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

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Fury at Zuma's dismissal of Zimbabwe terror

      April 20 2003 at 01:56PM

      By Brian Latham

Harare - South Africa's inaction over the Zimbabwe crisis is being
increasingly condemned by both the opposition and ordinary Zimbabweans.
After Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the foreign minister, recently said there had
been "movement" in the right direction in Zimbabwe, the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) said her comments were "unhelpful".

Tensions were further heightened when South Africa blocked a United Nations
vote condemning human rights abuses in the troubled country. Dlamini-Zuma
says the Zimbabwe government has vowed to ease draconian laws and make peace
by offering farms back to evicted white farmers. But the laws she referred
to, the much-slated public order and security act (Posa) and the access to
information and privacy act (Aipa) remain unchanged.

Posa is used routinely to arrest opposition MDC officials.

Paul Themba Nyathi, the MDC spokesperson, says that all but four of his
party's national executive have been arrested since February 2000.

In direct contradiction to Dlamini-Zuma's claim, Patrick Chinamasa,
Zimbabwe's hardline justice minister, has said his government sees no reason
to amend Posa, saying the law is necessary to control those intent on
destabilising Zimbabwe.

And harsh press laws in Aipa, the brainchild of Jonathan Moyo, the
information minister, also remain unchanged.

Journalists from Zimbabwe's beleaguered independent press remain largely
unaccredited and subject to indiscriminate harassment at the hands of police
and shadowy state agents from Mugabe's notorious Central Intelligence

Dlamini-Zuma's claim that white farmers have been offered back land has been
dismissed by farmers, hundreds of whom are sitting idle in Harare.

A Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) farm association chairperson from the
violence-plagued Mashonaland West province said: "There was a memorandum of
agreement, but the CFU wanted certain conditions regarding violence,
evictions and human rights abuses put in writing and signed by the
agriculture minister. Nothing has been forthcoming, so the whole thing is
just sitting. Any farmer who went back without written guarantees would be
mad after everything that's happened in the last three years.

"If the government isn't prepared to give those guarantees, it seems obvious
to us that they're not serious about all this, it's just being done to
placate foreigners," he said.

It is Posa that has wreaked the most havoc on Zimbabwe's civil society. The
law makes it illegal to ridicule Mugabe or cause "feelings of hostility"
towards the police.

A recent spate of arrests directed at MDC leaders after last month's mass
action was conducted mainly under Posa. And despite widespread proof of
torture and violence, Dlamini-Zuma has dismissed the abuse as
"overzealousness" on the part of Zimbabwe's security forces.

Her glib dismissal of hundreds of cases of torture drew real anger from
torture victims and civil society in Zimbabwe.

"I doubt Zuma would describe it as overzealous if she was whipped with
barbed wire or raped with an AK47 barrel," said Temba Chituwu, who fled his
home in Harare's western Kuwadzana township after soldiers began imposing
curfews on the MDC stronghold. - Foreign Service
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            Zimbabwe considers banned insecticide in malaria fight
            April 20, 2003, 14:30

            Stanley Midzi, the head of Zimbabwe's disease prevention and
control programme, says Zimbabwe is considering using the controversial
malaria insecticide, DDT. He says they will be applying to be exempted from
the Stockholm Convention which Zimbabwe is a signatory. The Stockholm
Convention banned the use of DDT for agricultural and public health

            Mdiza says the use of DDT will ease financial difficulties
because DDT has a longer residual effect compared to pyrethrodes that they
are using.

            More than 1,5 million people contract the disease every year in
Zimbabwe, claiming 1500 lives annually.

            Meanwhile, the South African Race Against Malaria Rally team,
which embarked on its journey two weeks ago, described its local leg of the
awareness campaign as very successful. The rally, which has passed through
Zimbabwe and Zambia, is on its final phase on its was to Dar-es-salaam where
Africa Malaria Day will be commemorated.
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        'Life was better in Rhodesia'

            April 20 2003 at 01:56PM

            By Basildon Peta

      Michael Gwanda had never contemplated the day he would say life under
the white minority government of Rhodesia was far better and much more
affordable than under black majority rule.

      Having experienced the worst excesses of the Ian Smith regime as it
tried to ward off Robert Mugabe's guerrillas in the late seventies, Gwanda,
56, says it pains him to confront the reality that he is now worse off than
at independence in 1980.

      "Ian Smith was indisputably a cruel man. He killed thousands of
freedom fighters, but he was a better manager of the economy than [Prime
Minister Robert] Mugabe. The facts speak for themselves," Gwanda says.

