarly unsuited, that caused
so many disasters. With no loyalty to the nation, but only to the tribe or
family, those who control the state can see it only as an object and
instrument of exploitation. Gaining political power is the only way
ambitious people see to achieving the immeasurably higher standard of living
that the colonialists dangled in front of their faces for so long. Given the
natural wickedness of human beings, the lengths to which they are prepared
to go to achieve power-along with their followers, who expect to share in
the spoils-are limitless. The winner-take-all aspect of Africa's political
life is what makes it more than usually vicious.

      But it is important to understand why another explanation commonly
touted for Africa's post-colonial turmoil is mistaken-the view that the
dearth of trained people in Africa at the time of independence is to blame.
No history of the modern Congo catastrophe is complete without reference to
the paucity of college graduates at the time of the Belgian withdrawal, as
if things would have been better had there been more of them. And therefore
the solution was obvious: train more people. Education in Africa became a
secular shibboleth that it was impious to question.

      The expansion of education in Tanzania, where I lived for three years,
was indeed impressive. The literacy rate had improved dramatically, so that
it was better than that of the former colonizing power, and it was inspiring
to see the sacrifices villagers were willing to make to enable at least one
of their children to continue his schooling. School fees took precedence
over every other expenditure. If anyone doubted the capacity of the poor to
make investments in their own future, the conduct of the Tanzanians should
have been sufficient to persuade him otherwise. (I used to lend money to
villagers to pay the fees, and-poor as they were-they never failed to repay

      Unfortunately, there was a less laudable, indeed positively harmful,
side to this effort. The aim of education was, in almost every case, that at
least one family member should escape what Marx contemptuously called the
idiocy of rural life and get into government service, from which he would be
in a position to extort from the only productive people in the
country-namely, the peasants from whom he had sprung. The son in government
service was social security, old-age pension, and secure income rolled into
one. Farming, the country's indispensable economic base, was viewed as the
occupation of dullards and failures, and so it was hardly surprising that
the education of an ever larger number of government servants went hand in
hand with an ever contracting economy. It also explains why there is no
correlation between a country's number of college graduates at independence
and its subsequent economic success.

      The naive supposition on which the argument for education rests is
that training counteracts and overpowers a cultural worldview. A trained man
is but a clone of his trainer, on this theory, sharing his every attitude
and worldview. But in fact what results is a curious hybrid, whose
fundamental beliefs may be impervious to the education he has received.

      I had a striking example of this phenomenon recently, when I had a
Congolese patient who had taken refuge in this country from the terrible war
in Central Africa that has so far claimed up to 3 million lives. He was an
intelligent man and had that easy charm that I remember well from the days
when I traversed-not without difficulty or discomfort-the Zaire of Marshal
Mobutu Sese Seko. He had two degrees in agronomy and had trained in Toulouse
in the interpretation of satellite pictures for agronomic purposes. He
recognized the power of modern science, therefore, and had worked for the
U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization, and was used to dealing with
Western aid donors and investors, as well as academics.

      The examination over, we chatted about the Congo: he was delighted to
meet someone who knew his country, by no means easily found in England. I
asked him about Mobutu, whom he had known personally.

      "He was very powerful," he said. "He collected the best witch doctors
from every part of Zaire. Of course, he could make himself invisible; that
was how he knew everything about us. And he could turn himself into a
leopard when he wanted."

      This was said with perfect seriousness. For him the magical powers of
Mobutu were more impressive and important than the photographic power of
satellites. Magic trumped science. In this he was not at all abnormal, it
being as difficult or impossible for a sub-Saharan African to deny the power
of magic as for an inhabitant of the Arabian peninsula to deny the power of
Allah. My Congolese patient was perfectly relaxed: usually, Africans feel
constrained to disguise from Europeans their most visceral beliefs, for
which they know the Europeans usually feel contempt, as primitive and
superstitious. And so, in dealing with outsiders, Africans feel obliged to
play an elaborate charade, denying their deepest beliefs in an attempt to
obtain the outsider's minimal respect. In deceiving others about their
innermost beliefs, often very easily, and in keeping their inner selves
hidden from them, they are equalizing the disparity of power. The weak are
not powerless: they have the power, for instance, to gull the outsider.

      Perhaps the most baleful legacy of British and other colonials in
Africa was the idea of the philosopher-king, to whose role colonial
officials aspired, and which they often actually played, bequeathing it to
their African successors. Many colonial officials made great sacrifices for
the sake of their territories, to whose welfare they were devoted, and they
attempted to govern them wisely, dispensing justice evenhandedly. But they
left for the nationalists the instruments needed to erect the tyrannies and
kleptocracies that marked post-independence Africa. They bequeathed a legacy
of treating ordinary uneducated Africans as children, incapable of making
decisions for themselves. No attitude is more grateful to the aspiring

      Take one example: the marketing boards of West Africa. Throughout West
Africa, millions of African peasants under British rule set up small
plantations for crops such as palm oil and cocoa. (Since cocoa trees mature
only after five years, this is another instance of the African peasant's
ability both to think ahead and delay gratification by investment, despite
great poverty.) Then the British colonial governments had the idea, benignly
intended, of protecting the peasant growers from the fluctuations of the
marketplace. They set up a stabilization fund, under the direction of a
marketing board. In good years, the marketing board would withhold from the
peasants some of the money their crops produced; in bad years, it would use
the money earned in the good years to increase their incomes. With stable
incomes, they could plan ahead.

      Of course, for the system to work, the marketing boards would have to
have monopoly purchasing powers. And it takes little imagination to see how
such marketing boards would tempt an aspiring despot with grandiose ideas
such as Dr. Nkrumah: he could use them in effect to tax Ghana's producers in
order to fund his insane projects and to subsidize the urban population that
was the source of his power, as well as to amass a personal fortune. A
continent away, in Tanzania, Nyerere used precisely the same means to
expropriate the peasant coffee growers: in the end causing them to pull up
their coffee bushes and plant a little corn instead, which at least they
could eat, to the great and further impoverishment of the country.

