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Mugabe lieutenant steps up land-grabs

The First Post

The seizure of white-owned farms - the so-called land reform programme that has reduced Zimbabwe from the breadbasket of Africa to a land of hungry and desperate people - is still being relentlessly pursued by Mugabe's supporters.

At the weekend, one of the President's noisiest lieutenants, Minister of Trade and Industry Obert Mpofu, vowed to clear out the remaining 35 white farmers in his constituency imminently.

At a meeting in the Bubi-Umguza district in Matabeleland North, in the south of the country, Mpofu accused local civil servants of taking bribes from the white farmers to delay any action against them.

And he threatened that if there was more resistance to eviction he would send in 'state machinery' - by which he meant paramilitary forces - to enforce it.

Minister Obert Mpofu has vowed to clear out the remaining white farmers in his district

Last month, a group of heavily armed police invaded the white-owned farm Portwe Estates in the Bubi district. The owners resisted, and the matter has gone to court in Bulawayo. But police officers remain camped on the land.

Mpofu is particularly angry that the 35 white farms remain in his Bubi-Umguza constituency because, ironically, this is one of the very few rural constituencies where there is still strong support for Zanu-PF, the governing party.

Mugabe began the land-grabs seven years ago, when Zimbabwe had more than 4,000 white-owned farms. Today, there are less than 100. Most of the seized farms have been handed over to high-ranking police and army officers, as well as senior government members and officials.


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Sneaking into Harare

The Economist

Apr 23rd 2007

Our online news editor goes to Mugabeland

ROBERT MUGABE glowers as I walk into the arrivals hall at Harare
International. His official stare through his trademark spectacles-part
sneer, part aloof school teacher-can seem comical. There's something about
the president, those Elton John glasses, the camp flicking of his wrists,
the moustache that recalls both Chaplin and Hitler, that makes him as much a
caricature as a real man.

The official scowl is bestowed on all passengers: it is the first gift any
visitor to the country receives and it is that which sends them home again.
The tourist ministry might do better to have a portrait of a lion or an
elephant, but there is some honesty to this choice.

Everything in Zimbabwe today is about the crinkly octogenarian with his
fists on the table. And everybody knows that sorting out the dreadful mess
of the country-political, economic, social, human-means getting the old
crocodile out of office.

Zimbabwe does not welcome journalists of the imperialist western press, so
this trip is rather furtive. I queue, hoping not to draw any attention, then
catch myself staring at the various skinny officials in crumpled suits who
patrol the hall.

In part I relish being here. Zimbabwe can be a wonderful place to report
from: it is a chance to taste high-altitude tropical air, to interview
articulate and expressive people, to sip gin-and-tonic sundowners in the
name of research. But this is not a great time to be poking around without
permission. Foreign journalists have long been banned (I was once denounced
as "a spy masquerading as a tourist" by the state organ, the Herald). I used
to treasure official faxes, with the pompous seal of the information
ministry, which told me most decorously to get stuffed. Posing as a tourist
is the only way to travel. But now, shortly after the opposition leader has
had his skull cracked by police, and as other journalists are locked up and
threatened with violence (I learn later that the man from Time spent an
uncomfortable five days in the jug, without food), the disadvantages of
going to Zimbabwe are in the forefront of my mind. There don't seem to be
many other tourists queuing to get in.

In the past I have carried a prop or two to get through the airport. The
concern is that the country's British-trained and rather scary secret
police, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), those skinny men in
suits, might spot you in the arrivals queue and-at best-shove you back on
the plane home. Over the years I have lugged tennis rackets, bird-watching
guides and enormous paintings and donned floppy hats and shorts to advertise
my touristic purposes.

This time as I approach the immigration desk, I feel slightly exposed. I
have no carved giraffe or Lonely Planet guide book to wave. Instead, perhaps
stupidly, my bags are stuffed with a laptop computer, a satellite phone,
notebooks and a sheaf of Reuters newswire print-outs. Explaining all that
away may be tricky. I have been a little careless. Apparently the CIO is on
the look-out for unauthorised reporters. For distraction I get chatting to a
British diplomat in the queue, but then notice she is stammering and shaking
from nerves for some reason of her own. I change to another line and
studiously count the tiles on the floor, waiting my turn.

The government recently let it be known it has a "computerised list" (no
less) of journalists who might try to travel without permission. But,
stepping forward and peering over the immigration desk, I spot what has been
true every other time I have been to Harare: the airport can't afford
computers for its staff. If I'm on the fabled list, no one has the means to
check. Within moments I'm through, bags unrifled, strolling out of the
ill-lit terminal, past the point where an opposition activist was beaten to
a pulp the day before, and out into the blazing tropical sun.

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Neighbours Remain Mute Amid Flood of Refugees

IPS News

Davison Makanga

HARARE, Apr 23 (IPS) - The rattling sound of galvanized tins has become
characteristic of Patience's* daily routine which starts at 4 am every day.
Patience (43), a single mother, is one of the many who rush in the early
morning to the Zimbabwean capital's Mbare Musika market to buy fruit and
vegetables to hawk.

She uses the tins to carry her meagre goods. Her daily net profit is just
10,000 Zimbabwean dollars, an amount which is not enough to feed her family.
According to the official exchange rate this amounts to 40 US dollars but on
the parallel market it is just more than half a US dollar.

''I do not have any choice. I have to continue fighting, but life is getting
unbearable for me and my kids,'' says a solemn Patience. She is one example
of millions of Zimbabweans who have for the past seven years been fighting
for survival while yearning for a better tomorrow. Living conditions are
degenerating by the day.

The arrival of the New Year saw a growing discontent in the country's
workforce. Doctors, nurses and teachers embarked on protests over low
remuneration. At the beginning of March, civic and opposition leaders were
arrested and tortured for ''instigating'' violence.

