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

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Streak's rebels head for court

Telford Vice in Durban
Saturday April 17, 2004
The Guardian>

The battle for Zimbabwean cricket threatened to rumble into the courts
yesterday when the board and the rebel players began legal action against
each other.
Each has accused the other of breach of contract, and the parties have 21
days to settle their differences. If they do not the matter will be dragged
into court, where the passions that have led to this impasse can only be
inflamed. "This could get ugly," a player said with almost comical

The first salvo in the legal war was fired yesterday morning after the
former captain Heath Streak and his 12 rebels failed to turn up, as ordered,
to a training session in Harare.

"The next stage is letters to the individuals asking them to remedy their
breach [of contract]," the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) managing director
Vince Hogg said after rain prevented the training session from going ahead.

A player said the rebels were dissuaded from an attempt at reconciliation by
a conversation between the opposing lawyers. "We were going to pitch up at
the practice, not to practise but to walk into Vince Hogg's office and have
a discussion," the player said.

"We were going to act in good faith to try and solve the crisis. But we
received the letter at 8.45am saying that if we didn't arrive at 10am we
would be in breach of contract. Our lawyer called their lawyer, who said the
ZCU were not going to budge on any of our demands. So what was the point of
us going there? They have closed the door on us."

The players' lawyer, Chris Venturas, is confident they have a case. "I feel
we have enough to allege a fundamental breach of their contract," he said.
"It's an implicit term of a contract that you have a reasonable board of
selectors. I believe there is consensus that that hasn't happened."

The 13 players have refused to play in the imminent series against Sri
Lanka, and on Thursday the ZCU named an inexperienced squad for the first of
five one-day internationals, in Bulawayo on Tuesday. The expectation is that
Sri Lanka will rout Tatenda Taibu's team, but if the visitors fail to do so
it will reduce the rebels' bargaining power. "How those games go could make
us or break us," a player said.

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      Tobacco workers go on strike in Zimbabwe 2004-04-17 05:17:37

          HARARE, April 16 (Xinhuanet) -- Workers from different tobacco
companies in Zimbabwe went on strike here on Friday to press for a250
percent salary increment resulting in the disruption of sales at the Tobacco
Sales Floor (TSF).

          Sales at the country's biggest floor had to be suspended to
Tuesday next week after only 75 bales were sold out of an average 750 bales
that it sells per day.

          TSF managing director David Machingaidze said the action by
theworkers could not be condoned as it had a great impact on foreign
currency inflows "at this time when the country is in dire need offoreign

          Machingaidze said the action by workers had inconvenienced
farmers, adding that they had to give farmers advance payment pending the
sale of the remaining crop.

          "The action has been a huge inconvenience to most small-scale
farmers. We have tried to assist them with cash advances pending the sale of
their tobacco as we have realized that most of them came from far away
places and needed money to travel back to theirhomes," he said.

          An official with Zimbabwe Leaf Tobacco said the company operated
with a skeletal staff after most of them went on strike.

          The workers, who are mostly casual, earn a minimum of 255,000
Zimbabwean dollars (about 58 US dollars) per month.

          There were also allegations from workers that most employers were
intending to retrench after the tobacco-selling season, as the industry was
facing operational and viability problems.
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ABC Australia

Zimbabwe cricket crisis won't stop Aussie tour
Cricket Australia says the current unrest among Zimbabwe's players will have
no impact on whether it goes ahead with the Test and one-day tour in May.

The Zimbabwe Cricket Union is currently facing a player revolt which has led
to 13 white players not being selected for the first one-day match against
Sri Lanka next week.

The players are at odds with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union about political
interference in team selection and are backing the re-instatement of Heath
Streak as captain.

But Cricket Australia's Graeme Vimpani says while the dispute could affect
the strength of the host team, it will not affect the tour.

"We fully support the ICC's future tours program, which requires all ICC
Test playing nations to play each other home and abroad at least once every
five years, so we have a bigger picture in mind I guess and, as I said,
safety and security are our primary concern," he said.

"Should we ever feel that the safety and security of the touring group is
ever going to be compromised, that's when we would seriously look at not

"But we've had our pre-tour inspection and all the boxes have been ticked
and we're going to be going ahead as planned."

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Extract from Pambazuka News 152:

Fahamu (Oxford)
April 15, 2004


Debating disobedience in Zimbabwe

Monica, Newcastle

Yes our children are hungry, but what good is beating empty pots in protest
against the exorbitant food prices? The idea of civil disobedience is
forthcoming but will it really achieve anything? What needs to be taken into
consideration is whom we are addressing the issues to and do they care? As
citizens we should first understand the flow of our economy, that is, where
is it coming from and where is it going to. Until we can answer these
questions what arguments are we going to present to the rulers of the
country? Maybe we all need fast track courses in business administration and
economics to get the grounding of the economic flow of Zimbabwe? As it
stands hyper-inflation is the result of high food prices.

How can we develop the economy first? After that how do we stabilise it?
Then price controls. We need to start from the root of the problem. Where
did we go wrong? What were our main sources of income for the country ten
years ago? What are they now? Are we importing more than we are exporting?
Are we now importing more than we used to?

Besides, if we are importing the basic things then we are looking at a very
serious situation that requires much more than words and disobedience. How
valuable are our exports if we have any at all? How are we proposing to
rectify the problem? Do we have a reasonable percentage of investors? What
are the investments in and how beneficial is it to Zimbabwe? Do we have more
companies than we did ten years ago, and if so what good are they to our
every day life? Where are the taxes going? Who is really benefiting in
Zimbabwe? Are the rich, richer and the poor, poorer? How are we fairing on
an African scale, are we lagging behind? If so how far behind are we from
other African nations? How are we relating with the rest of the world and
vice versa?