      The idea behind the marketing boards was a paternalist colonial one:
that peasant farmers were too simple to cope with fluctuating prices and
that the colonial philosopher-kings had therefore to protect them from such
fluctuations-this despite the fact that it was the simple peasants who grew
the commodities in the first place.

      After several years in Africa, I concluded that the colonial
enterprise had been fundamentally wrong and mistaken, even when, as was
often the case in its final stages, it was benevolently intended. The good
it did was ephemeral; the harm, lasting. The powerful can change the
powerless, it is true; but not in any way they choose. The unpredictability
of humans is the revenge of the powerless. What emerges politically from the
colonial enterprise is often something worse, or at least more vicious
because better equipped, than what existed before. Good intentions are
certainly no guarantee of good results.
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From ZWNEWS, 17 April

Whose soldiers?

Zimbabwe's escape from censure in yesterday's vote at the UN Human Rights
Commission was a narrow one. The 'no action' motion, led by South Africa,
was approved by 28 votes to 24, with one abstention. Sources at the meeting
said that South Africa had used its influence to persuade the African
nations present to vote as a bloc in favour of the motion, which effectively
ended all discussion on Zimbabwe. Prior to the vote, the Zimbabwe delegation
had circulated a lobbying paper to other delegations at the Geneva meeting.
Using florid language, the Zimbabwean delegation accuses Britain, and its
"principal ally" the United States, of direct and active responsibility for
the ongoing human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The recent widely-observed
national stayaway, the document claims, had been organised and timed "by
design" to coincide with the UN meeting. Britain and the US want to create a
human rights catastrophe, so that Zimbabwe will "explode", the delegation

The delegation admits in the paper that Zimbabweans have been beaten up by
soldiers in recent times, but then went on to ask, bizarrely: "Whose
soldiers?" These soldiers, the delegation explains, are Zimbabweans who had
been "enticed to commit atrocious human rights violations" and were "in the
pay of foreign governments". Evidence of these human rights abuses presented
at the UN meeting, including the "notoriuos" video In a Dark Time which
detailed the use of rape as a political tool in Zimbabwe, is dismissed as
"fiction, which is sometimes more convincing than reality". Those appearing
in the video, the delegations claims, "performed for a fee". Information was
at hand, the document claims, which showed that these foreign governments
intended to "intervene" in Zimbabwe to remove President Mugabe from power.
The document strongly implies that this intervention is to be military. "Let
us deny these forces the pretext they seek to 'liberate' yet another
developing country", the paper ends. In return for the diplomatic help from
the South Africans at the UN meeting, however, the state-owned Bulawayo
Chronicle on Tuesday carried an article accusing President Mbeki of "fast
becoming the George Bush of Africa", and of selling out to Britain and the
United States over the Zimbabwe issue in the hope of reviving prospects for
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Mail and Guardian

Zimbabwe: 'Never has the country been so isolated'


      17 April 2003 19:07

As Zimbabwe prepares to celebrate 23 years of independence from Britain on
Friday, deepening economic and social crises in the country are certain to
cast a shadow over festivities.

The country is due to mark its independence at a time when most Zimbabweans
are pre-occupied by the social and economic woes surrounding them.

Even as the country flounders in the grip of severe shortages of basic goods
and triple-digit inflation, the authorities this week nearly trebled the
price of gasoline.

At least 80% of the country's 11,6 million people live well below the
poverty line, and the recent fuel price increases are bound to plunge many
Zimbabweans even deeper into poverty and misery.

Unemployment rates hover at more than 70% and recurring power outages have
forced many industrialists to cut production time by at least half, adding
to the ranks of the unemployed.

Faced with huge debts accumulated by importing electricity and threats of
being cut off by South African and Mozambican suppliers, energy authorities
have introduced power rationing, a move that has further disrupted
manufacturing schedules.

In an independence message to his supporters, Morgan Tsvangirai, the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader said: "This nation
has been robbed of hope and the country has been reduced to wasteland."

A privately-owned weekly, The Zimbabwe Independent said: "Never has the
country been so impoverished and isolated."

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Lovemore Matombo said
there is nothing to celebrate at independence this year.

"It's no longer independence, it is now dependence," he said, referring to
the levels of poverty he said workers had been reduced to.

President Robert Mugabe himself last year acknowledged that poverty was on
the rise.

"Basic commodities are beyond the reach of many, poverty is increasing," he
said in last year's independence day address.

Since the late 1990s the Zimbabwe economy has been on a downward spiral.
Inflation that averaged 18 percent in 1997 is now reported to have reached a
crippling 228%.

A severe shortage of foreign currency, desperately needed for imports of
power, petroleum and food, has resulted in those commodities being in short
supply or priced beyond the reach of most Zimbabweans.

The country's gross domestic product (GDP) has been on the downward slide
over the past few years, with GDP growth pegged at a record low of -11,9%
last year.

The opposition says young people in the country have nothing to look forward

"Babies are not even allowed a chance to start in life because they are
being slowly starved to death due to shortages of baby food," said MDC
leader, Tsvangirai.

Despite tough security laws in the country that the opposition and civil
society say are designed to stifle protest, the MDC and the labour movement
have separately announced they will be staging mass action against the

On Wednesday the ZCTU demanded the government reverse the fuel price
increases or face mass action, which it warned could see "a lot of blood"
being spilled.

"There shall be a lot of blood sponsored by the government because the
government has sponsored a terrorist structure within itself to terrorise
Zimbabweans," Matombo told reporters.