Since then, security force members have been active along all the major
highways in the country. The heavy police presence has been called ''an
unofficial state of emergency''. Abductions of opposition political members
are the order of the day. Ordinary people are constantly terrorised by the
police and the militia.

''It has become frightening. We no longer have the freedom to walk during
the night in our own country,'' says Stanley* of Highfield in Harare.

Indications are that the presidential and parliamentary elections will be
arranged at the same time in 2008. Political tensions are set to hot up.
This, coupled with economic hardships, will drive scores of people out of
the country.

An estimated 50,000 Zimbabweans cross the country's borders every month
searching for better fortunes in neighbouring countries. ''Unless regional
leaders fulfil their moral obligation to intervene, an influx of Zimbabweans
will affect their own countries and destabilise the region,'' says social
commentator Ernest Mudzengi.

Stanley confirms that he is also looking for an opportunity to flee. ''My
hope of change coming to Zimbabwe anytime soon is fading by the day.''

The minister of information and publicity, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, has chided
deserters for leaving the ''much greener pastures'' of Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, the countries of the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) have been mute about the Zimbabwean crisis. The only exceptions are
Botswana and, recently, Zambia.

For many Zimbabweans, the recent SADC indaba was just another show of
massaging Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's ego.

''SADC should have taken a much bolder stance. (South African President
Thabo) Mbeki has been there but he has been ineffective. I doubt that he has
changed his mind about quiet diplomacy after the summit,'' contends John
Makumbe, a lecturer in Political Science at the University of Zimbabwe.

The SADC heads of state tasked Mbeki with brokering dialogue between the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the ruling Zanu-PF. But
minister Ndlovu has made Zanu's position clear. He insists that the MDC is a
''western-sponsored party which will not be given special treatment ahead of
home-grown parties.''

Going by events so far, the government's impervious nature will scupper
prospects of earnest dialogue. ''Our government is disregarding the dialogue
initiative because SADC was not assertive. If they want to have an effect
they have to be clear and insistent,'' explains Jacob Mafume, a human rights

Former MDC member of parliament, Hilda Mafudze, says problems in Zimbabwe
will not only affect the SADC region but Africa as a whole. She argues that
bad governance in the country will drive away possible investment in
Africa's development vehicle, the New Partnership for Africa's Development

''If African countries fold their hands on Zimbabwe, the NEPAD project will
fail,'' emphasises Mafudze. NEPAD advocates good governance as prerequisite
for foreign investment.

The Centre for Peace Initiatives Africa (CPIA) views the existing conditions
as a major challenge but is positive that SADC's latest plan will start a
new chapter of tolerance in Zimbabwe. CPIA is an organisation that has been
facilitating dialogue meetings for the past four years.

''We encourage political parties to compromise for the good of our nation.
Dialogue is the key to our crisis,'' argues Rena Chitombo, CPIA
communications officer.

While many believe that the neighbouring countries hold the keys to the
future of Zimbabwe, activists in the social movement, International
Socialist Organization (ISO), think otherwise.

They believe that piecemeal demonstrations in the fashion of the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions' (ZCTU) two-day mass stay-away in April will not
yield results under the current ''military regime''. Instead, they say,
constant democratic protests will drive the message home.

''We cannot wait for someone from outside to help us. We hold our own
destiny. We have to organize a series of demonstrations until the government
obliges,'' exclaims Mike Sambo, coordinator of ISO. * Not their real names

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Africa's Crisis of Democracy

New York Times

Published: April 23, 2007
KANO, Nigeria, April 22 - Nigeria's troubled presidential election, which
came under fire on Sunday from local and international observers and was
rejected by two leading opposition candidates, represents a significant
setback for democracy in sub-Saharan Africa at a time when voters in
countries across the continent are becoming more disillusioned with the way
democracy is practiced.

Mr. Adhama used to employ 330 workers in the 1980s, but now he has just 24
employees as he tries to restart his business.
Analysts said the Nigerian vote was the starkest example of a worrying
trend - even as African countries hold more elections, many of their
citizens are steadily losing confidence in their democracies.

"The picture in Africa is really mixed," said Peter Lewis, director of the
African Studies program at Johns Hopkins University, who was among the
researchers who conducted the Afrobarometer survey of African public
opinion. "Some countries have vibrant political scenes, while other
countries go through the routine of elections but governance doesn't seem to

African voters are losing patience with faulty elections that often exclude
popular candidates and are marred by serious irregularities, according to
the Afrobarometer survey, published last year, which sampled voters in 18
countries, based on interviews with 1,200 to 2,400 people per country. While
6 in 10 Africans said democracy was preferable to any other form of
government, according to the survey, satisfaction with democracy dipped to
45 percent from 58 percent in 2001.

The threat to Nigeria's fragile democracy was underscored on Sunday by
government officials, who dropped dark hints warning of a possible coup
attempt, and said election critics were welcoming a military putsch by
inciting violence.

Twenty-five candidates vied to replace the departing president in the
Saturday vote, the first time in Nigeria's history that power will be
transferred between two civilian administrations. But the election was
marred by chaos, violence and fraud. Results are not expected until Monday
at the earliest.

Election officials gave themselves high marks on Sunday for the handling of
the polls, but their comments were in sharp contrast to assessments of
international observers. Madeleine K. Albright, the former secretary of
state, who observed the election for the National Democratic Institute, said
that "in a number of places and in a number of ways, the election process
failed the Nigerian people." The International Republican Institute said
that the election fell "below acceptable standards."