Bearing in mind that Zimbabwe has become a lawless totalitarian state, is
putting our efforts in a worthwhile cause? We also need to realise that
lobbying for reduction in food prices may have negative consequences. There
is a much higher price to pay in all this and are we prepared for this? As a
civil society what other methods are there of making food more available to
the country? How else can we implement a system that is more responsive to
our needs as a nation. I would say we are not yet ready because we are
thinking with our "tummies" and not our brains.

What good is it to have a whole day of marching, screaming and shouting to
have food prices reduced when it is impossible under the circumstances. We
need to think rationally and act rationally like a nation with focused
goals. We all need to start working hard to produce results for the benefit
of the country.

We need to kill the element of corruption, because corruption is for
short-term success and long-term failure. We need to be united and generate
ideas from one another. We need to be more analytical about our surroundings
for the continuance of the prosperity of our nation. We need real and
well-thought strategies because it is never too late.

The economy has been scared so much already. These food prices only reflect
the value of Zimbabwe's economy. Much more needs to be done than just
marching the streets screaming and shouting for food reductions. Is there no
chance for a referendum? It may be a starting point to see how we fair in
our requests and where we stand with those in power.

I believe that Zimbabwe is no longer as democratic as it seemed a while ago,
therefore most peaceful movements in the last three to four years have
resulted in damage to property, animals and people being killed and injured.
So we should ask ourselves this, if those in power are fully fed and
sheltered they will just look at the rest of the nation as a bunch of
"hungry and angry" men. I am not trying to discourage people from expressing
their feelings but it requires for us think carefully and logically.

We need to convince the police and the army that we are sailing in the same
boat because by the end of the day we are still living in the same country.
The police and the army are members of our own families, our fathers,
mothers, children, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, they are also our
friends, neighbours, fellow workmen, most of all they are human beings,
Zimbabweans for that matter.

But can they stand up and really support their purpose for the country,
which is to protects the nation from criminals, to act in pursuance of the
rule of law, to honour their obligations with full respect for the law. What
is the role of law in our society? Is it the corruption we encounter in our
everyday life? The police, the politicians, as well as the society at large
are cheating the system and therefore endangering our economy. Members of
law enforcement need to realise that they have had a larger part to play in
this downfall due to failure in their duty to protect citizens. It is not
too late to make a change of things and reduce flaws in the system,
particularly corruption. Is a civil disobedience the best that can be done?
It is now time to wake up.
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The Scotsman

Zimbabwe in crisis as 15 white players are sacked


INTERNATIONAL cricket in Zimbabwe, long troubled by the southern African
nation's racial politics, has been plunged into deeper crisis following an
allegation in the government-owned Herald newspaper that 15 rebel white
internationals plotted to destroy the sport in Zimbabwe.

The players, led by national captain Heath Streak, have been sacked by the
Zimbabwe Cricket Union after refusing to practice as a protest against
corruption in the ZCU and the intrusion of President Robert Mugabe's ruling
ZANU-PF party into the sport.

The crisis has resulted in the ZCU naming the weakest team ever to take the
field for a top class international match - the first of a series of one-day
games against Sri Lanka beginning in Bulawayo on Tuesday.

The squad contains only three established internationals, wicketkeeper
Tatendas Taibu, fast bowler Douglas Hondo and opening batsman Dion Ebrahim.
The other players named are nine inexperienced young black cricketers, most
of them in their teens, and two white teenagers, Brendon Taylor and Edward
Rainsford. Some of these players are believed to be unhappy about the ZCU's
actions and are considering dropping out of the squad.

The Zimbabwe team, now probably no stronger and quite possibly weaker than
Scotland, faces successive Test match and one-day international series
against Sri Lanka, Australia and England in the coming months. The contests
threaten to be farcical and politically fraught, though none of the visiting
teams dare drop out because of financial penalties that might be imposed by
the International Cricket Council. England have been warned they face a
£1.3million fine and other costs possibly amounting to a ruinous £55m if
they fail to tour in October. Several England cricketers are believed to be
considering boycotting the tour in protest against widespread human rights
abuses in Zimbabwe.

ZCU Chairman Peter Chingoka, a ZANU-PF loyalist and appointee like all ZCU
officials, including the union's patron, President Mugabe, yesterday blamed
unidentified "outside forces" of plotting to prevent the spread of the game
into the black community.

"About eight weeks ago we gathered from a reliable source that there is a
small group of people that has devised a strategy, in their own words, 'to
destroy Zimbabwean cricket this year'," Chingoka told the Herald newspaper.

The Herald's sports editor, in a commentary, wrote: "It is believed that the
group linked to the current problem is made up of disgruntled hardcore
Rhodesians who were expecting the likes of Australia and England to boycott
their tours to Zimbabwe this year.

"Now that the two countries have confirmed the tours, the group is now
working on destabilising the sport from within and, in the process, force
the cancellation of such tours and denying the ZCU the much-needed revenue
to finance development programmes.

"The Rhodies are fighting against the advancement of black cricketers, given
that the sport has become a multi-million dollar industry over the past

The 15 white rebels are understood to be outraged by the allegations of
Chingoka and the Herald. Last year they declined to join in a protest during
the World Cricket Cup when the country's first black international, Henry
Olonga, and its most famous and accomplished player, Andy Flower, wore black
armbands during the opening game in protest against human rights abuses in
Zimbabwe. Both players have been forced into exile in England.