In press advertisements published on Thursday, a local rights group, the
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CCZ) claimed that since Zimbabwe's
independence in 1980, Zimbabweans were now only "free to be intimidated, to
be tear-gassed ... free to be beaten, free to be silenced". - Sapa-AFP

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Bishops say Zimbabwe tortured cricket protesters

By Andrew Quinn

JOHANNESBURG, April 17 - Zimbabwe police stepped up harassment and torture
of political activists during this year's cricket World Cup despite
promising to permit peaceful protests, senior church leaders said on
       The Solidarity Peace Trust, a new group of South African and
Zimbabwean bishops, said human rights monitors documented at least 80 cases
of protesters detained in connection with three World Cup cricket matches
held in the city of Bulawayo.
       ''All those detained have reported torture or severe ill treatment,''
the group said in a report issued in Johannesburg. ''Furthermore, detentions
and torture took place during other peaceful protests in February and March,
and not only in relation to the cricket.''
       At the time World Cup organisers resisted overseas pressure to switch
matches to principal host South Africa, saying Zimbabwean authorities had
agreed to allow peaceful protests within the limits of the country's strict
security laws.
       Zimbabwe police charged a total of 42 people under those laws after
the demonstrators displayed posters critical of President Robert Mugabe
during a February 28 match in Bulawayo.
       The Solidarity Peace Trust was formed this month to press for
peaceful change in Zimbabwe and address human rights concerns. It is chaired
by Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo, long an outspoken critic of
Mugabe's government.
       Opposition groups and human rights activists have charged Mugabe's
government with harassment and repression as the country sinks into its
worst political and economic crisis since independence in 1980.
       The government on Wednesday escaped censure by the United Nations
Commission on Human Rights after African countries blocked a European Union
bid to condemn it for allegedly permitting ''numerous cases of assault and
torture in a climate of impunity.''
       In one case in the Trust's report, a 40-year-old female protester in
Bulawayo reported that she was held for four days in various police stations
and repeatedly beaten and whipped.
       She also said she was blindfolded and gagged with her own protest
banners -- one of which read ''We Need Freedom.''
       The trust said that in some cases detained protesters were subjected
to treatment which meets the U.N. criteria for torture, including assault
with batons, baseball bats and whips and deprivation of food, water and
medical care.
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Zimbabwe farmers to be reunited with their pets
April 17, 2003, 15:00

            More than 80 dogs and 20 cats that were left behind when their
owners fled Zimbabwe during the land eviction programme arrived safely in
Pretoria last night. The pets were transported in one large road shipment
and are kept at the city's Wetnose Animal Rescue Centre.

            The centre has rescued more than 5 000 dogs to date. Tracey
Forte, of the centre, says they have also rescued more than 600 cats and are
rehabilitating 14 horses.

            She says the cats and dogs will be flown to destinations all
over the country to be re-united with their owners. Those that can't be
taken back by their owners will be given new homes.
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UN agency to halve Zimbabwe food aid

By Cris Chinaka

ZAMBEZI VALLEY, Zimbabwe, April 17 - The United Nations World Food Programme
will halve its aid to Zimbabwe in May and June because some recipients have
grown enough crops to feed themselves for a time, a spokesman said on

       Nearly half of the southern African country's 14 million people have
survived on food aid in the past year amid severe shortages caused by
drought and a chaotic programme of farm seizures by President Robert
Mugabe's government.
       The WFP has been feeding an average 4.6 million people a month in one
of its largest humanitarian programmes in a region where over 14 million
people have been facing starvation.
       Production used to far exceed consumption, but average farming output
fell by about 75 percent last year.
       WFP Harare spokesman Luis Clemens told reporters in the poor
northeastern Dande district in the Zambezi Valley that the cut did not mean
Zimbabwe's food crisis was over, just that assistance would only go to those
in real need.
       ''We are not pulling out,'' he said, explaining food provision would
roughly halve to 30,000 tonnes a month in May and June.
       ''We are going to carry out a thorough assessment of what the food
aid needs are going to be, but for now we believe that up to half of those
who have been benefiting from the WFP can survive on their own for two or so
months,'' Clemens added.
       France's ambassador to Zimbabwe Didier Ferrand, accompanying a WFP
team to the dry Dande district, said it was clear Zimbabwe would still need
international aid.
       ''From here, you can see that some parts of the country still need
help,'' he said as he surveyed hundreds of villagers who had walked miles to
a distribution point to collect bags of the staple maize meal. Others had
come in ox-drawn carts.
       Mugabe's government has not yet released official 2002/03 harvest
forecasts, but some officials say current estimates vary between 500,000
tonnes and 1.3 million tonnes of maize.
       Aid agencies say the delay in estimating the crop could affect badly
needed food inflows later in the year.
       Zimbabwe's government-owned Herald newspaper said a 1.3 million tonne
maize harvest would meet two-thirds of the country's consumption needs.
       Farming officials say only between 600 and 800 out of 4,500 white
commercial farmers are actively farming.
       Mugabe says the land seizures are meant to correct colonial
imbalances that left 70 percent of the country's best farmland in the hands
of the minority white population.
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UN 'should tackle Zimbabwe'
Zanu-PF supporters
The ruling party is accused of intimidating the opposition
The UK should press for a UN resolution to stop the "crisis" of alleged human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, the Tories have said.

Shadow foreign secretary Michael Ancram says Britain cannot "turn its back" on reports of rapes, murders and beatings in Zimbabwe.

He fears people have "lost sight of what is happening" in Zimbabwe, because attention has been concentrated on war with Iraq.

He raised the issue as it emerged that the Zimbabwe government has ordered a huge crackdown on opposition supporters, with hundreds of claims of beatings and torture.

I would like to see a resolution before the UN Security Council, preferably moved by Britain
Michael Ancram
Many of the human rights abuses have been blamed on Zimbabwe's National Youth Service, known as the Green Bombers, teenagers who receive military training and who, according to some ex-members, are ordered to beat, burn, torture, rape and kill.

One group of youngsters, appalled by what was being asked of them, have escaped to South Africa where they are now on the run living rough.

World problem

Mr Ancram warned that the more the world ignores what Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is doing, "the more he is going to get away with it".

"Robert Mugabe said he was going to declare war on the opposition and that is precisely what he is doing," said Mr Ancram.

Michael Ancram
UK 'cannot turn its back' on Zimbabwe
"I have talked before about rape and murder and beating up. What I have been worried about over the last three or four weeks is because of what is happening in Iraq, people have lost sight of what is happening in Zimbabwe.

"I hope the world will now begin to look at what Mugabe's doing to his own people.

"I would like to see the UN involved. The UN has said this is an internal matter and don't want to get involved.