Such observations represent a stunning turnabout for Nigeria, Africa's most
populous and second richest country, and reflect the deep frustrations of
millions of Nigerians. In 2000, in the euphoric aftermath of Nigeria's
transition from a long spell of military rule to democracy, 84 percent of
Nigerians said that they were satisfied with democracy as practiced in
Nigeria, according to the Afrobarometer survey.

By 2005 that number had plummeted to 25 percent, lower than all the
countries surveyed save Zimbabwe. Almost 70 percent of Nigerians did not
believe elections would allow them to remove objectionable leaders, the
survey found.

Freedom House, an organization that monitors the spread of democracy and
free speech, said in a report last year that the overall trends for African
democracy were mixed. "Sub-Saharan Africa in 2006 presents at the same time
some of the most promising examples of new democracies," the report said. It
also has "some of the most disheartening examples of political stagnation,
democratic backsliding, and state failure."

For every successful election, like those held this year in once-troubled
countries like Mauritania and Democratic Republic of Congo, there have been
elections in countries that seemed on the road to consolidating democracy
but then swerved, like Gambia, Uganda, Ethiopia and Zambia. There are also
countries that hold regular elections, but they are so flawed they cannot
really be called democratic, like those in Guinea, Zimbabwe and Gabon.

In 1976, according to Freedom House, just three countries in Africa were
listed as "free," while the vast majority, 25, were "not free." Thirty years
later, the not-free category had shrunk to 14 states, and the bulk of Africa
now falls into the "partly free" category.

In the middle of that group is Nigeria, a nation of 140 million people
divided among 250 ethnic groups and two major religions, Islam and
Christianity, all of whom live in a space twice the size of California. It
is rich in oil, exporting about two million barrels a day, but the riches
that oil brings have not translated into meaningful development.

In Kano, a once vibrant manufacturing center, the contradictions of Nigeria's
eight-year-old experiment with elected government are vividly on display.
Far from building a unified country aimed at the greatest good for all,
Nigeria has instead become an every-man-for-himself nation. In Kano's
Government Residential Area, where the wealthy live, each household is its
own power and water company. Plastic water tanks on spidery legs tower over
the tiled roofs, each fed by an electric pump sucking water from a private
well. The electric company provides light just a few hours a day, so the air
is thick with the belching diesel smoke of a thousand generators, clattering
away in miserable, endless unison.

The poor must manage however they can. With the decline of manufacturing and
few formal jobs, many residents make a meager living off one another's
misery. Idriss Abdoulaye sells water from a pushcart for 20 naira a jerry
can, about 15 cents, to people like himself, too poor to have wells. He
makes about $2 a day, and cannot afford to send his sons to school. Instead
they go to a Koranic school, where they learn the Koran by rote. He said he
worries they will end up as poor, illiterate traders like him. "There is no
future for the poor man in this country," he said.

The government was supposed to make improving the nation's infrastructure a
priority - President Olusegun Obasanjo, elected in 1999 and stepping down
next month after two terms in office, campaigned on the promise of more
electricity. Despite billions spent on the problem, all that changed was the
name of the state power company. Once known as N.E.P.A. - which Nigerians
joked stood for Never Expect Power Again - it is now called Power Holding
Company. The improvement in service has been so minimal that a new joke has
taken hold - Please Hold Candle.

But when Saidu Dattijo Adhama laughs about Nigeria's troubles, it is through
gritted teeth. He is a textile manufacturer in Kano, and his factory used to
produce 3,000 cotton jersey garments a day. Six years ago he was forced to
shut down because paying for private generator power to spin his knitters
and spinners and pump water for his bleaching and dyeing machines left him
unable to compete with cheap imports flooding the country in the wake of
trade liberalization. "The reason I went out of business is simple," he
said. "It is the Nigerian factor. No light. No water. No reliable suppliers.
How can I compete with someone in China who opens the tap and sees water?
Who taps a switch and sees light?"

Mr. Adhama used to employ 330 workers in his workshops in the 1980s, but now
he has just 24 employees as he tries to restart his business. He said the
blame for the country's dilapidated condition lay with its leaders. Inept
and corrupt officials have either wasted or plundered an estimated $380
billion from Nigeria's treasury since Nigeria won independence from Britain
in 1960.

"We are not a poor country," Mr. Adhama said. "We have oil, we have
resources. But it is the management of those resources that has been
lacking. They have been hijacked. And then when we come to vote them out of
office for their misdeeds, they hijack that as well." He said life now was
in many ways worse than it was under military rule - there was more crime,
less order. The one real improvement is the ability to freely speak his
mind, Mr. Adhama said. "But even that is worthless," he said. "What is the
point of talking if no one is listening?"

Mr. Adhama said he had no nostalgia for military rule, but some Nigerians
do. For them, the names Sani Abacha, Muhammadu Buhari and Ibrahim Babangida,
fearsome military rulers from Nigeria's past, signify security and decisive
leadership, not autocracy and corruption.

In Malumfashi, a small town in southern Katsina state, men and boys not yet
born when Mr. Buhari, now the candidate of a popular opposition party, was
ruler, torched tires, threw stones and trashed billboards in a rampage to
express their anger that they had not been able to vote. The ballot boxes in
their town, an opposition stronghold, had been snatched by thugs loyal to
the ruling party, they said. "We need Buhari, only Buhari," the young men
shouted, wild-eyed as they encircled a foreign journalist and photographer,
half menacing and half embracing, as they pressed their grievances.

"No job!"

"No food!"

"No light!"

"No freedom!"

"No election!"