The remaining players had hoped that the growing problems identified by
Flower and Olonga could be overcome. But their patience snapped this week
and they issued a six page statement alleging that "deserving players of all
races have been excluded from both the national team and the Zimbabwe 'A'
team solely because of their race or the region from which they come."

The cricketers said a cancer of corruption and political prejudice was
dominating the game. One example they gave was that of Mark Vermuelen, a
promising white opening batsman, who had been offered a bribe of twice his
match fee by ZCU officials to stand down to allow a black player to replace

The crisis was initially triggered when Streak was sacked as captain and
replaced by 20-year-old Tatendas Taibu.

Streak, 30, who has taken more than 200 wickets and scored nearly 2,000 runs
in Test cricket, is contracted to play for the English county Warwickshire
this summer.
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Sent: Saturday, April 17, 2004 4:02 PM
Subject: Foxes in the chicken coop

Dear Family and Friends,
Every day in the week leading up to Zimbabwe's 24th anniversary of
Independence the propaganda on our radio and television has been
unrelenting, anti white, anti west and anti world. Each night the main
news on ZBC TV has been preceded by 25 year old film footage of aeroplanes
dropping bombs and white soldiers running through long grass shooting at
people. The news bulletins have all begun with a lecture. On Thursday night,
with deadpan expression the newsreader said: "Let us all come together and
sing the same song: Zimbabwe will never be a colony
again." On another night this week the propaganda message was: "With the
success of the third chimurenga, Zimbabwe is ready to feed the world." I
couldn't help but wonder what the World Food Programme would make of this
little gem as they continue to feed more than half of Zimbabwe's population.

Two days before Zimbabwe's 24th anniversary of Independence the weather was
grey, cold and damp in the small town of Marondera. On almost every street
corner in the town stood two police reservists in blue uniforms and the main
roads into and out of the town were manned by police road blocks. On
and trailers and in Municipal vehicles, teams of men were going around the
tying plastic Zimbabwean flags around lamp posts and telephone poles and on
every government building. In the back of one open government truck a young
sat with a plastic flag wrapped around himself to keep out the cold and
Although the town is decorated in colourful plastic and the streets are
by scores of police, there was a tense and strangely unfestive feeling and
atmosphere was thick with irony. In every direction trucks driven by men
big hats and long overcoats were laden with beer and bread. Their cargo was
destined for the Independence rallies that are to be held across the country
but in a small town like Marondera everyone knows just exactly where the
has come from for all these rallies. For the last month each house, shack
hut in every village has been visited. The occupant has been told he must
two thousand dollars towards Independence celebrations. He must give the
to the Village Headman who will record his name and contribution. People
been told that if their names and donations are not found on the list they
will be
"visited again after Independence to explain their unpatriotic behaviour."
Everyone gives the money, they are too scared not to and everyone goes to
rallies because they are too scared not to. Meanwhile the trucks laden with
beer and bread had neither inclination nor space to pick up the scores of
people who lined our town's roadsides waiting in the wind and rain for
Neither did the drivers of the trucks stop and give some of their
food and drink to the dozens of children who beg outside the supermarkets or
the scores of unemployed youngsters who stand huddled under trees out of the
cold and rain desperately waiting for the chance of a day's casual labour.

It is 24 years since Zimbabwe found the courage to rid itself of a
it did not want. It was a courage bolstered by moral, tactical and economic
support from Africa, Europe, America, East and West. Two days before
24th Anniversary of Independence we learned that our press restrictions,
constitutional violations, torture and human rights abuses  will not be
discussed by the UN Human Rights Commission. Yet again a No Action Motion
been passed. A fortnight ago the UN said that never again would it sit back
watch another Rwanda unfolding and yet, for 50  months they have watched us
slip, slide and fall and will still not even talk about events in Zimbabwe.
can think of no more appropriate way to end this letter than by using the
of Jose Vivanco, the Director of Human Rights Watch who describes  members
the UN  Commission for Human Rights  as "the foxes in charge of the chicken
coop." Until next week, with love, cathy. Copyright cathy buckle 17th April
My books on the Zimbabwean crisis, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are
available outside Africa  from: ; ; ;  in Australia and New Zealand: ;  Africa:
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From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 16 April

'Ghost'of genocide prevails

Wilson Johwa

At first glance Lupane seems no different from other rural districts in
Zimbabwe. Its tranquillity, coupled with a canopy of luxuriant forest, gives
no indication of the recurring droughts that plague the area. Situated 170km
south-west of Bulawayo, it is a place where appearance masks, rather than
reflects, reality. Ironically, it is the district's lesser revealed life and
issues that the media and politicians are now interested in. So, too, are
observers and human-rights officials, who have zoomed in on the district as
the upcoming parliamentary by-election - scheduled for May 15 and 16 - draws
near. Their sudden examination of the constituency is likely to reveal,
among other things, a broken community disheartened by poverty. Some
residents seem bemused by the ruling party's vigorous courtship, aimed at
raking in votes. Their apathy is unlikely to affect the efforts of Zanu PF,
the ruling party. The government of President Robert Mugabe is determined to
win this one seat after it lost all eight in the province to the opposition
in the 2000 parliamentary elections.

