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Mugabe conceals poll evidence
From The Times

COMPUTER experts trying to uncover evidence of vote rigging in Zimbabwe's
presidential elections are being denied access to a digital copy of the
voters' roll. Nearly six weeks after the elections, in which President
Robert Mugabe was declared the victor, there was still no publicly available
copy of the full list of registered voters. Nor had any official election
results been published, apart from the confused announcements over state
radio by Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede two days after the poll.
The limited information that Roland Whitehead, a human rights activist, and
his small team of volunteers have managed to secure indicates huge
discrepancies in voting patterns – voters who are dead, multiple registered
votes and possibly thousands of voters with fake identity numbers.

The disclosures are contained in a legal petition, issued on Wednesday by
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, to have Mr Mugabe's victory
set aside. He was said to have won 2.6 million votes, 400,000 more than
Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader.

Most of the world has declared the elections neither free nor fair. Now Mr
Whitehead believes he is on the brink of exposing evidence of outright
fraud. "The key is the voters roll," he said. "But Mudede won't give it to
us. What can we assume except that he has something to hide?"

Mr Mudede has said that he will give them a 100,000-page document containing
5.5 million names. But that, Mr Whitehead said, "is just a truckload of
paper. It would be impossible to handle". Each page contains the details of
55 voters, and takes an hour to input on a computer. A comprehensive
analysis can be done only on digital data.

He has offered to pay Mr Mudede $40,000 for the voters roll on compact
discs, the same as the official charge for the paper documents. Mr Mudede
has refused.

"He can do it, he's done it before," Mr Whitehead said. In January, Mr
Mudede took only two hours to produce the voters roll, as it was then,
compressed into four CDs, after Mr Whitehead went to court to force him to
release it.

Before the election Mr Mudede secretly registered another 400,000 people,
but only in strongholds of Mr Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party. He has refused
to make this "supplementary roll" public.

Mr Whitehead did manage to obtain from the Registrar-General's office the
paper documents of the final list of voters in two constituencies in Mr
Mugabe's heartland.

He input 5000 names from one of them, Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe, into a
computer programmed with the digital formula that the National Registration
Centre, the repository of national identity cards, uses to configure ID
numbers to be able to check validity.

"We ran them through the test, and 9.8 per cent were invalid," Mr Whitehead
said. "It's very interesting that with the copy of the roll we got in
January, there was not a single wrong ID number."

The MDC is again asking the High Court to order Mr Mudede to produce the
full voters roll. He is due to respond to the challenge in court today.
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Daily News

Mugabe admits Ministry of Agriculture has failed

4/19/02 12:05:24 PM (GMT +2)
By Sandra Nyaira Political Editor

ZIMBABWE yesterday marked its 22nd birthday with President Mugabe admitting
to the crowd made restive by his late arrival at the National Sports Stadium
that the current drought had amply exposed the shortcomings of the Ministry
of Agriculture.

The devastating drought has left thousands of people in the country on the
brink of starvation.

The World Food Programme and other donors have come to the rescue of the
nation and since last month started distributing food aid to people in the
most affected areas.

The Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Dr Joseph Made,
last year repeatedly denied massive food shortages were looming, claiming
adamantly the country had enough reserves.

This saw the government taking a laid-back position in dealing with the
impending emergency, resulting in the massive shortage of the staple
maize-meal and other basics.

Well-placed sources told The Daily News yesterday that Made had been told by
senior Zanu PF politburo members to resign at a recent meeting “if at all he
was man enough” for having misread the famine and misleading the nation in
the process. Made still holds on to his portfolio as Mugabe has delayed
announcing the much-awaited Cabinet after his disputed re-election.

Mugabe said: “The current drought has amply exposed shortcomings in, and
pitfalls of our agricultural strategy. We have suffered a wet drought.
Although our crops were destroyed by the drought spell, most of our dams are
brimful with water.”

Mugabe said the government had invested so much in water reservoirs but had
not been able to convert that huge investment into greater agricultural

“We have come short on irrigation, which is why we have had a crop failure
amidst abundantly stored water,” he said.

Apparently turning to Dr Simba Makoni’s Finance and Economic Development
Ministry, Mugabe said: “Before our economists can manipulate economic
variables to ensure foreign currency availability, the currency must have
been earned in the first place through exports.

“In government we have tended to waste time debating fiscal and monetary
measures without attacking the real source of foreign currency shortage.

“Clearly, focus should be on earning and properly accounting for that
foreign currency through greater production and value addition of our

He said the government had not always placed the right emphasis on the
sectoral areas in agriculture, mining, manufacturing and tourism, which are
the basis of most export activities.

Mugabe, who arrived late at the stadium resulting in the programme running
behind, had to skip large swathes of his prepared speech as the thousands
who had turned up at the National Sports Stadium became impatient.

His problems were compounded by the poor sound system which rendered his
speech inaudible.

He said his controversial land reform programme had so far benefited 210 000
landless small-holder farmers and that another 54 000 new farmers were set
to be resettled under the A2 commercial farming scheme.

“Land ownership in itself is not the answer or the panacea to our problems,”
Mugabe said. “It is a beginning, a precondition for answering the great
national question of national growth and development. Ultimately our people
must grow, develop and prosper.”

He acknowledged the majority of the youths in the country were without jobs,
with thousands of other citizens being retrenched as companies continue to
close down due to the harsh economic climate. On the absence of basic
commodities on the shelves in the shops and the increasing and deepening
poverty, Mugabe said they must be reversed.

“There has to be a new deal for Zimbabweans and 22 is a good age to take a
new turn and chart a new course.”

He said the government would have to make some very difficult and painful
decisions this year in order to ensure the country’s fortunes are turned
around. All government policies must be re-oriented towards the “agrarian
revolution without which our economy cannot recover”.

Mugabe again attacked what he called the imperial forces of Britain,
Germany, Denmark and America for allegedly interfering in issues pertaining
to the running of this country.

“Whatever our detractors say, we are a self-made democracy that does not
stand beholden to anyone, except God . . . we, therefore, do not stand
beholden to any nation, great or small, we do not owe our existence to any
earthly power, none at all. Indeed, we do not live by the approval of any
foreign authority. This is our stance and one we jealously guard.”

Mugabe earlier on received a torch to light the Independence Flame but it
flickered out. He was given another one by the athletes who had three other

Ambassadors and High Commissioners from European, including Britain, and the
Southern African Development Community countries attended the celebrations.
Elias Mudzuri, the Harare mayor, and his wife also attended the

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Daily News - Leader Page

A new Constitution or an election rerun?

4/19/02 11:38:25 AM (GMT +2)

THE National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)’s 6 April demonstration was a
significant event in the post-presidential election period in Zimbabwe. It
was a clear indicator that civic society has very little options left, but
to confront the government on issues they feel are in the best of national

Confronting the government, however, can take various forms and can also
have varying effects on the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe.

The mass action that the NCA has now begun to effectively and somewhat
conclusively carry out has gotten a lot of tongues wagging in the labour
circles, women’s movements, students’ movements, intellectual circles as
well the ordinary man in the street.

The talk is generally querying two fundamental points, the first point being
whether or not the Constitution wholesale should be the new rallying point
of Zimbabweans or whether it would be more significant to rally behind the
singular call for a rerun of the March 2002 presidential poll.

The second point where eyebrows are being raised across Zimbabwean society
relates to the question of the form, duration and leadership of the mass

These two contending perceptions are important considerations when it comes
to the way forward in the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe.

The first consideration that pits the issue of whether the priority should
be a new constitution or the pressing for the rerun of the 2002 presidential
election must be assessed on the basis of trying to gauge the political
sentiment in Zimbabwe.

It would be imprudent to fail to see that the presidential election rerun
issue is an easily more popular agenda with opposition party members, but
unfortunately it is the least realistic. This is because it is extremely
unlikely that the ruling Zanu PF will succumb to the mainly international
pressure for a rerun of an election that scared it tremendously.

At best the ruling party and government will most likely expect a situation
where they may try and put forward the agenda of putting in place amendments
to the current constitution of Zimbabwe in order to create an exit mechanism
for President Mugabe earlier than 2008 Ð the next presidential election.

In this same consideration on whether the rerun of the election is the
priority, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would have to
pressure the government politically for periods and with political resolve
much greater than that being witnessed in Madagascar today.

A rerun in the present circumstances would be the equivalent of carrying out
a concerted campaign to overthrow the current government, a situation for
which the opposition is ill-prepared by a long shot. This then needs
immediate comparison with the constitutional reform agenda as being the best
form of action to take in the post-election period over that of an election

The constitution reform agenda, unlike the election rerun, one is
all-encompassing and non-partisan. It has the capacity to get across the
political divide and create political consciousness within Zimbabwe’s
citizens that will create a democratic political culture. In both the short
and long-term, it is a sustainable strategy and is not as beholden to the
government of the day as is the struggle for an election rerun.

Its sustainability is self-evident through the continued existence as well
as popular support for the NCA within Zimbabwean society as well as the
foresight that it has in laying a level ground for any potential election in
the future.

To focus on changing wholesale the Constitution of Zimbabwe is, however, not
without its faults. The constitutional agenda is one with a lot of political
themes (human rights, judiciary, executive power and parliament) in it and
to keep these themes in a complementary position would clearly be
disadvantageous if there was to be no unity of purpose around civic
organisations that operate in Zimbabwe to bring about a new constitution
unlike with the agenda for bringing about an electoral rerun which simply
requires a focused opposition party.

In the event of prioritising an election rerun or the agenda for a new
constitution, it must be asked as to what form the struggle for democracy in
Zimbabwe will take? Will it be in the form of massive street protests,
massive defiance campaigns, insurgency or mass stayaways?

The protest form of Zimbabwean civic society since the late 1980s has been
characterised by street demonstration and mass stayaways. These strategies
are the only reasonable options for Zimbabwean citizens to register their
protest at the state of affairs in the country.