      He recalls that on the eve of Zimbabwe's independence in 1980 he
earned 12 Rhodesian pounds a month. But he could send his three children to
school and rent decent accommodation in a middle-class suburban area. He
never ran short of food. Today he lives in the slum suburb of Highfield.

      When Zimbabwe had its first fuel crisis in 1982 after the Zimbabwe
dollar had already lost about 20 percent of its value against the US dollar,
Gwanda could forgive the new government. "He [Mugabe] was investing in free
education and free health care. He also had thousands of comrades to look
after. So we never anticipated the worst. We hoped things would recover," he

      But 23 years after independence, Gwanda, a professional mechanic, now
finds himself far worse off than he was in 1980. It was therefore no
surprise that instead of celebrating his country's 23rd independence
anniversary, he chose to join an anti-Mugabe protest. A week before the
anniversary, he had to flee his country, fearing for his life, and seek
refuge in Hillbrow, Johannesburg.

      Other Zimbabweans who gathered at the Union Buildings in Pretoria with
Gwanda for the anti-Mugabe march to the nearby embassy also had stories to
tell about why they had fled.

      In Zimbabwe itself, the atmosphere was subdued. Most shunned the
independence celebrations at the sports stadiums across the 10 provinces of
Zimbabwe. Those who trickled into the main National Sports Stadium in Harare
as Mugabe delivered his keynote speech were mostly coming for the free
soccer match between the country's top two teams. - Foreign Service
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Sydney Morning Herald

Zimbabwe judge finds in his own favour
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
April 21 2003

A senior Zimbabwean judge has secretly grabbed a prize white-owned farm in
the heart of the nation's richest land.

The discovery came as President Robert Mugabe, in a defiant speech to mark
23 years of independence, congratulated his people on regaining their land
from white farmers.

Judge Paddington Garwe seized Mount Lothian farm in the Enterprise area. It
was owned by C.G.Tracey, one of the first white farmers to embrace
Zimbabwe's independence from Britain in 1980.

Judge Garwe is Judge President of the High Court, the second highest judge
in the country. He is presiding over the treason trial of Morgan Tsvangirai,
leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Former neighbours said Mr Tracey, in his 80s, had refused to discuss his
eviction, fearing reprisals. He left Zimbabwe on holiday on Friday.

Judge Garwe said through his secretary that he would respond to written
questions after Easter. He was appointed Judge President two years ago after
Mr Mugabe's purge of independent jurors who had, until then, ruled that the
land grab and eviction of white farmers were illegal.

In his speech on Friday Mr Mugabe said Western opposition to his seizure of
white-owned farms for landless blacks was part of a drive to keep the Third
World poor.

"Africa is for Africans and Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans ... Our land, our
dear Zimbabwe will never again fall into foreign hands. Never, never, never
again will Zimbabwe be a colony," he said to loud applause from 20,000
supporters in a stadium in Harare draped in posters reading: "Zimbabwe is
our motherland."

The seizure, believed to have happened last month, is the latest in the
Enterprise farming area, about 30 kilometres east of Harare. The region is
occupied by more members of the ruling elite - cabinet ministers, senior
members of the Zimbabwe National Army and the Central Intelligence
Organisation - than any other of the former commercial farming districts.

Of the 66 white commercial farmers originally in the district fewer than a
dozen are left.
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Zimbabwean activist 'dies after torture'

Andrew Meldrum in Harare
Monday April 21, 2003
The Guardian

A member of Zimbabwe's opposition has died as a result of police torture,
according to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Tonderai Machiridza, 32, died after six days in police custody, according to
the MDC, which issued photographs of the unconscious Machiridza being
carried to hospital.

Armed police took him from his home in Chitungwiza, on April 13. Three other
MDC members were also arrested in Chitungwiza that day, accused of having
taken a pair of handcuffs from a police officer during the national strike
organised by the opposition party on March 18 and 19.

The four were allegedly assaulted by police using truncheons, handcuffs and
booted feet. Machiridza was bleeding and complained of a severe headache
before he fell unconscious, said witnesses.

Two others in his group suffered a broken arm and a broken leg, according to
the MDC. Police took Machiridza to Chitungwiza hospital where he was chained
to his bed and received rudimentary care. Last Wednesday, a court
investigation at his hospital bed resulted in an order that Machiridza
should be released to receive proper medical attention. The court also
ordered an investigation into the allegations of torture.