Since independence from Britain in 1980 the ruling party has been unable to
count on the south-western province of Matabeleland North, of which Lupane
is the capital, as part of its traditional rural support base. The key to
understanding this phenomenon lies buried in the history of the early 1980s,
when the new government launched a brutal counter-insurgency operation. It
was aimed, officially, at flushing out renegade elements of a rival
opposition party rooted in the province, and two adjoining ones. An
estimated 20 000 men, women and children were killed, violated and tortured
in a bizarre military operation. Several human rights organisations, such as
the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe
Human Rights Organisation, have described the massacres as "ethnic
cleansing", targeting southern Zimbabwe's minority Ndebele-speaking
community. Such a military operation has had far-reaching effects, extending
across generations and communities.

Catholic priest Gabriel Silonda says some Lupane residents are still
battling to find their parents' remains. Others, born during this period,
have not been able to secure birth certificates because of missing fathers,
or a belief that they were the offspring of the perpetrators of violence.
The cleric says that pent-up anger is preventing villagers from carrying on
with their lives. This, in turn, has allowed underdevelopment to take root.
"People here need some form of healing because they have been brutalised,"
he adds. Unable to put the past behind them, many also feel they are yet to
enjoy the fruits of independence. Activist David Nyathi says that among the
major grievances is the exploitation of the district's abundant timber
resources. "We don't know where it's going," he says. "Since independence,
there is nothing of a government project to brag about."

But there are some signs of development in the town, which has been
demarcated as a "growth point" by authorities. While streets simmer in the
midday heat, Chinese engineers stand next to the foundations of a building.
It is destined to become a government office complex. Several blocks down, a
registry office is nearing completion. But these efforts do not impress
Nyathi, who says the impetus is the result of the opposition's strengthening
in the region. Late last year the government announced that it would build a
provincial university, with the first intake expected later this year. The
proposed institution has not been met with applause. Residents have
dismissed it as a grandiose project, particularly as the district lacks
quality schools to provide the university with students. The smell of fresh
cement and the sense of hope, ignited by the construction, contrast sharply
with pervading fear of election-related violence. In February local MP David
Mpala succumbed to injuries he sustained months after being abducted and
severely assaulted by Zanu PF members. His seat is now vacant and two
candidates will be competing for it in next month's by-election.

The election is coming a month after the opposition lost a similar one in
its urban stronghold, where extreme violence, intimidation and alleged
rigging characterised voting. However, Silonda says Lupane is a place where
the ruling party does not need to rely on force to win because "they have a
saleable candidate" who is widely respected. "He's sensitive and no
pushover, I could vote for him as a person," Silonda says. Political analyst
John Makumbe says Lupane is a key seat for the ruling party. If they secure
it, they will be one seat short of a two-thirds parliamentary majority,
which the party will not hesitate to use to amend the Constitution to suit
its needs, even before next March's legislative elections. Makumbe says "the
ghost" of the 1980s military operation will "seriously" affect the outcome
of the election. But Zanu PF is no longer "scared" of it as before.

From IRIN (UN), 16 April

'No action' vote by South bloc defeats human rights resolution

Johannesburg - A Zimbabwean human rights body has criticised an
African-Asian grouping which shot down a draft resolution on the human
rights situation in Zimbabwe for the second year at the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) in Geneva on Thursday. The draft
resolution, mooted by the European Union and supported by the United States,
would have expressed "deep concern" at what it said were "continuing
violations of human rights in Zimbabwe, in particular politically motivated
violence, including killings, torture, sexual and other forms of violence
against women, incidents of arbitrary arrest, restrictions on the
independence of the judiciary, and restrictions on the freedoms of opinion,
expression, association and assembly". The proposed resolution also
expressed concern over the "failure to allow independent civil society in
Zimbabwe to operate without fear of harassment or intimidation" and "urged
the Government of Zimbabwe to take all necessary measures to ensure that all
human rights were promoted and protected".

However, an African group of 15 countries, including the Democratic Republic
of Congo (DRC), Sierra Leone, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland and Nigeria
backed a no-action motion on the draft resolution. The motion against the
resolution was carried by 27 votes against 24. It received the support of 10
Asian countries, Cuba and the Russian Federation. "It is disheartening to
note that a matter related to the human rights of the people of Zimbabwe has
been reduced to the flexing of muscles between the global South and the
global North," said Brian Kagoro, national chair of the Zimbabwe Human
Rights NGO Forum. "The tragedy of Zimbabwe is that there is so much haggling
over the racial contortions of the crisis here. The fact that the lives of
Zimbabweans have been reduced to mere votes makes the entire issue totally
meaningless," he added. The Zimbabwean minister of foreign affairs, Stan
Mudenge, was quoted in the official Herald newspaper as saying that the
country "was pleased with the outcome of the vote and grateful to the
international community and the country's friends, particularly from Africa,
for supporting it for the second year running".

During the debate on the no-action motion, Roger Menga, the DRC
representative, said the Zimbabwean government had been "demonised because
of its redressing of the uneven distribution of land that had been
perpetuated since colonial days", a UNHCHR statement said. The African group
urged the authors of the draft resolution "to open real negotiations with
Zimbabwe and to avoid this path of confrontation. It was recognised that
Zimbabwe had some problems, but those issues should be addressed nationally
and, possibly, regionally or at the continental level," said the press
release. The United States representative at the Commission, Richard
Williamson, said no-action motions "amounted to approval of the human rights
abuses being perpetrated by nations that disregarded the fundamental
principles of the Commission. The world community should resolutely condemn
the repressive policies of the [President] Mugabe regime that denied the
Zimbabwean people their inalienable human rights, and should publicly
express its support for and solidarity with the Zimbabwean people".