There should, however, be a deliberate process in organising these various
forms of demonstration. The recalcitrance of people to get involved in
demonstrations staged by other civic leaders should clearly come to an end
if the struggle for democracy is to remain meaningful to the Zimbabwean
people. And the agenda would be a singular and unifying one that unites more
than it divides the populace.

The agenda for the rerun of the election is not a good mobilisation point.

It is laced with obvious individual organisation political interest.

Admittedly, there is no endeavour without individual political interest, but
there are agendas whose significance outweighs an individual’s political
ambition and the constitutional reform agenda is one such programme. The
rerun agenda would have been simpler if it had been put in place immediately
after the election, but this has not materialised for various reasons.

Essentially, therefore, unless the ruling Zanu PF party is unable to control
the issue of unavailability of basic commodities and the people of Zimbabwe
“spontaneously” rise against the it at the urging of the opposition, then
there will be limited possibility of a rerun of the election ever becoming a

This is not to say that the pressure must not be kept up on the agenda for a
rerun, but that it must no longer be of the utmost priority.

The priority should now become the broad-based struggle for a new
constitution in Zimbabwe. Where and when there have been differences between
the NCA and other important organisations in the struggle for democracy in
Zimbabwe these must now be set aside under an agreeable framework to all.

While the NCA has its own individual member structures, it cannot go it
alone. Zimbabwe still favours strong coalitions that produce action and
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Daily News

Quitting Magara accuses NAGG of being paid $4,5m by Zanu PF

4/19/02 12:07:48 PM (GMT +2)
By Collin Chiwanza

BILLET Magara, the secretary for information and publicity for the National
Alliance for Good Governance (NAGG), who has resigned from the minor
opposition party with immediate effect, alleges that the party received $4,5
million from Zanu PF.

In his three-page resignation letter, Magara stated that he confronted
Shakespeare Maya, the NAGG president, about the underhand payment from Zanu
PF but Maya denied ever receiving such monies.

Magara also cited lack of transparency and accountability in the
administration of the party. Magara vied for the Harare mayoral seat on a
NAGG ticket but lost dismally to the MDC’s Elias Mudzuri.

In the letter, Magara lashed out at Maya, saying he was operating as an
extension of Zanu PF because he had received what he termed “blood money”
from the ruling party.

Magara said: “If you received blood money, history will judge you very
harshly, not me.

“There is absolutely no need for a party such as ours to grovel in the dust
for favours from any other party. Where is our political dignity if we
become minions of either Zanu PF or MDC?”

He said Maya had a serious attitude problem that caused him to feel insecure
and to regard everyone as untrustworthy or dishonest.

“You did not wish to provide me with the latitude to prove what I could do
for you and for the party, because somewhere in your ‘humble’ personality
lurks an angry soul that rejects all attempts at giving trust to anybody you
know and work with. I fell victim to your very deep-seated distrust for
reasons that are still obscure to me,” reads part of Magara’s letter.

On the party’s finances, Magara said he had unsuccessfully tried to appeal
to Maya to have the party accounts revealed to the executive committee.

Instead, he said, Maya preferred to run the party’s financial transactions
single-handedly, a move that disillusioned most members of the party.

Magara accused Maya of refusing to fund his campaign for the Harare mayoral
seat. Contacted yesterday for comment, Maya said he had, in fact, dissolved
the entire national executive of NAGG with immediate effect and that those
saying they had resigned were merely trying to save face.

Maya said the dissolution would pave way for “a stronger leadership with
greater resolve to tackle the high demands of important tasks facing the
party ahead”.
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Daily News
Maize shortage critical

4/19/02 12:23:21 PM (GMT +2)
From Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu in Bulawayo

The shortage of maize in Bulilimamangwe District has reached a critical
stage as most sole traders in the large area have no transport with which to
carry the grain from the Grain Marketing Board in Bulawayo.

The only trader with suitable means of transport is Lungisani Manje Tayani
Nleya, whose supermarket and grinding mill are at Dombodema Secondary
School, some 24km west of Plumtree, the district’s administrative centre.

“The situation is so serious that many people within a radius of 90km travel
to Nleya’s supermarket and they spend several days waiting for maize
deliveries from Bulawayo,” a Dombodema resident told The Daily News

“Some come from as far away as Ndolwane, some 70km north-west of Dombodema,
and others come from Hingwe, some 65km west of Dombodema.

“Others walk from Matjinge, about 40km north-east of Dombodema,” a
distraught woman who preferred not to be named said.

“We recently saw people from Brunapeg, some 100km south of Dombodema,” she

People who had failed to find the staple cereal at Plumtree had then
proceeded to Dombodema, 24km westwards. The Dombodema resident said if it
were not for Nleya’s supermarket, many people in the district would have
starved to death.

An employee of a milling company said: “We sell maize-meal which we produce
occasionally when we have the grain, which is very rare these days.”

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Mugabe celebrates as terror continues
By Peta Thornycroft in Bulawayo
(Filed: 19/04/2002)
ZIMBABWE marked Independence Day yesterday with Robert Mugabe promising to
stay in power and many of his people living in a state of terror that shows
no sign of easing.

As military parades, a fly-past by air force jets and a rally were held in
the capital, Harare, yesterday a woman of 27 described how she was attacked
by a mob loyal to the president's Zanu-PF party while she was pregnant.

Four weeks before she gave birth the woman, who cannot be named for her own
safety but is a supporter of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), was badly beaten. She is now in hiding in the southern city of

After the attack she was bleeding but knew she would get no help from the
local clinic when she was told dismissively by a nurse to go to
"Tsvangirai's place" - a reference to Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC.

In her dark hut, with only her 10-year-old son for company, she went into
labour. "I think it took an hour. I cut the cord myself, wrapped the baby in
a sheet, and lay down and slept until morning. Then I went to wash myself
and the baby in the river."

She spoke quietly, wincing with pain so severe she could not be touched,
nursing her three-month-old baby.

Three days earlier, unable to walk, she had been rescued by an MDC
supporter, and driven by a circuitous route to avoid police and militia road
blocks, to a non-governmental organisation, the Amani Trust.

In Bulawayo, doctors found no bones were broken, but an orange-sized clot of
blood had grown on her bladder where she had been beaten. The baby needed
attention, too. When he was three weeks old, a group of 12 so-called war
veterans arrived at her hut late at night, beat his mother, grabbed the
baby, and swung him by his ankle around their heads. "I was screaming and I
escaped and forced myself to walk to an MDC house."

They lived in a dry, remote area 160 miles east of Bulawayo. The district is
strongly pro-Mugabe and no one moves without a ruling Zanu-PF party card.
The MDC has virtually disappeared.

Scores of injured people from the region have arrived at Amani Trust in
Bulawayo in recent days.

They said food aid in the area was being restricted to Zanu-PF supporters
after the World Food Programme's non-governmental organisation partners left
distribution to civil servants. Care International, a Canadian NGO, has
closed one feeding scheme in the district after the complaints proved

In Harare, Mr Mugabe, 78, spoke at a football stadium only one-third full,
despite sharing the bill with a match between the country's two top teams.

Last month he claimed victory in presidential elections widely condemned
abroad. He told the crowd he would defend his position. "Whatever our
detractors might say, we are a self-made democracy that does not stand
beholden to anyone except God," he said.

Mr Mugabe's 22-year rule, culminating in a land seizure programme and
violent repression of the opposition, has plunged Zimbabwe into economic
crisis, with shortages of food and basic goods, triple-digit inflation and
unemployment of 70 per cent.

There is no work in the beaten woman's village. She has two sisters there,
but only one has visited since the beatings began. "I am MDC and it is
dangerous for them to come and see me," she said.

The baby's father, an MDC activist in Harare, does not know he has a new

Business Day

West wants to destabilise Zimbabwe'

Mugabe vows to defend presidency as country celebrates 22 years of
independence from Britain

HARARE Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe accused western powers yesterday
of seeking to destabilise his country after last month's controversial
election, but said he would bow to no one but God.

Addressing thousands of people at a ceremony to celebrate Zimbabwe's 22
years of independence from Britain, Mugabe said he would defend his position
and his country's sovereignty.

Mugabe vowed to allow nobody to overturn his victory, branded "daylight
robbery" by his main rival Morgan Tsvangirai and rejected by many western
powers. "There is an imperial bid by hostile countries of the west to erode
our electoral democracy and qualify our independence."

But the 78-year-old former guerrilla, who also marked 22 years in power
yesterday, said he was willing to work with all political forces in the
country for peace and national unity.

He denounced growing western pressure on his government, saying his ruling
Zanu (PF) party was being targeted for defending Zimbabwe's sovereignty and
his decision to seize white-owned farms to resettle landless blacks.

"Whatever our detractors might say, we are a self-made democracy that does
not stand beholden to anyone except God.

"Our democracy was not made in England, Germany, Denmark or the US. We are a
democracy that carved itself from the war of liberation. We therefore do not
stand beholden to any nation.

"We do not owe our position to any earthly power. None at all. Indeed we do
not live by the approval of any foreign authority. This is our stance, and
one we jealously guard," he said.

Mugabe said his principled stance had not endeared him to some western
powers who preferred subservient leaders.

"Today those nations that have sought to interact with us on the same
reciprocal basis still stand by us," he said.

"We fiercely guard our independence and stubbornly defend our sovereignty
for that's what makes a nation," he said.

Mugabe saw his land seizures as part of asserting Zimbabwe's independence
and said he had handled the issue firmly.

"How can people who don't own their land ever claim to be sovereign? I am
happy to tell you this outstanding task has been tackled resolutely. Land
has finally come to its rightful owners in meaningful quantities."

Mugabe acknowledged Zimbabwe was facing a severe economic crisis that had
seen poverty, inflation and unemployment rising in the last few years.