Machiridza died on Friday, the 23rd anniversary of Zimbabwe's independence.

"The fact that he died on our Independence Day is symbolic of the death of
all our freedoms and our rights," said an MDC spokesman, Paul Themba Nyathi.

The MDC claims that 600 of its supporters have been tortured in police
custody this year. At least four MDC members of parliament say they were
tortured by police inflicting electric shocks. Independent medical
examinations have confirmed injuries consistent with their accounts.

Reports of the death highlighted the grim mood over the Easter holiday, in
which Zimbabweans suffered food and fuel shortages. Inflation has hit 228%
and unemployment 70%, pushing four-fifths of the population below the
poverty line.

Roman Catholic bishops issued an Easter letter denouncing Robert Mugabe's
government for committing gross human rights abuses while the population
goes hungry.
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The Star - letter

      Letting Mugabe get away with it
      April 21, 2003

      One wonders why our President's office always seems to feel a bit edgy
about criticism of the ANC's stand on Zimbabwe, which is well known by
everybody ("Criticism should be rejected with contempt", Letters, March 26).

      It has been crystallised by our own Foreign Minister Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma, "We will never condemn Zimbabwe", meaning of course Mugabe and
his Zanu-PF thugs.

      The secretary-general of the Commonwealth announced continuation of
targeted Commonwealth sanctions against Mugabe and his cronies.

      Mbeki wanted them declared ended! Now who is right? If Mbeki's quiet
diplomacy is the right method - shouldn't we have seen a vast improvement in
the Zimbabwe situation, better regard for human rights, an end to the
systematic use of terror and intimidation of political opponents by Zanu-PF
and so on?

      It is pointless Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma saying that "Zimbabweans must
sit down together and work things out".

      How can one negotiate if the other fellow is holding a brick or an
AK-47 over your head!

      JW Chambers
      Farrarmere, Benoni
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Anger at UN role for rights violators

Ewen MacAskill, diplomatic editor
Monday April 21, 2003
The Guardian

Human rights organisations are protesting at the inclusion of countries with
some of the worst records of abuses on a list of candidates for election to
the main United Nations watchdog.
North Korea, Iran and Nigeria are likely to win membership of the UN
Commission on Human Rights in an election either at the end of this month or
early next. Egypt is another candidate and, even though its abuses are not
on the same scale as the others, it has been conducting a vigorous campaign
against homosexuals.

The chair of the commission, which is holding its annual meeting in Geneva,
is held at present by Libya, another member with a list of deplorable

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are among the organisations
which are complaining that the inclusion of these countries makes a mockery
of the organisation, and are urging reform of the process.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch described the list of candidate
countries as "a Who's Who of the worst human rights abusers."

Seeking re-election are other countries with poor records: Saudi Arabia,
Cuba, Russia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The body has a membership of 53, each serving a two-year term. It catalogues
human rights abuses, investigates claims and puts pressure on governments to

A group of countries with poor records can block or slow the work of the

Other members seeking election this year are Eritrea, Mauritania, Bhutan,
Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, Qatar, Hungary, the Dominican Republic,
Honduras, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal.

Seeking re-election are Britain, Costa Rica, Guatemala, India, Peru, South
Africa and Thailand.

Amnesty International said it would like to see a benchmark set for
membership: each candidate would have to ratify guarantees of basic human
rights and open its borders to investigators.

Melinda Ching, a spokeswoman for Amnesty, said that without such a
benchmark, the signal being sent out was that the commission "lures those
countries that have been under the body's spotlight - North Korea, Iran -
into gaining membership to the UN's supreme human rights body for the very
purpose of deflecting criticism of each other's human rights situations".

The problem for the UN is that if it was to apply such a strict benchmark,
relatively few countries could stand for election. While deploring their
records, the UN believes there is a better chance of changing these
countries if they are included rather than excluded.

North Korea has no right of free speech or religion, and carries out public
executions. It also known for extensive use of torture. Executions are
commonplace in Iran, and Nigeria was in the spotlight last year over the
stoning of women under sharia law for alleged infidelity.

Already on the commission are Zimbabwe, whose government has been
terrorising its political opponents, and Sudan, another country where human
rights are regularly abused.

Michael Cashman, the British MEP, yesterday accused Egypt of seeking to
block a new UN declaration against discrimination on grounds of sexual
orientation that is being put forward at the Geneva meeting.