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EU: Council conclusions on Zimbabwe - 2796th External Relations Council meeting

European Union (EU)

Date: 23 Apr 2007

Luxembourg, 23 April 2007 - The Council adopted the following conclusions:

1. The Council joins the UNSG and the AU in expressing strong concern at the
rapidly deteriorating human rights, political and economic situation in
Zimbabwe. The Council condemns in particular the acts of violent repression
against the opposition and calls on all parties to refrain from violence.
The Council welcomes the fact that the Human Rights Council has addressed
the situation in Zimbabwe.

2. The Council urges the government of Zimbabwe to respect Africa's own
commitments and approaches, in particular the NEPAD and the recently adopted
African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

3. With a view to the potentially destabilising impact of the situation in
Zimbabwe on the whole region, the Council commends the recent extra-ordinary
SADC summit in Dar es Salaam and the SADC initiative in resolving this
crisis. It welcomes the mandate given to President Mbeki to facilitate a
dialogue between the opposition and the Government, and the engagement of
President Kikwete as chair of the SADC organ. The Council stands ready to
support the SADC initiative, if called upon to do so. Moreover, the Council
urges all parties to engage with civil society, including the churches, to
conduct a broad inclusive national dialogue, which is essential to lay the
basis for genuine reform and national reconciliation.

4. In response to the acts of violence and abuses of human rights the
Council will extend the visa ban list (as agreed by Common Position of
February 19, 2007). The EU reiterates that its targeted measures (consisting
of a visa ban, an assets freeze and an arms embargo) are exclusively aimed
at those leading figures responsible for Zimbabwe's crisis of governance and
abuses of human rights.

5. The EU, reaffirming its solidarity with the Zimbabwe people, will
continue its contribution to operations of humanitarian nature and projects
which are in direct support of the population. Funding activities that in
2006 amounted to ? 193 million. The EU also wishes to confirm its
willingness to continue to make use of the opportunity provided by the
ongoing 10th EDF programming exercise to carry on the dialogue and as soon
as conditions allow, to make progress towards a situation where the
resumption of full cooperation becomes possible.

6. In the meantime, the Council will continue to keep the situation under
close observation.

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WOZA protestors and babies arrested in Kuwadzana

By Violet Gonda
23 April 2007

There were warning shots and arrests in Harare's Kuwadzana high-density area
when riot police used force to disperse a WOZA protest on Monday. About 60
people from the Women of Zimbabwe Arise and Men of Zimbabwe Arise were
arrested as the pressure group continued with demonstrations demanding
'power to the people' at the offices of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority (ZESA). WOZA said 36 women, 20 men and 10 babies were arrested.

At least 80 people were arrested during similar protests in Bulawayo last

In Harare members are said to have assembled at three different ZESA offices
in Harare - Kuwadzana, Warren Park and Zengeza - holding simultaneous 'tough
love' protests. The group said over 470 members from 10 different areas of
Harare took part in the community-level protests.

Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa, who witnessed the Kuwadzana
incident, said the peaceful protesters held a sit-in within the ZESA power
sub station in. He said: "During that time police officers from Kuwadzana
police station came running and armed. They were about seven armed police
officers and about five police officers on bicycles. They rounded up
everyone who was seated protesting and they were made to march to the police
station which is about 200 metres away."

Muchemwa said the police also fired warning shots in the air causing a
commotion that frightened even the ZESA officials who ran away from their

Members of the pressure group were rounded up and force marched in a line,
holding each other's hands. "And they were being beaten all the way from the
ZESA offices to the police station," Muchemwa said. He said the police had
not been provoked and the women and men who were protesting at the premises
did not even make any noise. "They were not even singing but they were
letting their banners and the flyers do the talking."

The pressure group said lawyers failed to get access to the detainees "and
members trying to take in food were also turned away so the group of 56 and
10 babies will go hungry tonight."

The group recently launched its 'power to the people' campaign which
includes holding sit-ins to demand better service delivery from the
electricity supplier. Power cuts are so common in Zimbabwe that they have
become a part of daily life. In some areas people go for 10 hours a day
without power while in other cases it can be a week or longer with no
electricity. ZESA blames it on a shortage of foreign currency but many
believe, like the general status of the country, it's more to do with
corruption and mis-management.

Meanwhile, there is growing concern over the manner in which the authorities
are dealing with peaceful protestors. It emerged last week that some of the
WOZA members who were arrested in Bulawayo "were made to strip naked,
spending the whole day in a state of undress." The pressure group also
reported that police assaulted several women including two who had delivered
food to the detainees. They were charged under the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly 'causing a criminal nuisance.'

The South Africa based Zimbabwe Exiles Forum has criticised the authorities
for failing to uphold human rights standards. Executive director and human
rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba said arresting women and forcing them to strip
naked is a most gross and inhumane act, by any standard.

Shumba said the conduct by the security officials is completely
unacceptable: "It is someone's mother who spent hours naked in front of
police officials and other prisoners, some young enough to be her sons. The
rights of women, the most vulnerable members of our society, are
continuously violated in soaring proportions, by the Zimbabwean government,
a country once known and admired for its national customary moral values."

Both Bulawayo and Harare police refused to comment.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Time running out for Mbeki as Mugabe continues to attack opposition

By Tererai Karimakwenda
23 April, 2007

All eyes are on South Africa's president Thabo Mbeki as the recently
appointed regional mediator on the Zimbabwe crisis. His mission is to find
some solution to a political and economic crisis that seems to hinge on the
response of one man, Robert Mugabe. But with less than a year to go before
joint presidential and parliamentary elections due in 2008, the aged ZANU-PF
leader has shown no sign that he wants to play fair. In fact he has
intensified a violent campaign against the Movement for Democratic Change
and civic groups that are lobbying for change, before it is possible to hold
free and fair elections. Mbeki has so far done nothing that signals progress
towards reigning in the stubborn Mugabe.