But he said his land reforms would form the basis of an agrarian-led
economic recovery programme in which the state would offer substantial
financial and technical services support.

"There has to be a new deal for Zimbabweans," he said.

On national unity Mugabe, whose party militants are accused of continuing a
campaign of violence against the opposition, said: "Let us work to be one.
Avoid quarrels, avoid fights, concentrate on the building of our nation. We
are ready for that, and if other people are ready let's walk together
regardless of our differences, our political persuasion."

Angry words flew between Zimbabwean officials and Democratic Alliance (DA)
members during a protest in Pretoria yesterday. "The white DA dogs can go to
hell," was one of the insults that greeted DA members who demonstrated
outside the Zimbabwean High Commission in support of the people of SA's
northern neighbour.

DA chief whip Douglas Gibson retorted: "We don't use that kind of language
here. Take your rudeness back across the Limpopo River." Earlier in the day
about 300 DA members marched from the Union Buildings to the Zimbabwean High

They produced a memorandum demanding, among others, media freedom and a
fresh election in Zimbabwe. Amid much shouting across the security fence,
the Zimbabwean officials refused to accept the document.

"This is nonsense," said Gibson. "They are sitting there, wining and dining,
while their people are suffering." With Sapa
Apr 19 2002 06:47:01:000AM Cris Chinaka Business Day 1st Edition

19 April 2002
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Concern Over SA's Stance On Zim
Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg)

April 19, 2002
Posted to the web April 18, 2002

Jaspreet Kindra and Mail & Guardian reporter
Amnesty International has voiced "deep concern" over South Africa's unclear
stance on a European Union resolution on violence by militia members and
"war veterans" in Zimbabwe, tabled at the United Nations Human Rights
Commission in Geneva.

Amnesty's UN lobbyist Cathy Turner said Amnesty saw South Africa as a "key
player" in the commission and among African states, and had not yet
committed itself to the resolution.

Amnesty and the rest of the world community expected South Africa to take a
stand against human rights violations because of its experience of
apartheid, she said.

Rumours were rife in UN corridors that South Africa might sponsor a "no
action" motion against the resolution. This device, routinely used by China
to block scrutiny of its human rights record, would prevent the commission
from considering the EU resolution.

Turner pointed out that the African bloc in the 53-member commission tabled
a resolution last year stipu- lating that only they had the right to table
issues of concern to the continent.

Similar sentiments were echoed at the New Economic Partnership for Africa's
Development talks, which opened in Dakar, Senegal, this week. South African
presiden-tial economic adviser Wiseman Nkuhlu, who is at the summit, told
the SABC that African countries wanted to be left alone to deal with African
issues such as Zimbabwe in their own way.

The SABC also reported that Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade had
criticised the "trade union stance" - continental solidarity -adopted by the
African states on Zimbabwe.

Agency reports have speculated that President Thabo Mbeki and Nigerian
President Olusegun Obasanjo did not turn up at the conference as a possible
rebuke to Wade for his critical stance.

Turner said the EU had held talks with the African states on the resolution,
which asks Zimbabwe to ratify the UN convention against torture and urges
the government "to fully cooperate with all relevant mechanisms of the
Commission on Human Rights, including inviting them to visit the country."

Requests by several UN human rights special rapporteurs to visit Zimbabwe
have been turned down by the government.

Sources said that at South Africa's insistence the EU incorporated a
paragraph recognising "the importance of fair, just and sustainable land
reform" in Zimbabwe. The UN representative from Spain, now chairing the EU
bloc, closely consulted the South African delegation on the wording.

The resolution urges Zimbabwean authorities to allow civil society "to
operate without fear of harassment or intimidation", as well as seeking
government assurances of "full respect for freedom of opinion and
expression, including freedom of the press in relation to all types of mass

Reports also indicated that South Africa might be softening its support for
an optional protocol to the UN Convention against Torture. After 10 years of
drafting, a compromise proposal has been tabled which would allow human
rights experts to inspect prisons round the world.

Human rights monitors in Zimbabwe have alleged widespread torture of
opposition members by militiamen and war veterans.

South Africa's permanent representative at the UN in Geneva, SG Nene,
originally pledged to co-sponsor a motion to pass the proposal.

But last Wednesday diplomats were baffled when Nene stated that all such new
human rights treaties should be adopted by consensus, not by a majority
vote. Raising the bar in this way would almost certainly ensure that the
proposal dies.

However, Turner said the South Africans "now seemed to be on board". Nene
could not be reached for comment on South Africa's position this week.

Foreign affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa confirmed that the African bloc at
the UN would abstain when the vote on the European resolution is taken on
Friday. South Africa had not decided how it would vote.

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Zim Independent

MDC in African diplomatic offensive
Dumisani Muleya

THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has embarked on an
extensive diplomatic offensive to explain its position on a range of issues,
including President Robert Mugabe's disputed re-election.

Well-placed sources yesterday said MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai last week
met Southern African Development Community (Sadc) heads of mission in Harare
to spell out his party's position.
The meeting, which was hosted by the Angolan ambassador Joaquim Augustino de
Lemos and chaired by Malawian High Commissioner Tujilani Chizumila on
Wednesday, heralded the MDC's forthcoming diplomatic sweep across Africa.
Angola and Malawi were among African nations that endorsed Mugabe's
controversial poll win.
MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube confirmed the meeting took place. He
said the opposition wanted to impress upon African leaders that upholding
electoral fraud would not help matters but further damage the region.
"We believe its is necessary to appraise civil societies and governments in
Africa about the situation in Zimbabwe," he said. "We want them to
understand that this problem will not be resolved by violence and
"No amount of support for Mugabe's fraud and destructive policies will
change things. It just won't end the crisis," he said.
Ncube said the MDC would next month dispatch three high-profile teams to key
Sadc, East African, and West African countries to explain the current
national impasse.
Some of the officials to be included in the mission were party
vice-president Gibson Sibanda, foreign affairs spokesman Tendai Biti,
external affairs secretary Sekai Holland, and political advisor Professor
Elphas Mukonoweshuro.
During his encounter with Sadc diplomats, Tsvangirai warned Zimbabwe was
bound to remain stuck in the quagmire because the recent "stolen" election
failed to restore government's legitimacy and national confidence or end the
country's international isolation.
Sources said Tsvangirai complained about several issues: repressive
activities of the uniformed forces and Zanu PF militias, miniaturization of
state institutions, state-sponsored political hugger, and the systematic
subversion of democracy.
He also raised concern over massive government-authored starvation and the
use of militias in food relief distribution.
"Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe will not return to normalcy as long as militias -
whose training is gobbling millions in taxpayers' money while people
starve - were not disbanded and the rule of law restored," a source said.
"He said violence and human rights abuses have to stop if the country is to
move forward."
The opposition leader - who has taken Mugabe to court over his "fraudulent"
re-election - said the only way out of the current cul-de-sac was through a
re-run. He said his party was committed to talks with Zanu PF so long as
they led to a transitional administration to run a fresh election.
On land reform, Tsvangirai said the exercise was important but a lasting
solution was needed. He said the violent land grab had displaced a lot of
people, especially migrant workers from Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.
Tsvangirai told the Sadc envoys that claims that the MDC was a front for
Western powers were merely delusional propaganda. He said the MDC was a
creature of Mugabe's tyranny and economic hardships.

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Zim Independent

American blacks slam Mugabe over arrests
Blessing Zulu

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has come under renewed criticism this week for his
crackdown on the opposition.

The president and chief executive officer of the United States-based
National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP), Kweisi
Mfume, slammed Mugabe's decision to charge MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai with
The NAACP was invited by the government to observe the March 9/11
presidential election. Found-ed in 1909, it is the oldest and largest
African American organisation in the US. It has half a million members.
Mfume sent the letter of protest to the Zimbabwe ambassador to the United
States, Simbi Mubako.
"The election is over. This sort of heavy-handedness to kill off all
opposition voices is too much for anyone to be silent about," Mfume said.
"These actions indicate that Mugabe does not want to live by the basic
tenets of a democratic election. You cannot run a democracy by jailing the
opposition and everyone who disagrees with you."
Mfume said Mugabe's actions could have "a chilling effect on democracy in
Zimbabwe and work against the precepts of the democratic process.
"The NAACP believes that democracy is a necessary precondition for social,
political and economic transformation and is crucial to attracting
assistance for the development of the developing world."
It was in this spirit that he was writing to Mubako about the treatment of
Tsvangirai and other opposition leaders, he said.
Meanwhile, the Franciscan Fathers, an order of the Catholic Church in
Zimbabwe, has commented on Zanu PF's campaign methods of intimidation,
beatings, arson and disenfranchisement.
In particular, the fathers castigated the violence perpetrated by youths
from the Border Gezi Training Institute.
"The use of youth groups and the unemployed as pawns in a political struggle
was shameful," the Franciscans said.
"It caused nothing but violence and destroyed traditional values of respect
for elders and concerns for the weak and innocent," they said.
The fathers also lashed out at the chaotic land grab exercise and the
growing favouritism in food distribution.
"Party membership as a requirement for assistance to those on the brink of
starvation is a sin before God and man. Who are the people making such evil
demands?" they asked.
Mugabe claims to be a member of the Catholic Church. The statement by the
Franciscan fathers joins a growing dossier of complaints about the conduct
of the presidential poll, widely seen as flawed.
It was reported recently that President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal had added
his voice to the chorus of those critical of Mugabe's conduct.
"Mr Mugabe did not respect the rules," Wade said.
"The opposition could not wage its campaign. There were many deaths.
Electoral laws were changed days before the election. We can't call that an
"I was in the opposition for too long to forget the opposition as soon as I
arrived in power," he said. "I refuse to belong to this trade union of
presidents. Mugabe or not Mugabe is not my concern. My concern was what the
people of Zimbabwe wanted."