Mr Cashman said: "Not only does the Egyptian government openly and
repeatedly violate human rights through their entrapment and torture of
homosexuals, but now they are lobbying countries in the UN to allow these
medieval attitudes to sexuality to continue."
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Daily News

      Stephen Nkomo dies

      4/21/03 6:44:39 AM (GMT +2)

      By Columbus Mavhunga

      STEPHEN Jeqe Nyongolo Nkomo, 77, the Matabeleland South Governor and
Resident Minister, has died.

      Nkomo passed away at Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo yesterday. He had
been ill and in and out of hospital for a long time.

      A relative yesterday said: "The governor died around midday today at
Mater Dei Hospital. He had been ill for quite some time now."

      Zanu PF's national chairman, John Nkomo, in announcing the death, said
the ruling party was saddened by Nkomo's passing.

      A younger brother to the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo, Stephen was
born on 3 October 1926 in Matobo District.

      He did his primary education at Emaphandeni School, about 30km south
of Plumtree.

      In the 1950s he went to South Africa where he worked.

      During his stay in South Africa, he became involved in politics and
espoused Pan-Africanism at a time when the African National Congress of
South Africa was fighting against apartheid.

      Upon his return to Zimbabwe in the 1960s, he became actively involved
in nationalist politics. When Zapu was banned in September 1962, Nkomo was
one of the officials who were sent to represent the party in Cairo, Egypt,
and later in Algeria.

      He was subsequently appointed the party's secretary for projects at
the PF Zapu headquarters in Lusaka, Zambia.

      He was responsible for co-ordinating the party's non-military

      When Zimbabwe attained independence in 1980, he was elected Member of
Parliament for Matobo and briefly served as the Deputy Minister of Foreign

      In 2000, President Mugabe appointed Nkomo the Governor and Resident
Minister for Matabeleland South.

      Yesterday, one war veteran and historian who was with Nkomo in the
liberation struggle said of his death: "It is really a tragic loss. He was a
highly committed African nationalist.

      "He always preferred negotiation and dialogue to conflict and

      Nkomo is survived by two daughters and several grandchildren.

      Mourners are gathered at No 7 Humewood Drive, Woodlands, in Bulawayo
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Daily News

      Chitungwiza pair claim they were beaten up by soldiers

      4/21/03 7:06:43 AM (GMT +2)

      Court Reporter

      TWO Chitungwiza men are languishing in remand prison after they were
allegedly assaulted by soldiers in St Mary's three weeks ago and taken to a
police station where they were implicated in a robbery case.

      Michael Munemo, 29, of Zengeza 2, and Never Lafu, 42, of St Mary's,
related their ordeal at the hands of the soldiers when they appeared for a
bail appeal at the High Court.

      Justice George Smith last Thursday postponed the hearing on their bail
application to 28 April when the prosecution is expected to produce a
medical report on the alleged assaults.

      Munemo said he was assaulted by soldiers while on his way to
Chigovanyika shopping centre in St Mary's on 25 March.

      "I was passing by when I saw soldiers beating up people including the
man who is my co-accused now," Munemo told the court.

      "Out of curiosity, I asked why the soldiers were assaulting the

      He said this angered the soldiers who beat him up.

      They were instead driven to the police station where the they were
charged with robbery.

      He showed the court the injuries he sustained during the assault.

      "I have never committed any crime in my life and I don't even know
this man who is now my co-accused," said a teary-eyed Munemo.

      He said he worked for a Harare-based tobacco company contrary to the
statement on the request for remand form, compiled by the police, which
states that he is unemployed.

      "I am my family's sole breadwinner and I never committed the offence
for which I am appearing before this court," Munemo said.

      "I was just passing by when I saw soldiers beating up people and I
have a document which shows the people who committed this offence."

      The State's case is that Munemo and Lafu who were in the company of
three other people, raided worshippers attending a church service along the
banks of Manyame River.

      They allegedly attacked the worshippers while their colleagues broke
into the complainants' cars and stole various goods including money,
cellphones and clothes.
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Daily News

      Police watched as war vets assaulted farmer, court told

      4/21/03 7:10:09 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo

      SEVEN policemen watched helplessly as five war veterans assaulted an
Inyathi commercial farmer, David Joubert, a Bulawayo magistrate heard last

      The war veterans, who pleaded not guilty, appeared before Magistrate
Ntombizodwa Mukondiwa on charges of assault with intent to cause grievous
bodily harm.

      They were remanded out of custody on free bail to 2 May.