Experts in the region have already forecast doom for Mbeki's mission. His
own brother, analyst Moeletsi Mbeki, is said the South African government
had no incentive to do anything serious about Zimbabwe because those in
power were not affected by it. He said these elites only cared about wealth
and the millions of Zimbabwean refugees crossing over into South Africa
affected only the poor with whom they compete for jobs. Even Mbeki's own
people are beginning to offer disclaimers. This week his Foreign Minister
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is reported to have warned that South Africa could
not be expected to "do any magic" with Zimbabwe. And Dlamini-Zuma's deputy,
Aziz Pahad, said mediation efforts were only at the "pre-dialogue" stage.

Meanwhile in Zimbabwe, the opposition and civic groups are demanding changes
before any elections are held. The MDC has made it clear they will not
participate while violence continues against its officials and supporters.
And the National Constitutional Assembly has insisted there will be no new
elections without a new democratic constitution. The group released a
statement this week which said in part: "It is only with a new constitution
that Zimbabweans can enjoy full freedom and can be able to participate in
free and fair elections."

Unfortunately a new constitution only guarantees freedom if the government
runs the country according to the constitution.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Violent farm grabs return as police, army and lands officials defy laws

By Tererai Karimakwenda
23 April, 2007

Farmers in the sugar growing lowveld area report that illegal and violent
farm seizures have intensified in the last few weeks. White farmers still on
their properties believe there is a renewed drive by the government to
finally eliminate all whites from commercial farms in the area by the end of
the year.

According to John Worsley Worswick of Justice for Agriculture (JAG), some
farmers were forced to leave their household goods rather than take any
risks with the armed invaders. Worswick said recent evictions have not only
been illegal, but they have taken place in the presence of officials from
the Zimbabwe National Army, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Central
Intelligence Organisation. They chose this time of year because sugar is
ready to be harvested.

Worswick explained that when the government passed Amendment #17, it made
some concessions to allow farmers to harvest their crops and then vacate
their properties. Specific dates were set for each type of crop and as the
time periods expire, the white farmers are expected to leave. Worswick said
the government officials were now targeting the lowveld because "it is prime
time for leeching."

Chiredzi farmer Gerry Whitehead said the situation is reminiscent of the
2002 farm invasions when violent, armed seizure or "jambanja" was the order
of the day. He said the existing laws governing land reform are being
by-passed or simply ignored. Worswick agreed with this assessment as he had
several farmers from the Chiredzi Triangle area in his office last Friday.
He said: "With this type of invasion weapons are visibly displayed."

According to Whitehead, some police have openly apologized to some farmers
saying they are under orders to back up the land officials. Whitehead
believes there is currently a lot of dissention within the ranks of the
Chiredzi police.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Prosecutor who charged Minister is still locked up

By Lance Guma
23 April 2007

A state prosecutor who last year led a case against two cabinet ministers is
still in police custody 4 days after his arrest last week Thursday. Levison
Chikafu took on the might of Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, after
charging him with attempting to defeat the course of justice by putting
pressure on a key witness in a trial against State Security Minister Didymus
Mutasa. He also called for the arrest of CIO agent Joseph Mwale on
allegations of murdering two opposition officials in the run up to the 2000
parliamentary election. In a cynical turnaround police arrested Chikafu over
allegations he received money from a jailed murderer and consented to the
granting of bail to undeserving suspects while he was an area prosecutor in

Speaking from his cell at Mutare Central police station Chikafu told
Newsreel he was supposed to have been taken to court Monday but was told the
investigating officer in the case had gone to Harare with the paper work.
Chikafu sounded depressed and resigned to his fate saying 'I don't know who
is blocking me from going to court.' He described his holding cell as very
dirty and not suitable for human habitation. The walls inside have not been
cleaned since independence in 1980 because as he said there is still
pre-independence graffiti written, 'Mugabe achatonga' (Mugabe will rule) and
'Pasi na Muzorewa' (Down with Muzorewa). Where Chikafa is sleeping, his head
is just one metre away from a toilet.

Chikafu was reluctant to be drawn into linking his case with minister
Chinamasa and Mutasa instead saying he was a loyal civil servant who had
faith in the Attorney Generals Office and the police. He said as an
experienced prosecutor he knew all 5 charges against him could never stick
in any court. This he said was probably the reason for the prolonged
incarceration and reluctance by the state to take him to court. 'Until I
hear why the Commissioner of Police wants me inside I cannot say much. I don't
want to be seen as anti-government or something like that.' Asked if he did
not feel let down by the Attorney Generals office who have maintained a
silence on the matter Chikafu said the AG's office had to be professional
and because he is facing criminal charges they could not be seen to be

Those following the story have accused Chinamasa of leading a campaign of
revenge and abusing his position in the justice ministry to get back at
Chikafu by engineering a set of charges to place him in the dock. Several
prosecutors avoided Chinamasa's case on the grounds he was effectively their
boss in the Justice Ministry but Chikafu bravely took it up. He was
transferred from his job towards the end of last year and is said to have
enrolled as a student at the Zimbabwe Military Academy.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Diesel-Like Liquid Oozes From Rock Near Chinhoyi Caves

The Herald (Harare)

April 23, 2007
Posted to the web April 23, 2007

Fidelis Munyoro And Tawanda Kanhema

A LIQUID that resembles diesel has been oozing out of a rock at the summit
of a hill near Chinhoyi Caves.

The "diesel", which is suspected to be a result of petroleum sipping through
the dolomite and lime caves of the mountainous region, was discovered some
time last year by local people.

CMED (Private) Limited has sunk a pipe into an opening at the site and
erected a tank to collect the liquid.

CMED managing director Mr Davison Mhaka yesterday confirmed that samples of
the "diesel" had been tested and found to be purer than the diesel currently
being used in motor vehicles.