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Zim Independent

MDC negotiators warned of Zanu PF's poisoned chalice
Dumisani Muleya

RECONCILIATION talks between the ruling Zanu PF and the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) will experience some turbulence next month after
a precarious takeoff.

Political analysts say the coming stage of the bargaining would be difficult
primarily because the rival parties remain so far apart on fundamental

Zanu PF delegation leader Patrick Chinamasa and his MDC counterpart Welshman
Ncube were last week anchored in rigid postures equated by observers to the
north and south poles, despite a compromise on the agenda.

The talks, which will have three phases that include agenda formulation,
negotiations and the writing of a final report, were adjourned to May 13.

The next phase is expected to take six days of fevered haggling at a private
location out of Harare. Initially meetings were due to be held at either
Leopard's Rock in the Vumba or Troutbeck in Nyanga. Hwange Safari Lodge has
now been added to the list of possible venues.

It is understood the Zanu PF team initially refused to move out of Harare
for introductory meetings claiming to be busy.

The critical talks were brokered by South African President Thabo Mbeki and
his Nigerian counterpart, Olusegun Obasanjo. Mbeki and Obasanjo were in
Harare on March 18 for initial contacts with President Robert Mugabe and MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mbeki subsequently dispatched the ruling ANC secretary-general Kgalema
Motlanthe as his chief negotiator, while Obasanjo appoint-ed respected
diplomat Adebayo Adedeji as his envoy.

Analysts say a political settlement is necessary for Zimbabwe's economic
recovery and the endorsement of Mbeki's Nepad at the G8 meeting in June in

Clashes between the MDC team - which includes experienced mediator
Bhekimpilo Sibanda who was involved in the transformation of the South
African Police during the Codesa talks in 1991-93 - and the Zanu PF group
intensified last week on Wednesday indicating an impasse.

Tsvangirai last week said it would be difficult for the talks to succeed
because Zanu PF packed its team with unsuitable - and unstable -

"They are not serious," he said. "They sent rabble-rousers to test the

But Jonathan Moyo, who is part of the Zanu PF delegation, also thinks the
same of the MDC team. In an interview with the Sunday Mail, the voluble
spin-doctor claimed:
"Frankly, I don't think they are serious about anything but I would be very
happy to be proven wrong." He said the dialogue was necessary "even where it
appears that prospects of achieving anything useful are either slim or

Despite Moyo's inauspicious remarks, the two parties tenaciously fought over
the agenda. The ruling party tried to block the MDC placing its
confidence-building proposal at the top of the agenda. In the end the MDC
gave in but, surprisingly, Zanu PF inserted the opposition item on
legitimacy - which demands a re-run of the presidential poll - as the
topmost issue.

Other issues included sovereignty, multi-partysim, politically- motivated
violence, the constitution and laws, an economic recovery plan, and land.

Zanu PF is essentially fighting for "sovereignty", while the MDC is battling
for a re-run.

University of Zimbabwe Institute of Development Studies professor Brian
Raftopoulos said the talks would be laborious.

"They will be difficult unless the parties enter them in good faith," he
said. "Zanu PF will frustrate progress and try to make them as drawn-out as
possible to get a breathing space unless pressure is brought to bear on the
regime by South Africa and Nigeria."

But professor of politics Masipula Sithole differed. "There are precedents.
Talks on Zimbabwe have a history of eventually succeeding," he said. "There
is no alternative to a settlement. Even talks about talks will succeed
because one of the sides is more wrong and will give in. Finally a
compromise will be found."

Other commentators said the talks are likely to remain on the rocks because
the parties failed to establish a common vision. Instead, they just drafted
an agenda without crystal-clear collective goals. In South Africa during
Codesa, the key accepted objective was to establish a "modern, transparent,
plural, diverse and effective democratic state based on an adherence to the
rule of law".

A declaration of intent was adopted by all parties - except the Inkatha
Freedom Party and the Bophuthatswana bantustan government - to ensure the
process was binding. Decisions were taken on a general or sufficient
consensus basis. But in Zimbabwe's own version of Codesa, critics say
nothing is clear except the yawning gulf between the parties.

Insiders said Zanu PF brought into the closed meeting a "shadow face", who
presumably was a state intelligence operative. The ruling party later
identified the stranger as Cyril Machingura after Ncube took issue with his
presence. The party claimed the intruder worked in one of its team members,
Frederick Shava's office.

The MDC then walked out during a discussion on the adjournment of the talks.
The opposition team, which has been given an April 30 deadline by its
national council, said Zanu PF was delaying the talks to get a breather.

Moyo - who-se job now seems to be issuing denials on independent press
reports and making threats to journalists - was again in denial.

"If the president needed any space, then he got it from the people of
Zimbabwe through their overwhelming popular vote in the presidential
election," he claimed.

But Mugabe's dubious mandate was secured through a wafer-thin majority. He
got 1,6 million votes out of 3,2 registered voters amid charges of
vote-rigging and violence. Tsvangirai got 1,2 million votes despite
extensive obstacles.

Analysts said the talks present opportunities and dangers for both parties.

They said the MDC's advantages are that it has got a unique chance to
enunciate its policies and push its agenda further. The party has been given
a platform to direct events, take Zanu PF prisoner and achieve a significant
power-relations shift.

But its advantages are limited because traditionally Zanu PF is obdurate.
The ruling party has already said a re-run is "non-negotiable". Critics warn
the talks are fraught with in-built risks for the opposition. The hazards
include neutralisation, absorption or legitimising the incumbent regime.

Prominent author Gene Sharp pointed out the pitfalls of political
negotiations in his book From Dictatorship to Democracy.

"Democrats should be wary of the traps which may be deliberately built into
a negotiating process by dictators," he said. "Well-intended negotiators
confuse the objectives of the negotiations and the negotiation process

Sharp said negotiating with despots gives authoritarian regimes legitimacy.

"Further, democratic negotiators, or foreign negotiation specialists
accepted to assist in the negotiations, may in a single stroke provide the
dictators with domestic and international legitimacy, which they had been
previously denied because of their seizure of the state, human rights
violations, and brutalities," he said.

"Without that desperately needed legitimacy, the dictators cannot continue
to rule indefinitely. Exponents of peace should not provide them

The MDC has put legitimacy restoration and peace as its key demands.
Analysts say Zanu PF has been given a good opportunity for survival. It may,
even though it's highly unlikely, manage to purchase legitimacy, and
neutralise or swallow the MDC. Yet the regime also risks further exposing
its sclerotic form in the process.

MDC MP Munyaradzi Gwisai last week told the opposition leadership that
negotiating with a party like Zanu PF was both dangerous and futile. He said
mass action and resistance against the regime is the answer.

"Talks are both unnecessary and destructive to the struggle for democracy,"
he said. "Why should the MDC negotiate with a regime that butchered and
rigged its way to 'victory'? By accepting these talks the MDC leadership is
falling straight into Mugabe's trap," he warned. He advocated mass action.

Sharp said negotiations with dictators are ineffective. "Resistance, not
negotiations, is essential for change in conflicts where fundamental issues
are at stake," he wrote. "In nearly all cases, resistance must continue to
drive dictators out of power."

Gwisai said the MDC must transform itself into a resistance movement and use
sustained mass actions to achieve its goals.

"The MDC must immediately pull out of the talks with Zanu PF and instead,
like in Madagascar and earlier in Serbia and Ivory Coast, as an opposition
reject the stolen elections and mobilise the masses against such a regime
through mass action."

The radical lawyer - warning that Mugabe wants to absorb the opposition -
urged his bosses to think again about talks.

"We have to ask ourselves why Mugabe should want talks so soon after
elections which he claims to have won resoundingly. The reasons are
obvious - the regime is in an irredeemable position," he said. "Why should
the MDC leadership throw him (Mugabe) a lifeline when their job is supposed
to be to finish him off and shorten the pain of the long-suffering masses?"

Moyo claimed Zanu PF does not want to absorb the MDC because "I don't think
there is anyone in the ruling party who wants to swallow poison".
Ironically, when Zanu assimilated PF Zapu in 1987, the late veteran
nationalist Joshua Nkomo said the ruling party had "swallowed poison".

Exactly who is poisoning who in the current talks remains to be seen.

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Zim Independent - Opinion

Zimbabwe should not be an exception
By Paul Themba Nyathi

ROBERT Mugabe will soon discover, if he has not already done so, that it was
a lot easier for him to steal the March poll than to transform such tainted
"victory" into a useful and credible presidency.