"I don't believe it is internal. I think what we are seeing now is a crisis which is spreading beyond the borders of Zimbabwe. Refugees are pouring into Botswana into the north part of South Africa and also humanitarian crisis is not one that is going to be specifically restricted to Zimbabwe."


Mr Ancram told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I would like to see a resolution before the UN Security Council, preferably moved by Britain and I would like to see the whole question internationalised.

"I don't see how we can go on having no action."

I hope the world will now begin to look at what Mugabe's doing to his own people
Michael Ancram
There was now "a very strong case" for involving the UN in what is happening in Zimbabwe, even if it was only sending in observers to see that food is properly distributed, said Mr Ancram.

"The UN cannot turn a blind eye to this, nor can South Africa which is beginning to be affected financially and politically by what is happening," he said.

"We cannot just walk by on the other side. Too many governments are trying to do that, including our own, and we really cannot let the people of Zimbabwe down that way.

"I would like to see us try to involve the UN. No real attempt has been made to do that."

British connections

Mr Ancram said he would like to see EU sanctions on Zimbabwe tightened up, assets frozen and travel restrictions on President Robert Mugabe and the families of "his henchmen" extended to the people that bankroll his regime.

He would also like to see a stronger use of the G8 rich countries' strategy for investing in Africa.

It's about Mugabe taking on his own people, declaring war on them and oppressing their civil rights, destroying law and destroying democracy
Michael Ancram
"I would like to see us saying to the African governments, of course we will invest in this development plan, in return for seeing you do something about Zimbabwe," said Mr Ancram.

"We cannot turn our backs on this. We know Zimbabwe. We have had connections with Zimbabwe. This isn't just about kith and kin and white farmers.

"It's about Mugabe taking on his own people, declaring war on them and oppressing their civil rights, destroying law and destroying democracy. We cannot stand by and let that happen."

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Zimbabwe Facing Power Outage
Tendai Maphosa
17 Apr 2003, 13:44 UTC

Zimbabwe is under threat of having its electricity imports from neighboring
countries cut off for overdue payments, caused by the country's foreign
currency shortage. The Zimbabwe power utility is resorting to some
unorthodox measures to try to raise the money.

Zimbabwe imports more than 30 percent of its electricity from Mozambique,
South Africa, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. But last month, the
Mozambican and South African power companies, alarmed at the growing debt
owed them by Zimbabwe, threatened to suspend supplies until payment was

After negotiations, the suppliers agreed to extend a deadline, but not
before Mozambique drastically reduced the power it sells to Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe then reduced electricity to its customers, leading to disruption of
supply to households and industry in some areas.

Since the agreement was reached, disruptions to domestic consumers have been
minimal, although industrial areas and residential areas adjacent to them
are still experiencing power cuts.

A Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority official, who spoke on condition of
anonymity, said that, while there is indeed a reduction of power, industry
suffers the effects because the utility is trying to persuade exporting
manufacturers to pay their bills in foreign currency, so the utility can pay
its suppliers.

The power official said Zimbabwe's central bank authorized the utility to
bill exporting industrialists in foreign currency, on the understanding that
such payments were made voluntarily and that they could also be made using
the Zimbabwe dollar equivalent.

But the problem arose when industrial consumers realized that when they pay
in local currency they are being asked to pay at the parallel market rate of
1600 Zimbabwean dollars to the U.S. dollar, rather than the official rate of
824 to the U.S. dollar.

Because of the power cuts, some major companies have reduced production by
as much as 50 percent.

But not all companies affected are exporters. The manager of a small,
Harare-based panel beating company, who also preferred to remain anonymous,
said companies in his area have been going without power for at least four
hours daily, including weekends, since the crisis started. He said his
company has now introduced a night shift, during which time the power supply
is uninterrupted.

Other companies have responded to the power cuts by closing early for
Easter. The panel-beating company manager said complaints to the supply
authority have been met with indifference. He also said he was told that his
was one of more than 300 complaints the utility receives every day.

Zimbabwe is facing its worst economic crisis since independence 23 years
ago. There are chronic shortages of basic commodities and fuel. Inflation
stands at 228 percent. The unemployment rate is 80 percent and still rising.
And there are fears that Zimbabwe's industry could collapse totally if its
neighbors carry out their threat to discontinue electricity supplies.
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Zimbabwe's torturers on the run

By Alastair Leithead
BBC, Johannesburg, South Africa

They are young Zimbabweans living rough in Johannesburg, on the run from the Zimbabwean secret service and the youth force commanders who taught them violence.

Former green bombers
The green bombers are much feared
They are not wanted for the rapes, beatings, murders and arson they committed in the name of Zimbabwe's ruling party, but because they ran away and are now telling the truth about what they've been doing.

"We went to the farms and broke everything. We took livestock, machines and burned the houses. The children were raped, the small children. We raped the girls. We targeted white farmers and opposition politicians," said Themba Skhosana, who's 19.

In the last few weeks a massive government crackdown on the opposition Movement for Democratic Change has seen hundreds of supporters arrested, most held without charge and then released days later - many having been beaten and tortured.


Responsible for much of the violence is Zimbabwe's National Youth Service - what the government calls a peace corps designed to lift youngsters out of poverty, but what its former members describe as ruling Zanu-PF party military camps of teenagers being taught to beat, rape and kill.

"They used to give us beer and drugs and told us we were going to destroy farms. Also, people who were MDC were not allowed to buy food from the shops, but Zanu-PF were allowed food when they showed their card," said Andrew Moyo, also 19.

Torture victim
They took the urine from my kid and said: 'Drink it'
Patricia, MDC activist

They're notorious in the country as the "green bombers" after the uniforms they wear and the chaos that follows in their wake.

Themba Ndlovu is 22, he said they were promised money, jobs and land, but instead they were forced to attack people and burn down farms - they received nothing and were told if they ran away they would be killed.

"We used crowbars and firearms," he said. "I have not killed, but I have raped. I raped a 12 year old girl. We have attacked people from the MDC party - many people. I need to change my life - that is why I ran away from Zimbabwe.