      Prosecutor, Clato Sikwila Moyo said the accused, Daniel Ntini, Major
Masuku, Luke Tshuma, Zenzo Ndlovu and Kenneth Ndlovu, went to Joubert's farm
in Inyathi and questioned him about shootings that had occurred at the farm.

      Ntini allegedly proceeded to punch Joubert while the others assaulted
him with sticks and knobkerries.

      One of them, Kenneth Ndlovu, allegedly used a hammer resulting in
Joubert sustaining serious injuries for which he was treated at Inyathi
District Hospital.

      Jourbert told the court that he was at his farm having a discussion
with CID officers who were conducting investigations, when Ntini, Tshuma and
Ndlovu drove to the property.

      A few minutes later, the officer-in-charge of Inyathi police, Ignatius
Chikombero, arrived in the company of two other war veterans.

      The accused then entered Jourbert's office and told him that they had
come "to finish him off".

      Kenneth Ndlovu threatened to kill him, Joubert said.

      Zenzo Ndlovu allegedly poked his face with a stick.

      The rest then pounced on him and started assaulting him while seven
policemen watched helplessly.

      He was rescued from further assaults when Chikombero, who was outside
Joubert's office, came in.
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Daily News

      Villagers say no to Zanu PF extortion

      4/21/03 7:13:11 AM (GMT +2)

      From Oscar Nkala in Bulawayo

      VILLAGERS at Irisvale Resettlement Scheme in Umzingwane District
resisted demands by Zanu PF for each family to contribute $2 500 towards an
independence celebration party.

      The party, which was held at Longfield business centre on Independence
Day, was a low-key affair as most people did not turn up for the event,
fearing retribution from war veterans.

      Irisvale is one of the resettlement schemes set up at Carmien and
Amazon farms near Mbalabala by the government in 1980.

      It has 12 villages, each with an average of 30 homesteads.

      War veterans who resettled themselves at Amazon and Mziki are alleged
to have sent orders that each homestead should pay $2 500 towards the
hosting of the party.

      Nkosikhona Mpunzi, of Village 8, said they refused to make the
contributions despite threats of violence by war veterans.

      Said Mpunzi: "In the past, we paid freely for these celebrations. But
who in these hard times can raise $2 500 for such festivities when there is
so much hunger? I would rather use that money to buy maize-meal, if I can
get it."

      Another villager, Musawenkosi Masango of Village 2, said they were
also infuriated to learn that the war veterans themselves were only
contributing $500 each for the same party.

      "The low rate which they set for themselves made us feel like we were
being ripped off. The threats of violence against those who failed to pay
also hardened our resolve against being bullied into accepting this daylight

      All the villagers who refused to pay did not attend the celebrations.

      A woman at the Zanu PF district offices at Esigodini who answered a
phone call by The Daily News said she was not in a position to comment in
the absence of senior party provincial officials.

      "I cannot comment except to say that those are lies coming from people
who hate to see an independent Zimbabwe," she said.

      "You people of the independent media are sell-outs and enemies of the
State. That is why you believe such things. What is wrong with contributing
to celebrate your country's independence? Do you want that money to come
from Britain?"
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Daily News - Leader Page

      Teachers must refuse to be used

      4/21/03 6:41:20 AM (GMT +2)

      Reports that some teachers in Mutare district are being forced to join
a newly formed teachers' union which has close links to Zanu PF are very

      Coercion has never been regarded as the best way of enlisting support.
This is clearly one of the desperate attempts by the ruling party to canvass
for support.

      It would be very unfortunate for a professional body to be openly
politicised and teachers should not allow themselves to be used as pawns by
a political party that has lost its power base yet claims to be in full

      The politicisation of a teachers' union will inevitably rub on to the
education system itself and the students will be the ultimate losers.

      Although Zanu PF's Mutare district co-ordinator, Willard Tsvande, has
denied that teachers are being forced to join the new union, several
teachers who spoke to this paper have confirmed that they have been ordered
to join the Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe.

      Tsvande is reported to have told teachers that their grievances would
only be addressed if they joined the new union which has the full backing of
Zanu PF.

      Some of the teachers said the new union also has the support of war

      They said they had been ordered to terminate their membership with the
two existing associations - the Zimbabwe Teachers' Association and the
Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe.

      One teacher said the government regarded both the PTUZ and Zimta as
pro-MDC because they were affiliated to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions, the power base of the Morgan Tsvangirai-led opposition party.

      Unconfirmed reports say those who are promoting the new association
are targeting schools that are suspected to have teachers who are
sympathetic to the MDC.