Had he stolen the election 15 years ago the rest of the world would have
turned a blind eye, sighed with exasperation and dismissed the event as yet
another African country hurtling down the path to self-destruction.
Unfortunately for Mugabe and fortunately for Zimbabwe, the world has moved
on and now refuses to endorse electoral fraud.
It must be pointed out to Mugabe that Zimbabwe is not just another failed
African state. This is a country where civic awareness is relatively high.
In June 2000 the people of Zimbabwe demonstrated their faith in the
electoral process by voting 58 opposition candidates into parliament. It is
common knowledge that Zanu PF would have lost the June 2000 parliamentary
poll had it not resorted to its characteristic abuse of the electorate by
employing savage violence.
Subsequent to the June 2000 poll, the electorate has voted five opposition
mayors into power. The opposition has also captured 64 urban and rural
council seats. The opposition enjoys massive support countrywide as
evidenced by Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede's own disputed presidential
poll figures. In the face of a stubborn and credible opposition Mugabe
cannot successfully employ the same tactics he has used in the past to
destroy opposition parties. This one is synonymous with the people of
Zimbabwe and is therefore indestructible.
Fifteen years ago, when Mugabe was still considered a hero, he could have
counted on many countries to voluntarily rally to his cause. Now he is
reduced to blackmailing some African states into endorsing his neurotic
leadership. They do this to cover up their own shame and embarrassment
because when your fellow black brother or sister behaves as abominably as
Mugabe has done, the immediate reaction is to cover up in the face of fierce
external condemnation.
There is this strange perception in Africa that as soon as non-black people
condemn a black leader's behaviour, there should be a show of solidarity by
other blacks. How about universal principles that bind together our
collective humanity regardless of colour?
When a black leader bankrupts his country by pursuing foolish policies
he/she must be condemned. When a black leader visits untold misery on
his/her people he/she should be condemned. When a black leader creates
conditions in the country that diminish the sanctity of human life such a
leader should be condemned. And when a leader brazenly steals an election
the rest of decent humanity should condemn the leader and the theft. Mugabe
is facing unreserved condemnation from all those who respect human dignity
because what he has done humiliates black people who have been treated badly
by both colonialism and slavery.
If the outcome of an election is to be predetermined by placing all manner
of impediments in the electoral process why bother holding them? The
sovereignty of a people is expressed through the ballot box. Mugabe cannot
determine for Zimbabweans what constitutes sovereignty. His anti-imperialist
stance cannot hide the fact that in his 22 years of uninterrupted
stewardship of the country, Zimbabweans have become poorer, less free and
subjected to untold human rights abuses. At 78 Mugabe crowns his life by
stealing an election. What a legacy to bequeath to one's children and
There is lot of speculation about why South Africans decided to endorse a
poll result that they would have found totally unacceptable in their own
country. One theory is that South African intelligence was alarmed by Zanu
PF's capacity for violent reaction if it lost the election. On the other
hand it was concluded that even if robbed of victory, the MDC did not
possess the capacity to destroy the country. Expediency then took over for
the South Africans.
The other thoroughly canvassed theory is that South Africa is obsessed with
a war of liberation psychosis and believes blindly that a murderous,
incompetent, corrupt and destructive party such as Zanu PF should be
forgiven anything because it participated in the liberation struggle.
The other rather bizarre theory is that Thabo Mbeki needs a Mugabe for his
presidency to approximate that of Nelson Mandela. Whatever the motivation,
South Africa has betrayed the many years of struggle for justice that her
own people embarked upon. The interim report of the Southern African
observer mission is a shameful document that does a disservice to such a
great people and a great country.
Contrary to the self-serving statements by Zanu PF that their victory is
legitimate because African states endorsed the poll, the more important
issue is that church organisations, non-governmental institutions and other
indigenous bodies within Zimbabwe have condemned the result of the poll and
have not endorsed Mugabe's "victory". These are courageous voices whose
moral authority and standing far surpass that of compromised African leaders
who believe they own their brother a favour which he might return when they
in turn steal an election.
The agony of thousands of rural Zimbabweans who are being beaten, maimed,
raped and killed because they are perceived to have voted for the MDC cannot
be assuaged by the South African observer mission's asinine observation that
there was too much Western interest in Zimbabwe.

Paul Themba Nyathi is the MDC's elections director. Next week he examines
the steps needed to restore electoral credibility.
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Zim Independent

Chinamasa to re-introduce disputed Bill
Blessing Zulu

THE controversial General Laws Amendment Act, which was thrown out by the
Supreme Court on a technicality, will be re-introduced in parliament when it
resumes sitting, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

Political commentators have speculated that with the possibility of an
election re-run now looming, government was anxious to re- introduce the
sweeping measure which governs electoral conduct.
Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Patrick Chinamasa
confirmed the ill-fated Act would be re-introduced in parliament in its
"We are certainly bringing it back, as it is, when parliament resumes
sitting," said Chinamasa.
"The problem was with the procedure and not the content. We were not doing
this just for the elections and this is why it is coming after the
elections," said Chinamasa.
The General Laws Amendment Bill was passed by parliament after the
opposition initially blocked it. Zanu PF then cracked the whip on its
members and re-introduced the Bill, which sailed through when the House
The Supreme Court in February threw out the Act saying proper procedures had
not been followed in the House. President Mugabe then issued a Statutory
Instrument restoring clauses governing electoral procedures. Those will now
be included in the revived legislation.
Among the measures re-introduced, people living in urban areas will be
required to produce evidence showing they have lived in their constituencies
for the last 12 months when registering as voters.
Postal votes will be restricted to diplomats and members of the armed
forces, disenfranchising thousands living abroad. Independent monitors will
be excluded and foreign observers will be hand-picked by government.
MDC shadow minister for Justice David Coltart said the urgency by Chinamasa
showed that he was anticipating an election re-run.
"The fact that Chinamasa is reintroducing the Bill so soon indicates that he
is recognising that there will be an election shortly, otherwise he would
not be in such a hurry to reintroduce it," said Coltart.
He said he hoped that Chinamasa had finally seen reason.
"We told Chinamasa in January that the steps he was taking were illegal. We
had to go to court to prove him wrong. He has learnt his lesson and we hope
this time he will follow parliamentary procedures," Colt-art said.
He however dismissed the re-introduction of the Bill in its current form.
"If the Bill is re-introduced in its current form it will be objectionable
for it contains provisions which violate Sadc election standards," said
Constitutional law expert and chairman of the National Constitutional
Assembly, Dr Lovemore Madhuku, said all Zimbabweans should reject the Bill.
"It is not proper for people to look at the Bill alone as there are other
repressive laws such as the draconian Public Order and Security Act,"
Madhuku said.
"People must work out a system to ensure permanent democracy. Those seeking
a re-run and those calling for a new constitution must remain steadfast."
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Zim Independent - Editor's Memo and Letters

Cornered regime bent on settling scores
IT has been an eventful week. In addition to the demands normally associated
with running a newspaper, I have had to deal with the equally demanding task
of responding to state harassment.

Our chief reporter Dumisani Muleya and myself as editor have been charged
under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and/or
alternatively with criminal defamation regarding a story we carried last
week which referred to Grace Mugabe. The story concerned a local company
that has been under threat from some of its workers.
Anybody reading that story will see immediately that there was nothing
remotely defamatory about it. In fact it suggested Mrs Mugabe did the
correct thing in having the matter referred to the Ministry of Labour. It
appears the state regards the very mention of her name as actionable.
These charges are clearly designed to prevent us doing our job as
journalists and have a chilling effect on the press generally. The laws
under which we are charged are probably unconstitutional. In nearly every
other Commonwealth jurisdiction criminal defamation has been repealed or
struck down by the courts as incompatible with democratic rights, in
particular, freedom of expression. Last year Ghana followed suit.
It is interesting to see how a government so hostile to the imperial legacy
can remain wedded to archaic English Common Law provisions of this sort. But
then again, this is the same government that was happy to live with the Law
and Order (Maintenance) Act for 21 years and then fashioned something even
more draconian than South Africa's 1982 State Security Act to replace it.
Grace Mugabe joined her husband on the hustings during the recent
presidential election campaign. She was reported as having referred to the
MDC as "a movement of cats and dogs" at a Bindura rally.
We are increasingly witnessing a process whereby President Mugabe and his
immediate associates are able to engage in name-calling and abuse, yet
prosecute newspapers that breach what they obviously consider their imperial
dignity. The Office of the President, let it be recorded, resorted to
abusive and defamatory language when responding to our report in the Herald
on Saturday.
That will be raised in court. And our lawyers have said that if any
prosecution proceeds they want Grace Mugabe to take the witness stand as
they are keen to cross-examine her.
This newspaper was the first to disclose details of the abuse of a
government housing scheme in 1996 by a number of people close to the
Let those officials who have been so intemperate and unprofessional in their
invective against this newspaper be under no illusion. Mugabe, contrary to
the impression he gives, is paid by Zimbabwean taxpayers. He is accountable
for how public funds are spent. So are those around him who benefit from
those funds. We will subject them to the same scrutiny that all powerful
people in the land can expect from any newspaper worth its salt.
We are not impressed by this latest abuse of power by the President's
Office. They are behind this harassment, not the police who frankly have
little idea what these charges entail.
The last time they brought criminal defamation charges against our newspaper
group, over a story relating to Mugabe and Tongogara's ghost, nothing was
heard from them again. Nor have they taken up our offer to prosecute us for
publishing pictures from a reputable news agency of people without their
clothes on.
We don't for one minute doubt their resolve to punish us. The wave of
arrests this week, which affected the Daily News as well as us, reveal the
agenda of a cornered regime attempting to settle scores with inconvenient
Muleya is an outstanding journalist as regular readers will appreciate. His
stories are invariably thoughtful and well- researched. And like so many
young journalists working in the independent sector he is utterly
unimpressed by the hamfisted attempts of this regime to prevent exposure of
its record of misrule.
The International Press Institute, based in Vienna, recently reported that
"Robert Mugabe's desperate desire to hold on to power in Zimbabwe was one of
the most significant press freedom issues of the year.
"President Mugabe and his Zanu PF party," the IPI said, "pursued a
systematic policy of intimidating editors and journalists, restricting the
work of foreign correspondents and drafting repressive media legislation.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect is the complete failure of the government
to condemn violence."
Let us not forget in all this that the police have made no progress
whatsoever in their court-ordered investigation into the abduction and
torture of former Standard editor Mark Chavunduka and reporter Ray Choto.
And nobody has been prosecuted for two bomb attacks on the Daily News.
We welcome the opportunity to test the legitimacy of Jonathan Moyo's
malignant Access to Information law in the courts.
We will not allow an increasingly criminal regime to curb our right to free
expression without a fight!