"It is too hard living on the streets in Johannesburg. The Zimbabwe Central Intelligence Officers are looking for us and if the South African police find us they will send us back.

"If I am taken back to Zimbabwe I will be assassinated, jailed or killed. Others have been taken back from South Africa and they have just disappeared."

The boys ran away from their camps and with help from friends and relatives illegally crossed into South Africa. It's not known how many have escaped, but their accounts paint a brutal picture of state-sponsored killing and violence.


Moses Mzila-Ndlovu is shadow foreign minister in Zimbabwe and an MDC MP - he says there has been widespread intimidation after a peaceful mass protest last month.

MDC MP Moses Mzila-Ndlovu
MP Moses Mzila-Ndlovu: People want their liberties back
"Five hundred people were arrested in a matter of two or three days soon after the mass stay-away and it shows you the level of harassment and intimidation. Two hundred and fifty of these people needed hospital treatment," he said while in South Africa.

"Whether Mugabe arrests us or not the people of Zimbabwe have become so confident and daring as to demand their civil liberties back, demand an end to this brutalisation, demand a restoration of the rule of law and to demand a legitimate government."

With the crisis taking place on Zimbabwe's doorstep and with President Thabo Mbeki currently chairing the African Union (AU), the emphasis has been put on South Africa and the region to take a harder line on Zimbabwe.

But President Mbeki said the AU "doesn't have a position on Zimbabwe". His official spokesman said he would comment on almost anything except Zimbabwe, and the department of foreign affairs also refused to be interviewed saying government policy has not changed.

That policy, in place for months now, is for "quiet diplomacy," but it doesn't appear to have had any effect on an increasing catalogue of violence and human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

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No human rights scrutiny in Zim
17/04/2003 21:11  - (SA)

Harare - The Zimbabwe government on Thursday said it was grateful to African
and Asian states for supporting a vote carried by the UN human rights forum
not to scrutinise the country's human rights record.

On Wednesday the UN Human Rights Commission meeting in Geneva voted in
favour of a motion of 'no action' against Zimbabwe, which the country's
Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge said marked a defeat for the country's

Mudenge said that a "frantic exercise of vilification of Zimbabwe" by
European countries and the US had been thwarted through the solidarity shown
by Asian and African countries towards Zimbabwe.

On Wednesday, 28 mostly Asian and African members of the commission voted in
favour of the 'no action' motion moved by South Africa. Twenty-four voted
against the motion, while one member abstained.

"I am grateful to those countries which have withstood the blandishments and
the pressures that were being exerted by the Western countries," Mudenge
told a press conference.

The EU had expected debate and a vote on its resolution criticising
Zimbabwe's human rights record, while the US had vowed to have the southern
African country's alleged human rights abuses condemned at the meeting.

The EU document claimed that abuses were continuing to be committed by the
government, including assaults, torture, rape, arbitrary arrests, and
attempts to clamp down on the judiciary.

A task force of the Southern African Development Cummunity (SADC) is
expected in the country soon to look into issues in the country, including
claims of human rights abuses against the opposition.

But Mudenge reiterated to reporters that the visit by the task force was
"not an inquisition... it is an act of solidarity."

However, he said neither would the task force be coming for "a white-washing
exercise" but would be allowed to determine its own agenda and meet with a
wide section of Zimbabweans, including the opposition.

Mudenge said Angola's foreign minister was due to visit him next week to
decide on the dates for the visit by the task force.

Angola currently chairs the 14-nation SADC grouping.
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Harvard University Gazette

Zimbabwean journalist Nyarota finds sanctuary at Harvard :
Years of uncovering corruption brought threats, arrest
By Alvin Powell
Gazette Staff

Geoffrey Nyarota knew something was wrong last December when an acquaintance
called to tell him the government-owned radio was reporting that he had been
dismissed as editor-in-chief of the Daily News, Zimbabwe's largest
independent newspaper.

The call surprised him for a simple reason: he hadn't yet been dismissed.

Nyarota asked who was quoted as the story's source - it was Samuel Sipepa
Nkomo, the voice at the other end said.

Nkomo, the paper's recently hired executive chairman, was sitting across the
desk from Nyarota.

The two had been discussing Nkomo's displeasure that Nyarota had paid
striking workers over the Christmas holiday without consulting Nkomo, who
had been away. Though Nyarota said he did so to ensure the paper went out,
Nkomo suspended him anyway. Further, Nkomo asked the government, as is
required in Zimbabwe, for permission to fire Nyarota. Nyarota said he told
Nkomo he would resign to save him the trouble of seeking permission from the
government. It was while the two men were in the midst of this discussion
that the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation announced that Nyarota had been

After six arrests, two death threats, and years of being harassed by
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's police and security services, Nyarota had
developed a sense for trouble. And, as he hung up the phone, his internal
alarms were screaming.

His alarms had been screaming for months, actually, ever since Nkomo was
appointed executive chairman at the paper the previous April.

Nkomo had been a casualty of one of the Daily News' many investigations over
the years, before he became executive chairman of the Daily News. Nkomo had
resigned as head of the Mining Industry Pension Fund and been arrested after
a Daily News investigation into the misuse of those funds, according to
Nyarota. Tensions were so high at one point, Nyarota said, that Nkomo's wife
chased him and a photographer from her workplace when they came to interview
her on allegations of fraud involving her and her husband.

With all that swirling in his head when he left the paper that afternoon,
Nyarota began packing.

"I got the message," Nyarota said. "I got the impression that I was now very
vulnerable. In the past, when the police had looked for me, I had the
protection of the Daily News."

Nyarota left Harare that day for a small town. He left just hours ahead of
the police, who visited his office the following morning. They came for him
at home that night too, at 1 a.m., but he hadn't returned. He did go back to
Harare, but just long enough to pick up an airline ticket and catch the
first flight to Johannesburg the following morning. Ten days later, he was
joined by his wife and two of his children. A week later, they were in the
United States.