The Zimbabwean representative, Chitsaka Chipaziwa, was quoted in the UNHCHR
release as saying that whenever a similar resolution had been mooted, the
Commission had wisely rejected these "dreadful beasts dressed as cuddly
lambs". He also said "any human rights problems in the country were not out
of the ordinary and allegations on that front should not take up any more of
the Commission's attention". Nigeria said it was committed to "a peaceful
solution for the country, both at the Commonwealth and African level. All
[countries] should join hands in the dialogue with Zimbabwe and avoid any
action that might continue the isolationist trend related to the country. In
the light of these views, and without prejudice to Nigeria's commitment to
human rights and fundamental freedoms, Nigeria would endorse the position of
the African Group on the no-action motion". Nigeria, host of the
Commonwealth summit in its capital, Abuja, in December 2003, was among the
countries which voted for Zimbabwe's continued suspension from that body.
Zimbabwe was initially suspended from the Commonwealth in 2002 following
allegations that Mugabe had won the presidential elections by vote-rigging
and intimidating the opposition.
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Daily News

      Zimbabwe - Some paradoxes of non-participation

      Date:13-Apr, 2004

      A difficult choice for the opposition in Zimbabwe is whether to
participate in the March 2005 general election, now less than a year away.
Escalating political violence and erosion of the rule of law, draconian Acts
that treat criticism as a serious crime and anti-democratic altering of
electoral laws make it impossible for the opposition to win - and dangerous
to try.

      Last month, in preparation for possible South African-brokered talks
with the ruling Zanu PF party and as alleged state-sponsored by-election
violence erupted, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change reserved the
right to boycott the 2005 poll.

      Since then government has published changes to the Electoral Act that
strengthen its grip on elections, including the electoral commission (led by
military figures), observers and monitors (only civil servants allowed),
voter education (only by government) and who is able to vote.

      Decreed by President Robert Mugabe before a flawed 2002 presidential
poll but later ruled unconstitutional by the courts, the amendments have
been slammed by civic groups, among other things for violating universal and
Southern Africa Development Community electoral norms and standards.

      In a briefing note on 16 March the MDC said that terror wreaked by
Zanu PF supporters and youth brigades during the Zengeza by-election, which
the ruling party won, showed yet again that the government was prepared to
violate SADC protocol regarding conduct of elections:

      'The MDC continues to be denied access to the voters' roll, state
media remains the exclusive domain of the ruling party, MDC campaign efforts
are frustrated by a politicised police force whilst Zanu PF youth militia
are permitted to intimidate and attack voters without fear of prosecution.'

      Such a political environment precludes a free and fair election in
March 2005, said the MDC, which decided against participation unless there
is 'genuine commitment' by Zanu PF and Mugabe to manage the poll freely and
fairly. The party drafted 15 conditions to participation, based on SADC
protocols that Zimbabwe ratified in 2001. In summary they are:

      1. A genuinely independent electoral commission (IEC) to run the
electoral process and election.

      2. The exclusion from the IEC of partisan officials and members of the

      3. A fresh voter registration exercise conducted by a new IEC with UN

      4. An electronic copy of the voters' roll for all political parties
and interested people.

      5. Repeal of aspects of draconian media laws that curtail media

      6. Repeal of aspects of harsh security laws that curtail election
campaign freedoms.

      7. Electoral Act changes to conform with SADC norms not covered by the
15 conditions.

      8. Reversal of decisions that closed The Daily News and stopped media
operating freely.

      9. Liberalisation of the broadcast media and fair coverage by the
state media of all parties.

      10. Complete disbanding of the youth militia

      11. Translucent plastic ballot boxes of secure, single-piece,

      12. Sufficient numbers of polling stations to enable voting to take
only one day

      13. Unhindered access to elections by international, regional and
domestic observers.

      14. Counting of ballots at polling stations in the presence of polling
agents and observers

      15. Use of visible, indelible ink to identify people who have voted.

      Systematic oppression using bad law and brutal force, along with
unfair electoral conditions in Zimbabwe provide the foundations for a solid
argument against participation in the March 2005 election. But boycotts are
a serious - and frequently paradoxical - matter.

      Non-participation by a major opposition party founded on credible
problems undermines the legitimacy of a poll and the government it elects.
At the same time, it enables a ruling party to easily sweep back into power,
claim some popular support and cling to vestiges of legitimacy still widely
afforded polls that are flawed but at least held.

      Boycotts can be powerful democratic statements by the oppressed, who
by refusing to vote can erode an unchallenged ruling party's claims to
popular support by forcing a low turn-out. This stay-away tactic was used in
neighbouring South Africa by Asian and mixed-race people who rejected, with
sometimes single-digit turnouts, the apartheid state's attempts to co-opt
them into self-determination via separate, race-based Parliaments.

      Again there is a tension, because non-participation is political
action stripped of any hope of making a difference - a cause without an
effect. In the case of Zimbabwe, the waters would further be muddied by high
levels of political intimidation and violence, which will deter voting as
surely as any stay-away.

      The Zimbabwean government, its supporters and the security forces are
accused of waging a campaign of oppression against the MDC and of committing
thousands of human rights abuses including murder, assault and torture.