The late, dead and deceased

Dear Editor,

I JUST love seeing caricatures by irreverent cartoonists of motor-mouth
Moyo. His depiction as an exaggerated egghead is brilliantly apt. I wish
though I could similarly praise other aspects of much of our local press.
For example, some of the terminology employed in our news- papers is, to
reproduce an expression, hard to "cope up" with - particularly as it's a
problem that seems to have been around in the local press for as long as the
born-frees have been anything.
This has more to do with proof-reading and the expertise of sub-editors than
with the proficiency of contributors in what might well be a second language
to them. One effect is to leave one wondering why prominent people never fly
into Zimbabwe. They "jet in". Always. "Chissano jets in", scream the
headlines. Strangely though, nobody ever jets out. They either fly or they
simply leave.
Meanwhile, back on what's left of the ranch, it's the end of the "rain"
season that barely was. Where the adjectival "y" went to is unclear. It's in
good company though. If a local daily is to be believed, just a few days ago
another 17 "herd" of cattle disappeared, leaving bemused readers to wonder
just how many head were in each herd.
If these animals are ever located, the chances are they will all be found in
a bush. Many things happen in a bush these days, ranging from rape to
robbery. Mind you, in some locations there's probably not too much left of
the treed areas we used to know - beyond solitary shrubs scattered here and
there, that is.
So, although it is inadvertent, there is a degree of aptness there at least.
If by chance the cops stumble upon the thieves, those light- fingered gentry
might just get beaten with baton sticks, or if you comprenez the mix, stick
sticks. It seems to be the procedure these days and part of the drill for
these replacements to the now dimly remembered professional police.
Sometimes we read about cops even employing their "button" sticks to do the
job. In days of old, batons were used to effect an arrest whereas button
sticks were used in polishing the brass to be found on the well-pressed
uniforms of those days. Times change though.
Old habits, that used to die, now become late. Full stop. So when we read
that so and so is now late, we know he hasn't missed the bus or been tardy
in reaching his place of work. He is in fact dead, deceased or has passed
Over the page we read of the thief who yesterday received the supreme
penalty of a "swinging sentence". A swingeing one would have been sufficient
to satisfy justice but Zimbabwean courts are nothing if not robust. Quite
often offenders get slapped by the magistrate - sometimes with a custodial
sentence and sometimes with a fine.
And should an offender be fortunate enough to make good his escape we might
expect to read an account of police hunting a man clad in a denim trouser
and a stripped shirt. Overseas readers might be forgiven for visualising a
one-legged man hopping free of the law, with his shirt in tatters. We
locals, long inured to our independent idiom, would more likely be looking
out for a fleet-footed desperado sporting a pair of jeans and a shirt
distinguished by stripes.
Advertisements can be equally misleading. For example, dozens of "decorders"
get advertised for sale. To the uninitiated their name suggests they could
be useful in wiping video recordings from tape. Would-be satellite
television viewers looking for decoders find only relatively few on offer.
But on the off-chance they could try the cellphone numbers associated with
the decorders.
Some addresses too suffer. In particular, Cameroon Street and Stonechart
Lane seem destined to remain forever thus - despite having been spared any
official change of name. Remarkably, this licence is even extended to
advertisements placed by the city council and, even more remarkably, by
people living or working in the premises involved.
Most readers are clearly not rocket scientists, which is just as well for we
have become used to being deluged with articles by columnists and letters
from readers telling us we don't need to be experts in propellants and
guidance systems to understand whatever is being set out.
A change of allegory here and there from correspondents and more
professionalism from newsroom incumbents would, I'm sure, be welcomed by
subscribers to a number of our newspapers.

Brian Ruff,


Zimbabwe back to stone age

Dear Editor

I READ with interest your article headed "Minister quashes rumour of
increased fuel prices" (Independent, April 12).
I have to say it made my heart sink as I read such comments as "Libya has
meanwhile continued to supply fuel to the country in exchange for national
I would express this in a more straightforward way by saying: "Libya has
meanwhile continued to supply fuel to the country via a barter system in
exchange for the assets of the people of Zimbabwe."
It's like "selling off the family silver", as we say in the UK!
The article goes on to confirm and compound the present barter system with:

"Chindori-Chininga said some of the fuel was being paid for through a beef
export deal..."
What this signals to people outside Zimbabwe is that the country is
practically an economic "basket case" and that it has all but abandoned
currency (as a means of trade utilised by humanity for over 2000 years) for
the alternative method of stone-age barter! A very sad state of affairs
And I wonder who brought such a fine country to this abyss?


UK Resident.

No value is too low for Zimdollar

Dear Editor,

I WISH to comment on Nhlanhla Nyathi's article (Independent, April 5) titled
"The rate at which authorities should devalue the dollar".
The article was very interesting as an academic study. However, your readers
should be clear on the assumptions as they are obviously not applicable to
Zimbabwe at this time, and the implied value for the dollar of $110 to the
US dollar is far out as a result. You only have to look at the actual value
of the dollar on the parallel market to see that the gap is too large to
explain on the basis of risk.
For those who have not read it, the article basically suggests that 1995 was
the last time our currency had a suitable value. It goes on to suggest that
making a few adjustments such as inflation since then would lead to this
figure. Now the real world doesn't work that way.
There are other factors which may play a part in determining the value of
the dollar. Some were rightly listed by the writer. I would add others. The
following factors have not been stable since 1995: Exports have been cut
dramatically. Food production has been reduced to a level where we need lots
of imports. Therefore a huge gap has been opened requiring us to either
export more or import less. The balance is normally struck by devaluing the
When looking for a fair price for export goods, customers look at
reliability, accountability to the customer, quality, delivery dates and
marketing. All of these play their part in determining the demand for our
products and the prices paid for them. This also has a bearing on the
exchange rate. If we want to create employment in the export sector, or even
at home, these features are paramount. Have any of these held steady since
1995 or improved recently? I cannot think of any that have.
Now to the immediate question of concern: What should the free market rate
for the Zimbabwe dollar actually be now? How should the authorities deal
with that?
If the forex market was free, it is very difficult to decide what figure
would apply. When a nation cannot balance the books, ie exports are too few
to pay for the needed imports, the currency drops to a level at which
exporters will be given a huge incentive to expand whilst imports are
This normally restores the balance over a period of six months to two years.
That is the normal case in stable political environments. An overdraft with
the IMF may be used to stabilise things in the meantime. That is to say, it
takes time for exports to expand to pay for current imports and an overdraft
can plug that gap.
Alternatively, you need to devalue heavily to kill off imports. This can be
extremely damaging as some imports are critical to the survival of some
In our case, and without the overdraft facility, there is no figure too low
to for the dollar to bring about this picture. There must be a figure of
course, but I cannot estimate it. The reason is that no matter how fast
horticulture and other exports may expand, we are destroying our other
exports at a faster rate than these exports can expand. In addition, we are
destroying our food base, thus increasing the demand for imports as well.
One of these things would be enough to cause chaos. We have done both!
The only way forward from here is to choose between a free market in which
the dollar is set at a level that balances supply and demand and a dual
priced market such as we have now whereby fuel and power are given priority
at the official exchange rate and the free market is openly available for
less important imports. Then this rate of exchange will settle at a level
that cuts off demand for imports to the level that we can afford.
What we urgently need to add to this is a greater incentive for exporters,
which means allowing them to play in the free market or parallel market for
all their export earnings as much as possible.
If this doesn't provide enough money for the purposes of gaining foreign
exchange to buy our fuel etc then our exporters need to be paid additional
sums in Zimbabwe dollars to expand. For example all their Zimbabwe dollar
costs could be paid by government, including wages.
These are desperate measures, but if we do not want these, short of
political solutions that bring in foreign assistance, who has a better
I think the government is using alternatives: namely selling the nation's
assets such as farms and businesses to Libya, and others are dealing in DRC
diamonds. I've heard that diamond money is abundant around Harare.
Peace in the DRC is probably a long way off. But this does little or nothing
for those of us who don't have diamonds to sell, does it?

    Cornered regime bent on settling scores

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Zim Independent - Opinion
Why the ANC is unmoved by killings, torture
By RW Johnson

ROBERT Mugabe's speeches at Zanu PF rallies held during his presidential
re-election campaign consisted, over and over again, of crude abuse of Tony
Blair, a hymn of hatred against British colonialism and an insistence that
his opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, was part of a British plot for the
recolonisation of Zimbabwe.