"We suspect that it is coming from the dolomite and lime caves underneath
the hill. Petroleum could have sipped into these caves and right now it is
overflowing in Makuti," he said.

Mr Mhaka said the "diesel" at the site has an apple juice colour while the
standard diesel is green in colour.

He added there was need for further explorations to verify the source and
quantity of the precious liquid, which is currently in short supply in

Mashonaland West Governor Cde Nelson Samkange and officials from the CMED
and other Government departments are reported to have visited the site.

Samples are understood to have been tested at Chinhoyi University of
Technology where the liquid was used to run a diesel engine.

However, when The Herald crew arrived at the farm yesterday, the site was
sealed off by a group of people led by a spirit medium who claimed to be the
custodian of the place.

Two flags have been hoisted on wooden masts at the entrance to the farm
where club-wielding men who claim to have been instructed to protect the
site by the spirit medium have set up camp.

A man who identified himself as Svinurai Jenami, one of the more than 20
people camped at the foot of the hill, said no one would be allowed access
to the site until an official announcement from the Government.

"When the time comes for you to publicise this matter we shall notify you.
At the moment, there are a few things that need to be cleared before we
allow people to visit the site."

According to geologists, the mountain range sits on what is known as the
Lomagundi Dolomite Aquifer.

If it is proved to be diesel, then the discovery will come barely a year
after diamonds and emeralds sparked a flurry of mining activity in parts of

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Raw Sewage Flows Into Stream in Marondera

The Herald (Harare)

April 23, 2007
Posted to the web April 23, 2007


RAW sewage has been flowing into Nyameni stream in Marondera for the past
two months after a leak developed in the main pipeline.

According to an Environmental Management Agency team, about 4 000 cubic
litres of raw sewage have been pouring into the stream that flows into
Ruzawi River every hour for two months.

The team discovered this during a tour of Elmswood Farm in Marondera last
week where the water has turned into a dark green colour. Nyameni stream
itself has been transformed into a carpet of algae and weeds.

A resettled A2 farmer who owns a plot along Ruzawi River said the polluted
water was compromising her farming activities and corroding the pumping

Mashonaland East provincial chief environmental officer Mr Robson Mavondo
accused Marondera Municipality of negligence.

"As EMA, our mandate is to ensure that the environment is protected. We are
definitely going to fine the responsible authorities so that they repair the
sewer pipeline," said Mr Mavondo.

The municipality is being charged with breaching the Environmental
Management Act, which states that when effluent is discharged into the
environment an appropriate plant has to be installed.

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Surveillance and scepticism
Posted on April 23rd, 2007 by Amanda Atwood.

When I first heard about the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s (ZRP) Trail of Violence report, I was sceptical if it was even a legitimate document. But seeing a link to it on the Government of Zimbabwe Ministry of Home Affairs website gave me confidence in its existence as a document genuinely produced by the Zimbabwean Government. Even if big question marks still linger about its contents.

The report outlines the activities of “the opposition” in Zimbabwe in the form of the Broad Alliance which it describes as including:

It claims that the agenda of these organisations is to “mobilise people for regime change in Zimbabwe.” The leaders of these “opposition forces have been addressing numerous meetings across the country, drumming support for anti-Government activities and civil disobedience.” To prove this, they chronicle rallies, public meetings and demonstrations which these groups have put together.

It’s a thorough, careful and—aside from the petrol bomb side of things—accurate feeling report. The activities, recounted in excruciating detail, are clearly intended to portray “the opposition” as an organised, violent, ruthless force aimed at destabilising the government. It fits snugly into the government’s own propaganda strategy. It’s easy to imagine how they’ll roll it out at regional summits or in conversations with the likes of South African President Thabo Mbeki. It’s written to illustrate that the Mugabe government is under threat, and that any restrictions on civil liberties, human rights or freedom of movement are “measured and necessary”—even if this includes beating activists, arresting them and holding them indefinitely.

It’s hard not to laugh at the report’s desperation. What awful things have the Save Zimbabwe Campaign done? They’ve distributed flyers urging people to clap, hoot and shout for a better Zimbabwe. What mischievousness is the MDC up to? Well, they are holding rallies attended by thousands of people and discussing the need for a new Constitution. They are marching through Bulawayo with placards saying “Pay the Police” and “We demand Jobs.”

From one perspective it’s a record of an impressive array of pro-democracy activities. Between the MDC, NCA, ZINASU, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, ZCTU, the Christian Alliance and WOZA, hundreds of people have attended meetings or participated in demonstrations not only across Harare but in Bulawayo, Masvingo, Mutare, Kadoma and Gweru as well. Unsurprisingly, given that the ZRP wrote the report, a lot of attention is given to the alleged beatings and petrol bomb attacks on police officers. None to the beatings of opposition activists whilst in police custody, which have resulted in at least 225 people needing medical attention in the past month are mentioned.

It sounds callous, but the pictures of the allegedly petrol bombed women police officers aren’t in the least convincing. If you’ve just survived having a petrol bomb thrown into your home and your face and body are burnt to the excruciating extent they’re made to look, would you really be sitting up in your hospital bed with a nurse giving you tea straight from the cup? Wouldn’t your lips be too sore to sip?

Outside of critique and incredulity, what can we learn from this document?

The report spends several pages detailing the different ambassadors who have been seen in association with opposition activities. The Mugabe government falsely believes Zimbabweans are incapable of organising resistance without outside prompting or support. If the government is convinced of this, how useful is the presence of these ambassadors at jails, hospitals, courts, and rallies? What does it achieve, and at what cost?