      For its part, Zanu PF claims that its supporters are also being
intimidated and attacked by the MDC, which is intent on overthrowing the
government by force, and that political turf wars are to blame for much
electoral violence. While elections might be marred by political violence,
says the government, they are nevertheless legitimate. Current levels of
political violence raise the moral question of whether opposition supporters
ought to be asked to vote at all, given the dangers involved. If an MDC
victory is impossible, why take the risk of voting? The same could be asked
of MDC leaders, who have suffered gross rights abuses in the past four
years. A recent study by the Cape Town-based Zimbabwe Institute, 'Playing
with Fire', revealed that nine in 10 MDC MPs surveyed had suffered rights
abuses at the hands of security forces or Zanu PF supporters. A total of 78
MPs and parliamentary candidates had experienced 616 incidents - and in no
case had a perpetrator been arrested or charged. Three MPs had died after
vicious assaults, a quarter had survived murder attempts and three had had
staff murdered. Over a third of MPs had been assaulted, two thirds arrested
and 16% tortured. MPs houses had been burned, cars stoned, relatives and
colleagues abducted and some killed. The message, reports the Institute, is
clear: 'Any person who contemplates standing for the opposition in 2005 in
the existing environment is well aware that they will pay dearly for this
choice.' Further, there comes a time when participating in an illegitimate
regime becomes morally dubious, as it lends credibility to that government.
The MDC worries that its credibility is also put at risk by its continued
advocacy of patience to supporters without any tangible result - or any
reciprocal self-control on the part of Zanu PF. Against these problems are
pragmatic concerns for Zimbabwe and its people. Even if the MDC is not
allowed to win, there is an argument that by continuing to secure
Parliamentary seats for its leaders the party keeps at least some democratic
space open in an increasingly repressed society, media and legal system.
Were it not for this space, the party might be less able to thwart calls to
arms from some angry supporters. Writing in South Africa's The Star,
commentator Allister Sparks argued that the setting of a 2005 election date
will spur South African President Thabo Mbeki - the world's 'point man' on
Zimbabwe - to take action in getting the parties to the table for talks. And
indeed, Mbeki met separately with Zanu PF and the MDC leaders in Pretoria
last month. But brokering an agreement will not be easy, Sparks comments,
and even if MDC conditions are met the cards will be stacked against the
party - first, under the Constitution Mugabe can appoint 30 MPs of his own
choosing, meaning the opposition has to win a 64% majority to control
Parliament and, second, even if this is achieved Mugabe will be able to
choose his Cabinet and rule by decree until the next presidential election
in 2008. To remove either obstacle requires the Constitution to be amended,
which needs Zanu PF's cooperation or Mugabe to step down so that both
general and presidential polls can be held: 'Neither appears likely. So the
question is: Can Mbeki mount enough pressure to remove this Catch 22 which
makes success for the opposition virtually impossible? If not, the whole
thing becomes a pointless exercise.' . This column is provided by the
International Bar Association. - An organisation that represents the Law
Societies and Bar Associations around the world, and works to uphold the
rule of law. For further information, visit the website

        .. This column is provided by the International Bar Association. An
organisation that represents the Law Societies and Bar Associations around
the world, and works to uphold the rule of law. For further information,
visit the website
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Mugabe Sacks Harare's First Elected Mayor
Peta Thornycroft
17 Apr 2004, 13:23 UTC

Harare's first elected mayor was sacked by President Robert Mugabe late
Friday, one year after he was suspended as mayor. Mayor Elias Mudzuri of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change was elected with a massive
majority two years ago in the same election which gave Mr. Mugabe another
six years in power.
Mr. Mudzuri, a civil engineer, was elected as Zimbabwe's first opposition
mayor with an 80 percent majority.

But last year he was suspended without pay. Since then a government
commission accused him of misconduct, mismanagement, and supporting two
anti-government strikes. Mr. Mudzuri was not able to give evidence to the

He said Saturday, following his formal dismissal, that he has not been given
a copy of the commission's final report.

President Mugabe recently appointed a ruling Zanu-PF governor to oversee the
city's affairs.

Mr. Mudzuri says under present laws a new election must be held within 90
days. He says he will make himself available as a candidate.

Until his election in 2002, Harare was run by a Zanu-PF commission. After
many court applications, residents finally won the right to hold elections
for mayor.

In his one year in office, Mr. Mudzuri began a clean-up of the city
bureaucracy and undertook long-neglected essential repairs to Harare's
infrastructure, particularly in poorer overcrowded townships.

He repeatedly warned that Harare's water and sewage systems were on the
point of collapse for lack of government funds. The Movement for Democratic
Change accused the government of using what it called "political muscle" to
prevent Mr. Mudzuri from carrying out city reforms.

During his brief year in office, Mr. Mudzuri was arrested and imprisoned
without charge twice. He has been injured at ratepayers meetings and
presided over several other official functions that were broken up by riot

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At the mercy of Mugabe's secret police

      April 17 2004 at 10:11AM

By Douglas Carew

The South African tourists who endured a day of hell in Zimbabwe where
Robert Mugabe's secret police interrogated them as suspected mercenaries,
have given a gripping account of their ordeal.

The official line from the Zimbabwean government is that the tourists,
mainly from Cape Town, were held for questioning because they did not have
permits to operate motorised rubberducks in the environmentally sensitive
Mana Pools National Park.

But two of the tourists told the Weekend Argus that it was clear that they
were held on suspicion of being on a mission to rescue 67 men arrested in
Zimbabwe last month on charges they were mercenaries plotting a coup in
Equatorial Guinea.
      'We were held on suspicion of being mercenaries'

The nine South African tourists were on a 2 400km trip along the length of
the Zambezi River from its source in Zambia to its mouth in Mozambique when
they were rounded up by Zimbabwean National Parks employees armed with
AK-47s on Wednesday, March 31.