Mugabe and the press

Nyarota's caution was well-founded, according to the New York-based
nonprofit Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). In May 2002, the committee
named Zimbabwe among the worst 10 countries in which to be a journalist. The
designation puts Zimbabwe in such company as Colombia, Afghanistan, Cuba,
and Iran.

In the two years prior to the designation, CPJ said, Mugabe's government had
detained more than 50 journalists, tortured at least two, and filed more
than three dozen lawsuits against reporters and their news outlets. CPJ also
cited police and progovernment vigilante attacks against several journalists
and three bomb attacks since 2000 against the Daily News alone.

While keeping an eye on conditions in Zimbabwe, the CPJ became aware of
Nyarota's work. It awarded him one of its 2001 International Press Freedom
Awards, for his "courage to speak in a silenced land."

It was the CPJ that became aware of Nyarota's latest troubles and alerted
Harvard's Nieman Foundation, according to Nieman Curator Robert Giles.

Giles said the foundation is among four programs in the country that offer
fellowships to journalists being persecuted in their homelands. After
hearing from the CPJ, Giles said, the Nieman Foundation offered Nyarota a
fellowship, which he accepted early this year.

"In the case of Geoff, he needed sanctuary," Giles said. "We moved very
quickly because this is an urgent matter."

Giles said Nyarota is the third journalist the Nieman Foundation has
accepted under similar circumstances. Nyarota's story, along with that of
other international fellows working under difficult conditions, helps U.S.
fellows and those working in more press-friendly nations understand the
difficulties some of their colleagues face.

"This is one of the dimensions the international fellows bring to the U.S.
fellows each year," Giles said. "[U.S. fellows] are deeply respectful and
admiring of journalists who persevere under those circumstances."

Because the fellowship started midyear, Nyarota will remain at Harvard
through the end of the year.

Willowgate and the free press

Nyarota said he'd like to return to Zimbabwe, but he isn't sure when it will
be safe for him to do so

Nyarota had been a thorn in Mugabe's side since 1988, when as editor of the
government-owned Chronicle in Bulawayo, he helped expose government
corruption in an auto factory. Amid an automobile shortage, government and
political officials would buy cars for a relatively small amount at the
government-run Willowvale factory and sell them to the auto-starved public
for inflated prices.

Nyarota said the shortage had gotten so bad that people had to make a 30
percent down payment for a car and then wait as long as three years for
delivery. In one case, he said, a vehicle bought by a government minister
for 30,000 Zimbabwe dollars in the morning was resold that evening for
Z$115,000. The scandal was eventually dubbed "Willowgate" and resulted in
the resignation of several of Mugabe's top ministers and prompted one to
commit suicide.

After Willowgate, the Chronicle's management kicked Nyarota upstairs to a
new position in the Chronicle's main office in Harare. After the move,
Nyarota said he didn't feel safe and left Zimbabwe for several years of
self-imposed exile.

"There was absolute pandemonium [during Willowgate]," Nyarota said. "Where
there had been allegations of corruption in the past, this was the first
time anyone had proved it.... But the pressure on me was so much that people
say I'm lucky to be alive now."

After teaching journalism in southern Africa from 1994 until 1996, Nyarota
returned to Zimbabwe in 1997. This time he had even grander plans. He wanted
to start an independent newspaper to compete with the government-owned
papers that dominated the news.

Two years later, the Daily News debuted, with a heavy emphasis on
investigative journalism.

"Since 1999, it has run a collision course with the government," Nyarota
said. "Until then, the government-owned newspapers had treated government as
a sacred lamb. We tried to break down that situation and report news
reflecting the situation as it was. ... it was inevitable, but we were
rather surprised by the extent of the government's reaction, or

Bombs and death threats

The government's reaction was at least partially sparked by the paper's
success. In a short time, Nyarota said, the Daily News surpassed the
government-run Herald as the nation's largest-circulation daily, reaching a
circulation of 129,000. The Herald, meanwhile, had seen its circulation fall
from about 160,000 to just 60,000, Nyarota said.

In 2000, with Mugabe facing opposition from the Movement for Democratic
Change in the presidential election, pressure on the Daily News intensified,
Nyarota said. He was arrested six times since then, he said, and received
death threats in April and July of that year.

The July death threat was revealed, Nyarota said, when the alleged hit man
met Nyarota in the paper's elevator. Nyarota greeted the stranger and asked
about his family. After chatting a few moments, the man told Nyarota he had
to see him privately.

Nyarota summoned other senior editors and they sat down with the man, who
said he had been hired by Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence Organization to
assassinate Nyarota. The man, Nyarota said, changed his mind when Nyarota
greeted him in the elevator. The man proved his story to the satisfaction of
Nyarota and other editors after calling police headquarters and talking with
people there.

During this period of turmoil, the paper was bombed twice, Nyarota said. In
the first incident, a grenade was thrown into the curio shop under his
office, wrecking the shop but injuring nobody. The second bombing occurred
in January 2001, Nyarota said, when four bombs were planted in the paper's
printing presses, completely wrecking them.

Though the presses were destroyed, the paper published on schedule, with the
aid of several private printers.

Though he has his own theories, Nyarota said it's still a mystery how Nkomo
was appointed executive chairman of the paper in April 2002. Nyarota's
queries to the paper's majority owner, who helped Nyarota get the
publication off the ground, were fruitless, Nyarota said. Nyarota said he
believes his ouster was partly due to the government's reluctance to
register him - and the lack of an excuse not to - under new laws to register
journalists, which were to take effect in January.

The paper's official position on his dismissal was detailed in a Jan. 3
article. In it, Nkomo denied any political agenda and said the action had
nothing to do with the new registration requirements. He said Nyarota was
fired for unilaterally paying striking workers without authority. In the
article, Nkomo denied that Nyarota had resigned and said that the firing was
the "culmination of a series of actions by Nyarota which went against almost
all principles of good and ethical management."

Nyarota said that until the episode leading to his departure, Nkomo had
never discussed Nyarota's management style with him.

Still biting

Despite his absence today, Nyarota said the Daily News "still has bite." The
staff of journalists is still committed to revealing government corruption,
he said. He worries, however, that the emphasis on investigative reporting
will fade. His deputy editor quit after Nyarota left and two younger editors
were promoted into the top two spots over senior people Nyarota had hired.