Do any of the organisations which feature in the report have as thorough a record of their own activities? What can we learn from this documentation, and how can we use it to help enhance activities within and across civil society organisations in the future to develop strategies and grow membership?

Finally, one could read the report and get intimidated. It is 58 pages of names and dates and locations and events. But this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Most pro-democracy activists and organisations in Zimbabwe are aware of the potential for government surveillance, and the possibility of a CIO agent in every meeting. Mugabe wouldn’t be running a dictatorship if he wasn’t good at keeping tabs. Everyone knows this, but if activists are becoming a bit lax, the report reminds us that Mugabe government’s surveillance activities are alive and well.

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Zimbabwe's tobacco farmers in price stand-off

New Zimbabwe

By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 04/24/2007 03:36:13
ZIMBABWE'S annual opening of the tobacco auction floors hangs in the balance
after Agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo failed to get government approval
for the new prices on Monday.

Tobacco farmers gathered Monday at a Harare hotel waiting for Gumbo's
announcement of new prices and incentives, but the ceremony was cancelled
after nearly two hours, when Gumbo did not show up.

The scheduled opening of the tobacco floors Tuesday comes after its delay by
more than a month as a result of a pricing dispute and inadequate packaging

The floors were initially expected to open on March 14, but farmers refused
to deliver the golden leaf, demanding a special rate.

Wilfanos Mashingaidze, a representative of the tobacco trade regulating
authority, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Authority (TIMB), dismissed
the farmers when Gumbo failed to pitch up to make the announcements saying:
"There is nothing to announce at the moment. The minister is still
consulting. Let's meet at 7:30 am tomorrow at the auction floors. I wish you

Disappointed farmers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they are
going to withhold their crop again, if the government does not come up with
a new pricing structure, possibly coupled with the devaluation of the local

President Robert Mugabe is vehemently opposed to the devaluing of the local
currency, a move that has cost previous ministers such as Simba Makoni their

The US dollar remains pegged at 250 against the local currency, although it
can fetch up of 14 000 on the thriving parallel market.

The government's chaotic land reforms have seen a serious dip in
agricultural production, with the country losing its position of being one
of the top five tobacco producing countries in the world.

Zimbabwe's troubles have seen neighbouring countries, notably Zambia and
Malawi, making gains partly because of local farmers who fled to those
countries and started new ventures.

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State to Announce New Bread Price

The Herald (Harare)

April 23, 2007
Posted to the web April 23, 2007


THE Government will soon announce a new bread price as the Prices
Stabilisation Committee is almost through with examining proposals submitted
by the baking industry and other stakeholders, a Cabinet minister has said.

Industry and International Trade Minister Mr Obert Mpofu said on Friday that
the Government was deeply committed to see the baking industry charge viable
prices that would sustain its operations while being affordable to

The gazetted price of a standard loaf is $825 but retailers are selling it
at between $5 000 and $6 000 a loaf.

Bakers' Association of Zimbabwe vice chairperson Mr Vincent Mangoma last
month said bakers would incur a loss of $5 000 per loaf of bread sold at
$825, adding that the cost of inputs had risen sharply in the past few

He said producing a loaf of bread cost more than $ 5 500, excluding
transport costs and overhead expenses, and continuing to sell the bread at
$825 would be subsidising consumers.

The baking industry has on several occasions criticised the Government for
taking too long to gazette the price of bread yet they were submitting
proposals on a weekly basis.

Meanwhile, Mr Mpofu said the Government would also descend on unscrupulous
retailers that are taking advantage of the current economic environment to
overcharge consumers. -- New Ziana.

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary - 21st April 2007

 "Each time a man or a woman stands up for justice, the heavens sing and the
world rejoices."  This was the theme of our special Prayer Vigil for
Zimbabwe.  We were happy to be addressed by two pastors from Zimbabwe, Useni
Sibanda and Promise Manceda, of the Zimbabwean Christian Alliance (ZCA). The
ZCA spearheads the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, the umbrella organisation from
which the MDC and civic bodies in Zimbabwe are working for change.

On a beautiful sunny day they were welcomed with this prayer "We pray for
the women of WOZA, who are not afraid to stand together peacefully for
change.  We pray for the Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, who is
selflessly devoting his life to his flock who are living in tough times
through lack of clean water, lack of food, lack of homes, lack of jobs and
lack of hope. We pray for all the other organisations that are now standing
together seeking a peaceful solution, which will end the misery and
desecration of lives.  Lord, these are our brothers and sisters.  Father we
pray for Robert Mugabe, that he will seek help from you and act on your

Useni Sibanda, who is co-ordinator of the ZCA, praised the Vigil for its
consistency and urged Zimbabweans throughout the UK to continue to pray for
their homeland. He said pastors had a biblical mandate to work in a peaceful
and non-violent way to bring about liberty and social justice. It was, he
said, time for Zimbabweans to say unity, unity, unity.  His colleague,
Pastor Promise Manceda, said pastors are enjoined by God to preach freedom
to the captives.  The people of Zimbabwe were being kept captive.

Many passers-by stopped to join in, perhaps drawn by the saxophones, violin
and guitar which augmented our usual drums, or by the singing of Viomak, or
the passionate dancing, singing and prayer.

We were all inspired by the Reverend Ray Pountney of the West Hill Baptist
Church in London.  He used to be a pastor in Bulawayo working with Ray Motsi
of the Baptist Church.  Among other speakers were Pastors Idy Samuels
(Nigeria), Rose Deans (Ghana) and Victor Kambasha (Zimbabwe).  There were
many other pastors there including our good supporter, the Reverend Dr
Martine Stemerick, who managed to find time in her very busy schedule to
join us.