      Teachers should remain united and must never allow their profession to
be undermined by selfish and overly-ambitious politicians.
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Daily News - Leader Page

      Government should announce new fares

      4/21/03 6:42:48 AM (GMT +2)

      By Cathy Buckle

      We have just seen Zimbabwe's 23rd anniversary of Independence and what
a dismal birthday party it has been! There was no flour, sugar, milk or
margarine with which to make a cake.

      We couldn't afford the candles to decorate the non-existent

      There wasn't any petrol to deliver the mythical cake to the
party-goers, and when we looked for alternative party food like bread or
maize-meal there was none of that either.

      When the official hosts of the party realised that it was going to be
a pretty meagre celebration without food or guests, they sent their henchmen
and henchwomen around our homes.

      Rattling on gates, banging on doors, demanding we each pay $500
towards the celebration. If we didn't have the money or didn't want to pay,
our names were taken off food distribution lists.

      They had to harass us because there aren't any white farmers left for
them to go and demand beef, pork or milk from as they have done for the past
two years.

      And the gift that our government gave us, so that we would never
forget our 23rd birthday, was to increase the price of petrol from $145 to
$450 a litre!

      Happy birthday, Zanu PF! Let's have a quick look at what you've
achieved since you turned 20 because you've had a very busy three years.

      Three million of your citizens are living in exile. Inflation is 288
percent, unemployment is 80 percent, eight million people haven't got any
food to eat, 3 000 people are dying of Aids every week and there are over a
million Aids orphans in your country.

      You took all the land from productive farmers and gave it to your
friends and officials and left 300 000 farm workers destitute and starving.

      You chased away all the professionals that your institutions had
trained - nurses, doctors, lawyers, vets, teachers and engineers.

      You've crippled the hospitals and left them without medicines and
equipment and caused 50 percent of companies to close or relocate to other

      You've crippled the schools, colleges and universities by making the
fees, uniforms and books so expensive that now our children just beg on the

      You made us prisoners of our own country by making us wait seven years
for metal identity discs and two years for Zimbabwean passports.

      And while the President, Cabinet and Zanu PF were remembering the men
and women who died in the struggle for freedom in 1980, most of us were
remembering those who have died for freedom since 2000.

      We were remembering Onias Mashaya, Tichaona Chiminya, Peter and Howard
Kariza, Talent Mabika, David Stevens, Patrick Nabanyama, Martin and Gloria
Olds, Felix Zava, Matthew Pfebve, Alan Dunn, Zeke Chigagura, Terry Ford and
Itayi Maguwa.

      These and almost 200 other men and women died gruesome and violent
deaths in the last three years. The murderers still walk free and
unpunished, but the victims have not been forgotten.

      While the President and government were remembering past heroic deeds
of fallen comrades, we were thinking how uneasy the spirits and ancestors of
those men and women must be as they look back on the country they gave their
lives for.

      What must they think when they see the chaos, misery and suffering in
the land they died to free from oppression?

      Through the misery of what has become our daily lives, Zimbabweans
have so much to be thankful for at our 23rd Independence anniversary.

      We are indebted to the exceptionally brave men and women of the MDC
who literally risk their lives every day for us.

      We give thanks to the lawyers, magistrates and judges who continue to
make fair rulings for us.

      We applaud the journalists, photographers and editors who tell the
truth at great risk for us.

      We praise the teachers who continue to try and educate our children
under appalling conditions and the nurses and doctors who work without drugs
and equipment to save our lives.

      We take our hats off to the handful of commercial farmers who tolerate
outrageous abuses every day in order to grow food for us.

      We thank the men and women of Short Wave Radio Africa who may no
longer come home because they chose to inform us.

      We have a lot to be thankful for, because without all these
exceptionally brave people Zimbabwe would not be the great nation in waiting
that it is.
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Daily News

      CFU membership drops

      4/21/03 6:37:49 AM (GMT +2)

      By Takaitei Bote

      THE once vibrant Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU), says its membership
has dropped from more than 4 300 to about 1 800 with only 1 000 farmers
still in active farming which has seen production being reduced by 50

      CFU president, Colin Cloete, said while the CFU membership was about 1
800, only about 1 000 farmers were able to farm on a small-scale basis.

      In a letter addressed to Justice for Agriculture, a radical farmers'
group, Cloete said: "Results of a recent survey show that there are 1 824
paid up members of CFU, but only approximately 1 000 are farming, but not
necessarily living on their farms or even farming their own farms, but

      The government has in the past two years issued eviction notices to
thousands of commercial farmers as part of its land reform programme.