The following day, two of the team were left to look after the boats and
equipment while the remaining seven were taken away and subjected to
repeated rounds of interrogations and human rights abuses by various
officials, including members of the secret police.

The trip was essentially an adventure holiday for the tourists but it was
also meant to raise funds to combat malaria in Zimbabwe. The tourists
arrived back in Cape Town on Sunday, April 11 and the official line from Old
Mutual, one of the trip's sponsors, was that the team had suffered a "minor
setback when they were detained by police for a short period in Zimbabwe".

But a Weekend Argus interview with one of the tourists uncovered far more
disturbing details of how seven of them had endured hours of interrogations
by armed men who denied them their basic human rights.

One of them, Cape Town lawyer Bob Groeneveld, now safely back with his wife
and three young children in Hout Bay, made it clear that all their permits
had been in order.
      'They looked exactly the way bad guys do in the movies'

Expedition leader Andrew Weinberg confirmed that the interrogations had
nothing to do with permits for motorised boats. "We were held on suspicion
of being mercenaries," Weinberg said.

The trip started in Zambia and turned into a holiday from hell when the team
neared the Mana Pools in north-east Zimbabwe. "An hour before we reached the
pools we were approached by two barefooted National Parks guys who appeared
out of the bushes. They carried AK-47s and asked to see our permits. We
showed them and they said fine," Groeneveld said.

But when the team got about 100m from the campsite at the pools, they were
met by a boat carrying four National Parks men with AK-47s. "They asked us
to follow them in and we didn't think too much about it."

Again they were asked to show their permits and one of the National Parks
employees said he would have to contact his superiors but the phone lines
were down.

The following day five men arrived including one "in a big uniform with lots
of badges".

"He was the local chief of police and said we had to go to Chirundu (on the
Zambian border) for interviews."

The team initially said no, but in the end agreed that seven of them would
accompany the police chief and two members would remain and look after the

"Then 17 more guys with AKs arrived and at that point we realised things did
not look rosy. One of the guys in our team had a digital camera and I told
him to take photos of all our permits so that if they disappeared we would
have proof that we had them."

The seven were made to sit on the floor of a truck for the three-hour trip.
"At about 6pm the questioning started. I asked if we could phone the South
African Embassy and an attorney but they said 'no'."

At one point an interrogator slapped Groeneveld on the back and said there
was no need to worry because the National Parks officials had made a
mistake. "They said they would arrange transport back to our gear. We waited
an hour and nothing happened. Then we were told there would be more
interviews at Karoi (a town two hours away on the road to Harare)."

At no stage were the seven told why they were being held. "When we asked
they would just shrug their shoulders."

The seven were then told that the secret police were coming to fetch them.
"It was about 9pm now and things were escalating. They did not know that we
had cellphones so I phoned a colleague in Cape Town (at the law firm
Fairbridge Arderne and Lawton) and told her that I thought we were being
held on suspicion of being mercenaries."

The police then confiscated the cellphones, except for one that Athol Moult
slipped into the side of his shoe.

At 10.15pm three men in black trenchcoats arrived. "They looked exactly the
way bad guys do in the movies."

The seven were packed into the back of a Land Rover for a two-hour journey
to Karoi in the rain. "We were dressed in shorts and T-shirts and froze our
b*lls off."

At Karoi they were herded into a room. "They then took us out, two at a
time, to a room for questioning. Then they took four of us, loaded us on the
back of a bakkie with about 13 guys in trench coats and drove off. This was
two in the morning and we got no explanations."

Groeneveld expected the worst. "I quietly said a few prayers and made my

The bakkie stopped outside a building with three interrogation rooms. "We
were taken in one at a time and questioned by five guys."

At every place of interrogation they had seen posters detailing the rights
of prisoners, but when Groeneveld stopped to read a poster he was told:
"That doesn't apply to you. Don't read it."

There were several rounds of interrogations and at one point an interrogator
said: "This is s**t. I should be in bed with my wife."

At 4am a second group of interrogators arrived. "We endured another series
of questions, especially about any military training. When and how did you
serve? Your favourite weapon? That kind of crap."

At 5am the seven were told that everything was OK and they would be released
at 6am. "It was all smiles."

Again nothing happened. "The next thing military intelligence guys arrived
from Harare. An evil bunch. I asked if they suspected us of being
mercenaries and they said 'yes'."

The interrogations continued and by 10am the seven still had no indication
that anyone in the outside world had any idea where they were. "We were told
we could be held for 30 days and not to worry because we only had 29 to go."

Then a young farmer walked into the police station and Groeneveld managed to
slip him a business card. "I asked him to tell my firm to get us an

Groeneveld also decided to risk using Moult's cellphone. He made the 30m
walk to the toilet under armed guard and then tried to SMS the law firm. He
was unable to send the SMS and decided to turn the phone off. "This guy with
an AK-47 was standing right outside the toilet door and I figured the worst
thing that could happen was for the phone to ring."

Another farmer arrived, took one look at the state of the seven lying on the
floor of the police station and went to buy them Cokes and pies. "He was a
real life-saver."

Groeneveld also managed to slip a business card to this farmer. Then four
more interrogators arrived from Harare and the questioning started again.
"These guys would circle you for three or four minutes, not saying anything.
Then they would ask your name and give you the evil eye again for several

In the meantime the two farmers had both called the law firm and a
Zimbabwean attorney arrived at 1pm and told the seven that the firm had
launched an application in an Harare court to have them released.