Nyarota said he persevered over the years because of a growing sense of
public responsibility and accountability. It's that same sense, he said,
that he hopes will keep his colleagues at the paper going.

"Those journalists at the Daily News also feel the same. They feel a sense
of responsibility to the nation," Nyarota said. "It's a form of national
service for the welfare of our people."
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The Namibian

      Time Will Tell Who Commits

      IT IS troubling to note that our Government is resistant to voluntary
accession to the Peer Review Mechanism (PRM) which aims to ensure compliance
with the principles of Nepad.

      Leading Government figures have described the PRM as "neo-colonialism"
and an "unworkable notion".

      Our Prime Minister, Theo-Ben Gurirab, has been in the forefront of
such criticism.

      And if, as he himself maintains, "Nepad is the brainchild of the
African Union", why would he want to distance Namibia from acceding to the
Peer Review Mechanism, which is after all, of their own invention.

      Africans should give the new African Union, with its related
organisations, such as Nepad, a chance to work and governments, NGOs and
media should make it known to our people so they can be full participants.

      At the same time we do not believe that criticisms or queries about
aspects of the AU and Nepad should be merely dismissed as playing into the
hands of outsiders.

      SA President Thabo Mbeki, addressing African Editors at a forum in
Johannesburg last weekend, also berated the media and others for arguing
that press and other democratic freedoms should be protected by the Peer
Review Mechanism as it was a voluntary process.

      He suggested that some media felt Africa could not be trusted to
promote democracy without the guardianship of the West, and that they should
instead focus on the establishment of a Pan African Parliament and study the
protocol currently being legislated by African Parliaments.

      He questioned whether journalists would allow themselves to be
'instruments of liberation' or allow the African rebirth to pass them by.

      If one goes by President Mbeki's comments, and those of our own Prime
Minister, one is forced to question why the AU and Nepad have bothered at
all with a Peer Review Mechanism? For our Prime Minister to refer to it as
"a killer disease" which we should "run away from", seems absurd.

      We have in any case a Constitution which strongly commits to
democracy, good governance and maintenance of human rights? Why should it
now be problematic for our Government to voluntarily submit itself to
compliance with the Peer Review Mechanism? Why should it even be regarded as
"neo-colonial" when it is a vital part of our own commitment to our people.

      It should not be regarded as a problem if the West uses this mechanism
to decide who "deserves" aid or not - rather it should be there for purposes
of African governments' transparency to the people of the continent.

      President Mbeki referred journalists instead to AU principles, but it
is important to note, for example, that the constitution of the AU fails to
protect press freedom.

      The African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights has adopted a
Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression stresses "the fundamental
importance of freedom of expression as an individual right, as a cornerstone
of democracy and a means of ensuring respect for all human rights and
freedoms", which is very positive, but the question remains as to how these
measures can be enforced in the context of AU and Nepad.

      Every African would want to give the AU and Nepad a chance of success.

      In fact many see this as the start of the African renaissance.

      But others remain cynical.

      Nepad is, after all, a declaration of principles put forth by the same
African political leadership that is largely responsible for the malaise
that afflicts our continent.

      African governments are signatory to many declarations and charters,
but the issue is whether they can commit themselves in practice, and this
would entail some form of monitoring of aspects to which they have simply
paid lip service to in the past.

      Zimbabwe's constitution, for example provides for press freedom, but
who can refute the fact that it is not implemented in practice.

      There are many such examples, and the fact that governments commit
themselves to a review process surely cannot be construed as 'neo-colonial',
but rather as proof of their commitment to the principles enshrined in

      This is what will make a difference from the past.

      This will ensure a commitment to accountability, scrutiny and good
governance, even if it does mean showing up the 'good guys and the bad
guys', something to which our Prime Minister objected.

      This is what will ensure an African renaissance, and as one observer
pointed out: Nepad's best chance is to work with a coalition of willing
African leaders who co-operate because they believe in the contribution the
mechanism can make.

      Time will tell who counts themselves part of that group.
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Zim fuel hikes 'criminal'
17/04/2003 11:26  - (SA)

Harare - Fuel price hikes of more than 200% announced by the Zimbabwe
government are "criminal" and could lead to the collapse of President Robert
Mugabe's government, the opposition said on Wednesday.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) described the fuel price
hikes announced on Tuesday as "astronomical, bizarre and shocking" and said
they proved that the government was "clueless on how to address the economic
ills" of the country.

The energy and power development minister announced the that the pump price
of petrol was going up from $2.64 to US$8.18 a litre, with diesel, mainly
used in public transport, shooting up from $2.17 to the equivalent of
US$3.64 per litre.

Seven weeks ago, the government put the price of petrol up 95%.

"If ever any illustration of the failure of the Mugabe regime was required,
then this is it," said MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube.

"This sort of insensitive brazen behaviour by the state is an open
invitation to the people of Zimbabwe to take the route of mass action," said

"The fuel hike will simply serve to accelerate the collapse of the Mugabe
regime," Ncube told a news conference.

Last month the MDC organised a two-day anti-government national strike which
was widely followed and virtually ground the country to a halt.

The MDC has challenged the result of the 2002 presidential election,
claiming that Mugabe fraudulently won the vote from MDC leader Morgan

"Mugabe is learning the hard way that it was easier to steal an election
than it is to live with that theft," said Ncube.

"The harsh reality of politically induced economic failure is becoming more
and more pervasive," he said.

MDC shadow economic minister Tapiwa Mashakada said the increases in the
price of fuel "resemble a blitz, suggesting that the Mugabe regime is

Ncube said the fuel price increases are criminal given the low incomes of
the majority of Zimbabweans.

He cited, as an example, a member of parliament - relatively well paid by
standards in the southern African country, but whose net monthly salary
would only buy 120l of petrol.

"This is absolutely shocking," he said, adding that the ripple effect of the
fuel prices would leave beleaguered Zimbabweans even worse off, as they
would force prices of other commodities and services up.