      A farmer who declined to be named for fear of victimisation said
yesterday: "What is
      happening on the farms now is signalling an end to commercial farming.

      "The few farmers whose farms have not been acquired are doing very
little farming because of disturbances caused by settlers who want to occupy
all farms."

      The farmer, who used to be chairman of a CFU commodity association,
said his only farm had been taken and he was now a farm manager for a
commercial beef business whose operations were also shaky due to settler

      He said the bulk of the farmers still farming were living in towns and
production had been cut by more than 50 percent.

      While President Mugabe has told the international community that
single farm owners would not be targeted, 95 percent of commercial farms
have been compulsorily acquired by the government.

      Talks between the CFU and the government on the way forward, have been
stalled after the government attacked the union as an "irrelevant
organisation representing unrepentant Rhodie farmers and other lawlessness
elements that are bent on becoming a law unto themselves".

      This followed a letter written by the CFU to Minister of Lands,
Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Dr Joseph Made, early this month.

      The CFU had said in the letter: "In light of these talks, and in line
with the statement announcing the end of the fast track land reform
programme, it was expected that the continuation of Section 5 listings, the
issuing of Section 8s and aggressive pursuance of evictions, would have

      "Instead, many commercial farmers have been forced off their farms
under duress by lawless elements, with total disregard to the legal process
and standing crops remain continually under threat.

      "After numerous representations to various ministries and police
officials to address these problems, the selective application of the law

      A Section 5 order is a preliminary notice of acquisition while Section
8 deals with compulsory acquisition .

      While the government has blamed poor weather for the food crisis
experienced for the past two years, massive reductions in commercial crop
production and livestock numbers, has contributed to the serious food
shortages the country is experiencing.

      "Prices of beef, chicken and pork have been skyrocketing because of
shortages on the market as many commercial farmers are not producing," the
farmer said.

      The commercial beef herd is said to have fallen from 1,3 million three
years ago to about 200 000 head of cattle.
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Daily News - letters

      Mugabe abusing funerals

      4/21/03 6:45:46 AM (GMT +2)

      President Mugabe has taken advantage of funerals to utter vitriol
directed at the opposition, the British, the Americans and all his critics.

      A country that claims to be independent is on the forefront in
starving its own people and go on to blame the opposition for the declining

      What boggles my mind - including those of millions of voiceless
citizens - is that only Zanu PF apologists are beneficiaries of the chaotic
land reform programme. The government's allocation of a piece of land to
Welshman Ncube (a senior member of the MDC) was used as cover-up to hoodwink
the international community into believing that the exercise was

      It remains in the minds of many that suspected opposition members were
disqualified from getting land under unclear circumstances.

      All ruling party gurus have grabbed most of the commercial farms
acquired by the government, while other "pawns" were allocated unfenced,
poor land with a poor resource injection, or none at all.

      Even though the government introduced the input credit input scheme,
only a few of the new farmers accessed the scheme owing to lack of

      I suggest that Jonathan Moyo uses his intelligence - which he is
believed to be armed with - to introduce new information dissemination
avenues like community radio stations.

      President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa took the infamous "diplomatic"
stance on the Zimbabwe crisis. The recent formation of the Movement for the
Landless People of South Africa has now put pressure on Mbeki to assess the
Zimbabwe crisis.

      A potentially explosive era looms in South Africa, knowing the high
crime rate in that country.

      I urge leaders to stop abusing the masses in a desperate bid to
further their political careers. Put an end to torture, police brutality,
arbitrary arrests and human rights abuses or risk mass uprisings!

      Frank Chikowore
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Daily News - Feature

      A president requires ears more than education

      4/21/03 6:51:42 AM (GMT +2)

      By Tanonoka Hwande

      The job of being a president is a dud.

      I have watched people from bus drivers to medical doctors in Africa do
it. From illiterates to lawyers, carpenters, peasants and boy soldiers. I
have seen schoolteachers, rebels without any causes, farmers and ex-convicts
become presidents. Anyone can do it. From army generals, murderers and
embezzlers to poets, bishops and, ah, even my own brethren, journalists!
They have all ruled an African country at one time or other.

      The job of being president does not need academic qualifications. It's
safe to say post-high school education can be an added disadvantage. Why
waste time going to school when you can be president?

      What kind of job is this that does not need any education and,
definitely, does not want to see experience anywhere near it?