In his last speech, however, he sounded a new note: there was, he said, a
Western - and especially Anglo-American - plot to destroy Zanu PF and evict
it from power because it was a national liberation movement. If this plot
succeeded in Zimbabwe it would then be applied successively against all the
other ruling liberation movements in southern Africa.
Without doubt this is a conviction quietly shared by the ruling groups in
Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa and it goes far to explain
their reaction to the unfolding crisis in Zimbabwe. Had the Soviet Union not
abruptly collapsed and the Cold War ended, there is little doubt that
sentiments such as Mugabe's would have been heard from these leaders as they
greeted each visiting delegation from the USSR and the Eastern bloc.
This is, indeed, the great submerged motif behind the Zimbabwean crisis. The
world had changed so that Presidents Joachim Chissano, Sam Nujoma and Thabo
Mbeki find themselves, incongruously, hobnobbing with the Queen at
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings, rubbing shoulders with Bill Gates
at World Economic Summits and shaking hands with George W Bush at G8. It is
no longer politic to make ringing speeches in which all these liberation
movements are depicted as locked in a continuing, indeed endless, struggle
to the death against imperialism.
But this is not to say such notions have disappeared, merely that they have
become tacit, sotto voce. They remain almost the deepest beliefs such
leaders have, providing them from their earliest years with a heroic
definition of themselves and their movements and where they fit into the
grand sweep of history.
Since the eruption of the Zimbabwean crisis following Mugabe's defeat in the
constitutional referendum of February 2000, there have been repeated summit
meetings of the region's ruling national liberation movements (NLMs). Such
summits were not thought necessary until Mugabe's defeat opened up the
prospect that a ruling NLM might actually lose power. This nightmare could
only be explained by a fresh assault from imperialist forces, in which case
they were all threatened. Immediately, Mugabe's struggle to stay in power
became a struggle for their own survival too. Supporting Zanu PF was no
longer just a matter of solidarity but of fundamental self-interest.
It is this perspective which explains why Mbeki, though he might prefer
Mugabe to hand over to a younger man or constitute a government of national
unity, has been unwavering in his insistence that Zanu PF must retain power.
It is why the ANC will always regard Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC as a
lesser breed - at worst Inkatha-like puppets, at best the unintentional
dupes of imperialism. It is why the ANC is so wholly unmoved by all the
killings, torture, beatings and rapes inflicted on the MDC: such things
happen in the struggle against imperialism and the only solution is the
final triumph of national liberation.
It is also why most of the election observers sent by Mbeki were wholly
unbothered by such matters as ballot-stuffing by Zanu PF and the manufacture
of between 600 000 and one million bogus votes for Mugabe; why they were
unwilling to recognise Zanu PF thuggery even when they were the victims of
it themselves; and why they did not even stay for the ballot count. For they
had really gone on a mission of solidarity with Mugabe, not as impartial
observers at all. Their mission was to help cement him back in power and to
describe such a result as legitimate. The verdict that the election would
pass muster had been decided long before the observers set out.
The NLMs share what can only be termed a common theology. National
liberation is both the just and historically necessary conclusion of the
struggle between the people and the forces of racism and colonialism. This
has two implications. First, the NLMs - whatever venal sins they may
commit - are the righteous. They not merely represent the masses but in a
sense they are the masses, and as such they cannot really be wrong.
Secondly, according to the theology, their coming to power represents the
end of a process. No further group can succeed them for that would mean that
the masses, the forces of righteousness, had been overthrown. That, in turn,
could only mean that the forces of racism and colonialism, after sulking in
defeat and biding their time, had regrouped and launched a counter-attack.
Thus it follows that having won, a NLM should stay in power forever. Many
NLM true believers still favour a one-party state - even if it has become
impolitic to say so - for if other parties are allowed or encouraged to
compete with the NLM, they can only become the vehicles of imperialist
counter-attack. Hence the extraordinary self-righteousness, even now, of
Mugabe and the Zanu PF leadership. However much they kill and torture, they
are utterly convinced of their superior moral standing. They are the elect.
The only alternative to them, they believe, must be a return to British
colonialism - even though this requires a certain degree of mental
gymnastics, given the way in which British colonialism intervened in 1980 to
help get rid of Ian Smith and smooth Mugabe's way to power.
The real truth about the NLM governments is that they allow a corrupt elite
to cling to power indefinitely. The Zanu PF elite is now benefiting from
"blood diamonds" in a way which even King Leopold's ghost would admire.
None of the NLM governments shows much concern for their own poor and all of
them have lamentable records of delivery. In every country they govern life
expectancy is shrinking and living conditions are generally worsening. Not
surprisingly, this is leading to the rapid decay of the NLM culture - but
just as Karl Marx spoke of the uneven development of capitalism, so their
decay is uneven too. It has reached a terminal condition in Zimbabwe first,
and the other NLM governments are rushing to resurrect it. But the same
decline will gradually face them all.
This is, indeed, the awful warning in Mugabe's current predicament. If
ordinary black voters across southern Africa see Mugabe ejected from power
by his electorate, they will be electrified to face up to their own
self-righteous elites who are determined to rule and enrich themselves
forever in the name of liberation.
Prof RW Johnson is an author and journalist. This edited article first
appeared in Focus magazine.

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Zim Independent

Eximbank gives Airzim ultimatum
THE Export/Import Bank (Exim-bank) of the United States has given Air
Zimbabwe until April 30 to make good its debt of US$27,8 million or lose its

The Zimbabwe Independent reported last week that Air Zimbabwe's major
shareholder, the government, had reneged on its payments for the purchase of
two Boeing 767 aircraft. Payments were suspended in December 2000 and had,
by March 15 this year, accrued interest of US$1,67 million.

In an April 4 letter addressed to acting Air Zimbabwe managing director
Rambai Chingwena and Finance minister Simba Makoni, Eximbank said Air
Zimbabwe had failed to meet six payments of rent under the lease, equal to
US$26,15 million, resulting in the bank acquiring the rights of the aircraft
"If Eximbank does not receive the entire past due-to rent, together with
interest thereon, amounting to the sum of US$27,82 million by April 30 2002,
Eximbank will instruct the lessor to take all necessary and appropriate
action...which actions may include but are not limited to, termination of
the lease and requiring the immediate delivery of the aircraft," wrote Alice
McNutt Miller, managing director of the bank's asset monitoring and
restructuring division.
The Independent however understands that government has washed its hands of
the case and instructed Air Zimbabwe to make good the debt as it was a
commercial entity. - Staff Writer.

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Zim Independent

Chamber of Mines calls for devaluation
Godfrey Marawanyika

AS most of the country's mines battle to survive, the Zimbabwe Chamber of
Mines has appealed to the government to devalue the local currency to ensure
continuity for its members in the ailing precious metal industry.

The latest appeal comes against the backdrop of mine closures and
retrenchment in that sector over the past two years.
David Murangari, chief executive, said that due to various economic factors
that are prevailing in the country, devaluation alone would not be
sufficient to assist in the sector plight.
"The figure for devaluation which is necessary to ensure continuity of the
sector becomes very difficult because we are dealing with a host of factors
that are working against us," said Murangari.
"In that case the figure becomes very difficult maybe the dollar should be
devalued to 200 against the US, but under the circumstances, a much more
higher figure might be realistic since there are a lot of issues that have
to be looked into," he said.
Murangari said that although devaluation was necessary, he warned that if
not matched by other policy implementations, it won't work.
"Devaluation if not matched by other policy measures would not help the
situation at all," he said.
"Presently, mines are making losses, the support price is now in place, but
there is need for a right currency adjustment that is matched with other
policy measures."
Although most investors, including potential mining investors, had adopted a
cautious approach towards Zimbabwe before the presidential election, there
is hope that the sector would eventually improve.
Of major concern to the gold producers in the country is what many have
termed the prejudicial control of production.
"The major problem we are facing is that all our production is subjected to
prejudicial controls by the Reserve Bank who are only allowed to market the
gold on our behalf," said one senior executive in the gold sector.
Another official within the mining sector said that although their gold was
being sold at $98 compared to the official rate of $55, adding that this was
not enough the sector was sourcing inputs at between $300- $360 against the
"We are seeing a significant decline in gold production, we have been forced
to mine high grade ore to ensure continuity but this is very expensive."
Murangari said that despite the decline in the mining sector, foreign
investors have since shown their interest in development of the platinum
group metals.
"There are still some investors, but my projections are that growth would
come from platinum group metals," he said.
Hardest-hit by the decline was the gold producers who recently got a
temporary reprieve as they had their prices adjusted.
The yellow metal producers were greatly affected by the hedging of the local
currency against the green back yet most their equipment including the
explosive are imported.
The Zimbabwe dollar has been fixed at 55 to the US since November 2000, but
trades at between 335-355 on the parallel market.
Yellow metal output, which accounts for about 52% of total mining
production, dropped to 18 tones last year from 27,7 tones in 1999- thus a
34,9% drop over a period of two years.
The players also cited the withdrawal of exploration tax which is no longer
deductable as affecting their continuity. The withdrawal was done 18 months
ago by the government.
Murangari said as well as advocating for the devaluation, they have also
been meeting both the ministries of Mines, Finance and the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe to highlight their plight.
"So far we have had very good meetings, together we are working to address
the problems the sector is facing, the meetings have been so far successful
but urgent solutions are needed." he said.
However, prospects for a devaluation of the Zimbabwean currency appear
remote after the government indicated that there was no consensus on
Yellow metal producers have so far been kept afloat by the introduction of
floor price, which was raised to $29,280 an ounce last month, whilst
producers can also retain 40% of their foreign currency on all capital

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Zim Independent - Comment

Debate needed on role of 'revamped' judiciary
THE comments this week by Sternford Moyo, president of the Law Society of
Zimbabwe, regarding the independence of the judiciary are timely coming as
they do after last month's flawed election. He referred to a perception
among Law Society members that the government wanted to pack the Supreme
Court bench with its sympathisers despite undertakings given by ministers to
the International Bar Association during its visit to Zimbabwe in 2000.

There is already a pervasive perception that the Supreme Court bench has
been packed following the forced resignation of a number of judges from both
the Supreme Court and High Court. Several left after explicit threats to
their safety by ministers and war veterans. Others were demoralised by
racist abuse. Many were subject to both.

"The allegation that all white judges do not protect the rights of ordinary
Zimbabweans is unfair, defamatory and contemptuous," Moyo is reported to
have said. He also pointed to judgements, which had caused the Law Society
anxiety because they represented a significant departure from the culture of
upholding the Bill of Rights.

It is a matter of record that Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku sharply
criticised former Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay for advising people of their
rights in law. The Supreme Court, under his tenure, has recently denied
applicants rulings that would have reversed executive interventions with
regard to electoral procedures. In other cases residents who have been
denied their rights by arbitrary and dubious procedures of the
Registrar-General's Office have been unable to secure the court's protection
in having those rights restored.

It would not be too much to say that the Supreme Court has sided with the
executive in denying Zimbabweans the rights to which they are entitled under
the Constitution.

Judicial activism in defence of individual and collective rights, it seems,
has been replaced by complacency and in some instances what appears to be
sympathy with the ambitions of an overweening political leadership.

This is not a judiciary the public can be expected to respect. Judges must
be free of executive and ruling-party attachments if they are to perform
their constitutional duties. And they must be bold in their judgements.

That is not always the case in Zimbabwe today. The judicial tradition of
upholding constitutional rights established by Chief Justice Enoch
Dumbutshena and continued by Gubbay has been undermined by questionable
judgements over the past year. And it must be said, this was clearly the
intention of President Mugabe's ministers in purging the bench of
independent-minded judges.