The latest fuel price hikes came hours after the government published the
latest inflation figure for Zimbabwe: a record 228% year on year to the end
of March.

Consumers have also been hard hit by widespread shortages of virtually all
basic commodities.

"The latest fuel hikes will mean more Zimbabweans will be forced to go
without food and travel by foot, adding another level of suffrance to their
daily grind," lamented Ncube.

Mashakada said the continuing fuel price increases showed that the
government had "completely" failed and is actions conflicted with its
recently announced ambitious economic recovery plan, under which it intends
to bring down inflation to 96 percent by the end of the year.

"Government has reached a cul de sac in terms of economic management," he
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Times of Oman

      HM greets Zimbabwe president

      MUSCAT - His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said has sent a cable of
greetings to President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe on his country's
Independence Day. In his cable, His Majesty the Sultan wished the president
good health and happiness and the Zimbabwean people further progress and
prosperity. - ONA
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The Herald

Sadc diplomats back Zimbabwe

Herald Reporter
Sadc Commonwealth diplomats in London have distanced their governments from
the views of the Club's secretary-general Mr Don McKinnon that Zimbabwe
remains suspended from the organisation.

"In terms of the mandate of the Troika, the suspension of Zimbabwe from the
councils of the Commonwealth expired at the end of 12 months on 19 March
2003 and in our view, any attempt at subsequent extension is therefore null
and void," said the diplomats in a statement.

They said their governments were not part to Mr McKinnon's statement that
the majority of members wanted the Zimbabwean situation to be reviewed at
the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Nigeria later this year.

The diplomats said Commonwealth decisions were based on the principle of

"It would, therefore, be an unfortunate precedent if the consultative
process is conducted in a way that negates established procedures that guide
the affairs of the Commonwealth," the diplomats said.

The diplomats reiterated their support and solidarity with Nigeria and South
Africa, the other members of the troika, who opposed the extension of the
suspension of Zimbabwe.

Mr McKinnon last month unilaterally issued a statement maintaining
Zimbabwe's suspension from the Club for a further nine months.

He claimed that members of the Commonwealth Troika - Australia, Nigeria and
South Africa - had agreed to extend the suspension of Zimbabwe.

The move prompted South Africa to issue a statement distancing itself from
the decision, calling it a "political and procedural travesty".

Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth for one year and the suspension
was supposed to expire in March.

The suspension was based on a report by the Commonwealth observer team to
the presidential election last year.

The Government dismissed the report saying it was not factual and was done
without following Commonwealth procedures.
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Guard your independence jealously, says President

By Lovemore Mataire
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday challenged youths to safeguard the country's
independence and reminded them of the sacrifices made for the country to be
enjoying the freedom it is cherishing today.

Addressing hundreds of children gathered at the City Sports Centre in Harare
for the traditional independence eve party he hosts for them, Cde Mugabe
said this year's independence celebrations were unique in that the land was
now in the hands of the people.

"But remember also and this is the message I want you to give to your
friends, the comrades you have left behind, that in celebrating our
independence, we are celebrating the coming back of our land.

"We celebrate Chimurenga 3, Chimurenga chechitatu. We celebrate the
ownership of land that has now come our way.

"The land is ours and lets take care of it. Those of you who are growing up
will get to know the value of land. Perhaps you already know that value
because many of you come from rural areas," said President Mugabe.

He said land defines the people, the Government and the country's

President Mugabe told the children that the ownership of land did not fall
from heaven like manna but was fought for.

He said thousands of people perished during the liberation struggle and many
others were arrested and detained.

Some of the people who scarified to liberate the country, said President
Mugabe, have been declared national or provincial heroes while some war
veterans, liberators and many others who supported the struggle in one way
or another were alive.

"These are the people we celebrate today (yesterday). Tomorrow (today) we
celebrate Easter although in August we have a special day when we recognise
the work that our heroes have done," the President said.

He said the nation could not celebrate independence without thinking of
those people who suffered and died for it. He urged the youths to keep in
mind the special value of independence.

"Independence is a crucial reward of that sacrifice. Let us remember that we
cannot betray them (liberation fighters) for money as some amongst us are
doing, selling their country for money.

"We cannot ever again (betray) this reward, which came to us after so much
loss of life, so much suffering, so much spilling of blood," said Cde

He said Zimbabwe would remain independent, as that was the wish of those who
perished in the liberation struggle.

The President said the past 23 years were crucial in the country's history
as they were years of development, transformation and realisation of the
ideals and objectives of the liberation struggle.

Although the immediate objective of the struggle was to attain freedom and
liberate the country, there were social and economic objectives as well.

The President said the young people should appreciate the coming of
independence for they now have the opportunity to attain education, which
was not the case during the colonial era.

He urged them to seize opportunities to pursue their studies and careers of
their choice.

Cde Mugabe paid tribute to teachers for their dedication in helping students
succeed even under difficult times.

He reiterated Government's commitment to improving conditions of service for
teachers including their salaries and housing, which he said was a problem
to the entire public service.

"Our teachers are meaningful, purposeful, dedicated and desirous of ensuring
the success of their children. The majority of them work very hard and I
want to take this opportunity to thank them for the good work that they are
doing," said President Mugabe.

He said nurses and doctors and the military also faced housing problems and
there was need to implement housing programmes to make workers comfortable.

The President however said there were some errant teachers who instead of
teaching were "cheating". He said these would be disciplined just like a
cheating student would be disciplined by his teachers.

Cde Mugabe told the children that all institutions of learning in the
country offered opportunities for them to develop not only intellectually
but also morally and be able to take care of themselves.

He urged youths to desist from taking alcohol and drugs but to grow up to be
disciplined and responsible citizens.

At least 50 pupils from each of the country's provinces attended the party
marked by a carnival atmosphere with traditional groups entertaining the

The Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Cde Aneas Chigwedere, his
secretary Mr Thompson Tsodzo, the Minister of State for Information and
Publicity Professor Jonathan Moyo and several Cabinet Ministers and senior
Zanu-PF officials attended the celebrations.
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