      But the educated people and the so-called professionals fail to do it
right not only in Zimbabwe, but in Africa generally. It's a phenomenon,
folks! Sorrowfully, I look across Africa and I see a disgusting landscape of
political ineptitude - ruin and devastation caused by academically
over-qualified charlatans and so-called professionals.

      People, educated or otherwise, fail to execute a job that requires
little education and no experience.

      But the secret is hiding in plain sight. The job requires ears, not
lips. You got to listen more than you talk; then roll up your sleeves and
work for the people. (I see our Zanu PF compatriots taking cover at the
sound of the word 'work'!)

      Anyway, the job of being president only calls for uncommon
resourcefulness and range. The ideal candidate must have the interests of
the nation and the people at heart. I admit this is bad news to Zanu PF
adherents, but we are here discussing some of the inherent qualities of a
successful and popular president. This rules out Robert Mugabe right away.

      The educated elite's destruction of their nations is always calculated
and deliberate, not accidental, such as in the case of the tragic bumbling
of the notorious illiterate Idi Amin Dada from Uganda.

      Pardon me, if you will, but I have always been fascinated by the
subsequent mentality of an African president. On attainment of the
presidency, some sort of osmosis takes place. Somewhere down the path
African presidents forget not only the people, but themselves. They suddenly
feel they have to conquer and subjugate the very people who put them in

      Schizophrenia visits them and stays. They think the people are out to
get them. They develop a tragic, antagonistic attitude towards their own
people. Suspicion and mistrust overwhelm and guide them. Yet nothing can be
achieved through paranoia.

      Once in control, the African president looks upon the citizens with
absolute searing contempt and the casual brutality, often unnecessarily
employed, becomes a trademark of African despots.

      Unfortunately, Zimbabwe offers the world confirmation that being
president is a job that does not depend on education and experience, but
needs nothing more than ability, ability derived from the love and desire to
serve one's own. I was amused when President Mugabe, once again, belittled
Morgan Tsvangirai at Swithun Mombeshora's burial. The traditional chiefs,
our supposed custodians of culture and tradition, in their tired but
conspicuous garb, are always afforded the front row seats at the burial of
so-called heroes to watch Mugabe as he does the very un-African and
uncultural thing of hurling insults and abuse at people during a burial.

      Is the President so desperate for superiority and advantage that he
has to crow about being taller than Tsvangirai? What does this physical
attribute have to do with running the country? "Let's measure the
 intellect," the President went further.

      If I were Mugabe, I wouldn't proceed with this challenge. Most
Zimbabweans would love to accept the President's challenge.

      Using the state of Zimbabwe's economy, the chaos in agriculture, not
to mention the non-existence of health care, and the appalling educational
standards as evidence of what "the intellect" achieves, it shouldn't be
difficult for Tsvangirai (or anybody for that matter) to endear himself

      As for us citizens - the infamous povo - we await this match-up and
are ready to go ahead with the measurements as long as our genius, Tobaiwa
Mudede is not given the responsibility to tally the figures from the tape
measure or from the scales.

      I hold that education can only enable. It opens avenues of possible
understanding. It is not in itself a guarantee of ability or success since
we retain the choice to accept, implement or discard anything we learn. Our
government, which is full of doctors and PhDs, testifies to this. None is
using their education to rescue the country.

      And failure always attracts arrogance. The arrogance of our government
is legendary.

      With unbridled arrogance, it reacts to one disaster after another,
denying responsibility for its failures but blaming foreigners who have
never set foot in our country.

      At independence, this country was run by consensus. Former guerrillas
were now in government. There was respect amongst themselves. Respect for
the people. They knew and accepted that responsibility was the only thing
that could guarantee our freedom. It worked for a while until the leadership
started to treat people as morons.

      For example, whose idea was it in Zanu PF to offer Joseph Chinotimba
as a parliamentary candidate? This has nothing to do with Chinotimba as a
person, as an individual. But what really did Zanu PF want him to do in
Parliament? This is the kind of arrogance that has made people turn away not
only from Zanu PF, but from Mugabe himself.

      What, for example, could have happened if Zanu PF had respected the
people well enough and offered someone like Simba Makoni in the Highfield or
Kuwadzana constituency? Those who benefited and who continue to benefit from
Zanu PF preside over its demise.

      Mugabe should look at his party. He should take a careful look at the

      The whole nation seeks warmth, but the only source of warmth available
is from the fragile and dancing flicker of one candle-light.

      Guess who can change the nation's fortunes even at this late hour?
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