The problem here is not one of simply upholding the law. The government has
proved adept at passing laws to fill loopholes in the legal system. Nazi
Germany and apartheid-South Africa built their repressive systems on legal
foundations. A judiciary attuned to
a rights-based culture should differentiate between good laws and bad laws
that vitiate laid-down rights.

Last year the Supreme Court gave the green light for government to proceed
with fast-track resettlement on the grounds that normalcy had been restored
on the farms. It reversed an earlier Supreme Court judgement in a process
that was itself questionable. Today, government supporters are proceeding
with evictions in open defiance of the law. The law has been made an ass -
with a little help from the courts.

The maintenance of an independent judiciary is fundamental to upholding the
rights and liberties of all Zimbabweans. The existence of a bench likely to
deny citizens their rights of redress will have a chilling effect on
democracy in general. Civil society will be discouraged from carrying out
its duties including advising people of their rights if it anticipates
rulings sympathetic to the hegemonic claims of the state. The present abuse
of power by those surrounding the president will similarly be encouraged by
the knowledge of a sympathetic hearing.

The recent taunts by ministers advising members of the opposition to test
their election loss in the courts advertises a conviction that they are
confident of judicial outcomes.

This is not only damaging to the rights of ordinary Zimbabweans, it tells
the world what sort of system we have in place.

The Law Society should urgently fulfil its duty of reporting on cases where
it feels the courts have been derelict in their duty. And it must take up
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa's invitation to criticise judicial

Presidential spokesman George Charamba was unrestrained in his comments this
week on Justice Moses Chinhengo's recent ruling ordering the police to stay
away from ZCTU council meetings. Despite assiduous attempts by the
President's Office to suggest a black/white divide, it is evident
independent black judges who uphold fundamental liberties are as much at
risk as the rest.

The need to open up the debate on the role of the judiciary extends to
organisations such as the Legal Resources Foundation and Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights which have been strangely silent when their voices should
be heard in identifying judicial miscarriages.

If, as looks likely, Zimbabwe's once-respected judiciary has been
transformed into a pliant instrument of executive power, that worrying
development needs scrutiny and suggested remedies by those involved in
upholding the integrity of the legal system.
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ZIMBABWE: 'Hasty deal will not end political crisis'

JOHANNESBURG, 18 April (IRIN) - Regional and international pressure to end
Zimbabwe's bitter political conflict may result in a hasty deal that could
undermine democratic principles, the International Crisis Group (ICG) has

As Zimbabwe marked 22 years of independence from Britian on Thursday,
President Robert Mugabe struck a conciliatory note in his address to the
nation. Talks between the ruling ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) are set to begin on 13 May under the stewardship of South
African and Nigerian facilitators.

However, concern has been raised that the intense regional and global
interest in finding a solution to the political impasse could result in a
deal that endorses an election many observers believe was flawed.

AFP reported on Thursday that Mugabe made fresh appeals for Zimbabweans to
unite in the wake of the disputed March election that returned him to power.

"Let us build our country, let us bury our differences. It is time to close
ranks ... time to grow, time to develop and time for the empowerment and
enrichment of our people, and this can only be done when a nation is
united," Mugabe reportedly told a rally attended by 40,000 people at a
sports stadium in Harare.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of severe food shortages and faces an economic

John Prendergast, co-director of the Africa programme of the ICG, told IRIN
on Thursday: "At some point well into the negotiations, one can imagine a
scenario where a plan is laid down and ZANU says they can live with it under
strong pressure from South Africa.

"Yet this plan could be absolutely unacceptable to the rank and file of the
MDC. The MDC leadership would be under intense pressure to make a decision,
either they alienate their rank and file or they stand on principle and risk
isolation regionally and internationally."

There was a recognition by the South Africans of the "enormous gulf" between
ZANU-PF and the MDC, he said. But they "appear to be focused on this for as
long as it takes, they have the confidence of President [Thabo] Mbeki and
President [Olusegun] Obasanjo".

The objective of the South African and Nigerian facilitators was to
immediately get dialogue going, said Prendergast "Only later will they start
to put forward potential compromises and positions both parties might be
able to move forward on. However, it's important that South Africa maintain
the objective of neutral facilitation."

It was inevitable, he said, that liberation movements throughout Southern
Africa, including the ANC, would have "issues" with the MDC's origins,
platform and composition.

Said Prendergast: "Not only is the model of a labour and civil society based
political party considered by some to be threatening on a political level,
[they] also have different views on how the region will move forward on
political and economic policies.

"Therefore, the starting point for the ANC-MDC relationship will be more
problematic than the starting point for the ANC-ZANU-PF relationship, which
is not all roses either."

Observers and role-players needed to be aware of the possibility of a
"diplomatic ambush" should a final plan be presented that is deeply flawed.

"Nobody wants to see this thing escalate with [consequent] reverberations
throughout the region. That would cause deterioration in investor confidence
and the economic climate. Everyone wants a solution, but the solution must
be based on [democratic] principles.

"We have a Commonwealth judgment on the election - echoed by the vast
majority of Zimbabwean [NGO/civil society] groups and the international
community with the exception of a few important governments and regional
groups in Africa - that these elections were not free and fair.

"Therefore, to ignore that and cobble together something that simply
legitimises a process that does not meet the minimum standards for
democracy, should not be the foundation for an agreement to end the
stalemate," Prendergast said.

Prendergast had on Wednesday attempted to enter Zimbabwe to hold discussions
with ZANU-PF and the MDC. However, when he arrived at Harare airport, police
and customs officials expelled him. Prendergast was a senior member of the
US State Department during Bill Clinton's presidency.

"I had spent time with key people in the South African government and the
[ruling African National Congress] ANC, talking about their negotiating
strategy, so I intended to speak to both sides [in Zimbabwe] about possible
compromises [that could be worked out in negotiations]," Prendergast said.

Prendergast's expulsion from Zimbabwe came after the editor of Zimbabwe's
Daily News, Geoff Nyarota, and South African newspaper Business Day's
correspondent, Dumisani Muleya, were arrested and charged with abuse of
journalistic privilege. A conviction on the charge could mean a two-year
jail term under the new Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

On Wednesday police used the same legislation to charge another editor, Iden
Wetherell of the Zimbabwe Independent, AFP reported.


Tel: +27 11 880-4633
Fax: +27 11 447-5472

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April 19, 2002
Govt has double standards on Israel and Zimbabwe - DA

from the Democratic Alliance

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs owes the South African public an explanation
for its protest against the arrest of Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti.

Barghouti is the leader of Yasser Arafat's organisation Fatah in the West
Bank. Fatah includes the Al Aqsa Brigades and Tanzim. The Al Aqsa Brigades
and Tanzim kill civilians. Members of these terrorist organisations are
evading arrest by hiding in the Church of the Nativity, believed to be the
birthplace of Christ. Has Foreign Affairs considered the fact that SA is
overwhelmingly Christian? Has it conducted any talks with the Palestinian
Ambassador to discuss the Palestinian response to the Israeli offer of exile
or jail for the militias occupying the Church of the Nativity?

Foreign Affairs has conveyed its concern for the fate of Barghouti to the
Israeli Ambassador in South Africa, as well as to the Spanish government in
its capacity as current chairman of the EU.

Simultaneously, SA is blocking a Spanish resolution, against human rights
violations by militias in Zimbabwe, at the Human Rights Commission in
Geneva. By resisting the Human Rights Commission's attempt to send a
rapporteur to Zimbabwe, Zimbabweans already robbed of the protection of the
courts are left defenceless.

The only consistent position the SA government seems to take is one in
favour of lawless militias and terrorists, instead of a consistent position
on the abuse of human rights, from whatever source.

The DA does not take the view that the SA government's earlier meeting with
the Israeli Ambassador on the subject of sanctions against Israel was
necessarily hypocritical given its anti-sanctions stance on Zimbabwe. It
appeared to be advisory, and concerns its difficulties with Arab pressure in
the Non Aligned Movement, which SA currently

We do take the view that the government should stiffen its spine against
pressure, external and internal, and that sanctions against Israel would be
wrong from every point of view. Among other considerations, they would
reduce even further SA's remaining
influence with Israel, which must have suffered damage from the anti-Israeli
World Conference against Racism in Durban last year and from the
pro-Palestinian positions repeatedly taken by the Tripartite Alliance. The
protest about Marwan Barghouti sits squarely in that tradition and is at
odds with President Mbeki's statesmanlike congratulations to Israel on its
54th birthday yesterday - and with his position on terrorism.

But South Africans have the right to expect their government to show more
principle and consistency than is presently on display.

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--> Zim Independent

Confusion over army deployment
Abeauty Mangezi

THE Zimbabwe Defence Forces has denied that troops were called onto the
streets during the foiled public march organised by the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) two weeks ago. But its response is bound to
compound confusion as to who exactly ordered them out.

People were assaulted as soldiers joined police in preventing marchers from
In a statement to the Zimbabwe Independent, Defence spokesman Colonel
Mbonisi Gatsheni said there was no military deployment in the country over
the weekend in question (April 5/6).
"There is no war in Zimbabwe now, and as such, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces
(ZDF) are not deployed anywhere in the country in their full capacity as the
military," said Gatsheni in a written response on April 12.
"Therefore all incidents of ZDF deployment in this country now are not
deployments of the army or airforce but deployments in support of certain
government ministries."
Gatsheni referred all questions on army deployment during peacetime to the
National or Provincial Joint Operations Centres (JOCs), which fall under the
Zimbabwe Republic Police.
On April 5/6 the army went around Harare and major towns throughout the
country beating up people indiscriminately. The police, which is entrusted
with the maintenance of law and order, distanced itself from the involvement
of the army in law enforcement in a statement to the Independent last week.
Gatsheni said deployments in support of certain government ministries could
include Home Affairs (ZRP) and Lands and Agriculture, among others.