At 2pm there was a call from authorities in Harare to release the men. "But
the police chief just kicked our attorney out of his office and out of the
police station. And there we sat."

About 90 minutes later the attorney returned to say the South African High
Commissioner had been denied permission to leave Harare to visit the seven.

Everything changed at 3.30pm when an official fax came through informing the
police chief to release them. "He gave us this long speech saying it was all
a misunderstanding. He hoped we would visit again and that there were no
hard feelings."

The men were also asked to pay an admission of guilt fine for not having
permits for their motorised rubber ducks. "We said forget it. We had been
through seven rounds of questioning and we had done everything by the book.
The police chief said 'if you don't want to sign that's fine' and handed us
back our passports and cellphones."

The seven were packed onto the back of a bakkie and taken to their camp at
the pools where they arrived at 9pm and were re-united with the two
remaining team members.

"We went to the National Parks warden and said we would be leaving the next
morning. We asked him if he wanted us to paddle out of the pools but he said
'no problem, just go'. All that s**t about motorised boats was just that -

The nine men set off at 6.30am and ultimately finished their expedition at
the mouth of the Zambezi about 250km north of Beira. They flew to
Johannesburg and then back home to their families in Cape Town on Sunday.

Groeneveld put the Zimbabwean authorities' heavy-handed approach down to
fears that people would try to rescue the alleged mercenaries. "I guess
tourists in Zimbabwe do look suspicious, because who the hell would go on a
holiday there now."

  .. This article was originally published on page 5 of The Cape Argus on
April 17, 2004
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Business Day

Zimbabwe cricket rebels given an ultimatum


HARARE - Zimbabwe's cricket rebels were considering a three week deadline
from their cricket chiefs in which to withdraw a demand for the
reinstatement of captain Heath Streak and to make themselves available for
selection in future matches and tours.
The Zimbabwe Cricket Union, which told them that if they did not show up for
practice Friday "action would be taken", have held back by giving them this

But if they do not comply by the deadline, May 8, they will either be
suspended or dismissed.

ZCU chairman Peter Chingoka said Thursday: "They are employees, after all."

The 15 dissident players, although advised to soften their stance by their
lawyer Chris Ventura, seem hell bent on continuing the stand-off over the
removal of Streak in particular.

The chief executive of the ZCU, Vincent Hogg, told AFP there had been no
writs and counter-writs as reported in the Times of London and other British
newspapers on Saturday.

"The letter is what is on the table" he said.

Neither Venturas, nor any senior white player, was available for comment or
to give initial reaction to the ZCU letter.

Meanwhile the new Zimbabwe squad, consisting of 12 blacks and two white
teenagers, arrived in Bulawayo for hasty preparations ahead of their clash
on Tuesday with one-day specialists Sri Lanka, who can expect to give no
quarter to their unexpected and little known opponents.

The Sri Lankans, under coach John Dyson, had a warm-up session at the Queens
Sports Club ground on Saturday. There will be further practice sessions in
the next two days.

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This is Leicestershire


      16:30 - 17 April 2004
      A demonstration about the Zimbabwe crisis takes place in Leicester

      Protest group Movement for Democratic Change has organised the city
event to coincide with Zimbabwean Independence Day.

      Members will meet at Victoria Park at 1.30pm and walk along London
Road and Granby Street before arriving at the Clock Tower.

      Group leaders will then address the crowds over a number of political
issues, including the land crisis.

      Group spokeswoman Emily Madamombe said: "We want to highlight the
plight of Zimbabweans who are living in fear of their lives."
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Sunday Times (SA)

US lambastes Zimbabwe at UN meeting

Saturday April 17, 2004 12:21 - (SA)

WASHINGTON - The United States denounced China and Zimbabwe for using
procedural technicalities to thwart debate on resolutions condemning their
records at the annual meeting of the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR)
this week.

The State Department said Washington would press ahead with efforts to
prevent countries from employing "no action" motions to block criticism, and
maintained that neither Beijing nor Harare could claim to have been
exonerated of abuses simply because the resolutions were killed.

"Silencing discussion through a no-action motion, we think, is
inappropriate," spokesman Richard Boucher said, a day after China and
Zimbabwe successfully beat back the US-supported resolutions.

"We're disappointed that China and Zimbabwe chose to employ that tactic and
we applaud countries that allow an examination and exploration of their
record," he told reporters.

"We think that countries that try to block any discussion can certainly not
be called cleared," Boucher said,
referring to Zimbabwe's claim that the commission had given it a clean bill
of health on the human rights front.

Zimbabwe's justice minister was quoted by state media as saying the defeat
of the resolution was a "a victory for Zimbabwe and the Third World
countries which have stood against abuse of the commission by Western

In Beijing, the Chinese foreign ministry called on the United States, which
had sponsored the anti-China resolution, to "face the reality" of its defeat
and cease attempts to get the commission to condemn it.

"We demand the US side face the reality, draw lessons from its failure,
abandon confrontation and resolve the difference between China and the
United States on human rights" through dialogue, spokesman Kong Quan said.

But Boucher said Washington would stand firm, continue to speak out about
human rights abuses and push for reforms that would bar the use of "no
action" motions by countries seeking to stop debate on their records.

"If they don't want to discuss it, then obviously there is something they're
trying to hide," he said.

The United States "will continue to push ... to try to ensure that people
who themselves are guilty of violations of human rights are not allowed to
sit and prevent judgment on themselves and others," Boucher said.

Even if a resolution is eventually defeated, debate on the issues "can make
these countries face the music to some extent," he added.

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