We were also pleased to have with us the Zimbabwe Watchmen, a Christian
group from Coventry.  They spent three hours in worship outside the Embassy
before the Prayer Vigil began and many of them stayed till the end.  Thanks
to John Yohane of the Zimbabwe Watchmen, who is also a Vigil supporter, for
organizing the event, and to other Vigil supporters, Evelyn, Jeff, Dumi and
PJ, who organised the Prayer Vigil.

The day ended with a reading of verses of Ezekiel 37. "Then he said to me;
"Now give them this message from the Sovereign Lord: O my people I will open
your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back
to the land of Israel.  When this happens, O my people you will know that I
am the Lord."

For this week's Vigil pictures:

FOR THE RECORD: 127 signed the register.

-   Monday, 23rd April, 7.30. Central London Zimbabwe Forum. The
speakers are Pastors Useni Sibanda and Promise Manceda of the Zimbabwean
Christian Alliance. The ZCA spearheads the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, the
umbrella organisation from which the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
Zimbabwe's main opposition party, and civic bodies in Zimbabwe who are
campaigning for change.Come and hear at first hand what is happening back
home. Venue: The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Development House, 56-64
Leonard Street, London EC2A 4JX, Nearest tube: Old Street (take exit 4 for
City Road South - Leonard Street is the first left turning off City Road).
-   Saturday, 28th April, 11 am - 3 pm. The Bristol Vigil meets under
the covered way, just near the Watershed, Canon's Road, Harbourside.

Vigil co-ordinator

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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China now biggest investor in Zimbabwe

Mail and Guardian

Harare, Zimbabwe

23 April 2007 10:22

      China is now the biggest investor in Zimbabwe with at least 35
companies operating in the Southern African country and more investors
eyeing opportunities there, according to a top ruling party official.

      "It is heartening to know that China is now the largest investor
in Zimbabwe and her investment now stands at over 600 million US dollars,"
Parliament speaker John Nkomo was quoted as saying in Monday's state-run
Herald newspaper.

      "Currently more than 35 Chinese companies grace our economic
landscape and there have been more exploratory visits to Zimbabwe by Chinese
companies seeking investment opportunities," Nkomo said in a speech at a
dinner for a visiting senior Chinese official.

      Zimbabwe and China have relations dating back to Zimbabwe's
1970s liberation struggle when Beijing provided arms and training to the
black nationalist movement fighting the white minority government of Ian

      The burgeoning ties have seen an exchange of visits by officials
from Harare and Beijing in recent years.

      In the latest visit Jia Qinglin, chairperson of the Chinese
People's Political Consultative Conference, arrived in Harare on Friday on a
four-day trip.

      On Saturday officials from China handed over a $58-million
financing facility that will be used to purchase farming equipment,
implements and tools in Zimbabwe.

      Under the deal, China's CAMC Engineering will supply various
agricultural equipment including 424 tractors, 65 dumper trucks, 40
heavy-duty harrows and eight bulldozers.

      In return for the help with its struggling agriculture sector,
Zimbabwe will deliver 110 000 tonnes of tobacco to China over two years,
Made said.

      The two countries also signed three separate agreements related
to finance, agriculture and education.

      The friendship between Harare and Beijing was rekindled when
Mugabe, shunned by former friends in the West over the political crisis in
his country, adopted a "Look East" policy forging stronger ties with
countries like China, Malaysia, Indonesia and India.

      Chinese businesses have been condemned for flooding the local
market with low-quality goods and pushing local manufacturers out of
business. - Sapa-AFP

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There must be more to democracy than elections

Business Day

23 April 2007

Dianna Games


THE holding of multiparty elections is generally held to be a defining
element in moving African states from a postcolonial era of failed
socialism, political looting and endemic civil war into a modern,
globalised, technocratic world.

But it is clear that simply staging a poll will not, of itself, achieve the
ambitions for Africa outlined by the likes of the New Partnership for Africa's
Development (Nepad).

Last week's Nigerian elections highlighted the issue. A Nigerian
acquaintance asked me how it was that, after eight years of government
failure to improve basic services, the inept ruling party was voted back in
28 of 36 states. Adding insult to injury has been the rampant siphoning off
of development money into personal accounts of the political class. The
majority voted for the very people who had robbed them.

It seems one of the key regulating functions of democracy - calling misrule
to account - is not working.

There are various obvious reasons for this, voter ignorance, vote-rigging,
and intimidation of the mass sectarian vote being among them.

The April 14 election of Nigeria's state governors and legislators was
characterised by allegations of rigging and inefficiencies that led
observers to question the results in at least 10 states.

In some places, gangs hijacked ballot boxes and there were significant
discrepancies between results announced at polling stations and later ballot
collation at local government level.

As Zimbabwe has shown, the rigging of an election, and destabilisation of
the political environment, can start long before polling day, and long
before foreign election observers hit town. Local authorities and chiefs are
bought off well in advance, and they in turn ensure compliance through a
combination of fear and reward. Accountability is notable by its absence.

A lot is spoken about an "African democracy" in academic forums. This
alludes to a democracy that takes into account the continent's particular
characteristics and accommodates factors absent from successful democracies
in other regions. But surely chaotic polling, stolen elections and a
perversion of the golden principle of accountability are not among these
unique elements?

What are the ingredients of so-called mature democracies that make them
models that the likes of Nepad aspire to, yet are missing from the equation
in places such as Nigeria and Zimbabwe?

Obvious factors are better organisation and tighter, more scrupulous
election controls. But, as suggested earlier, democracy is more than just an
election, and perhaps we put too much store by actual polling days. What
about the much longer intervening period, when politicians are supposed to
fulfil their promises?

Indeed, elections can be viewed as a mirror of the political environment in
a country. If the overall democratic ethos is improved, it's just possible
we will get better elections.

Effective political opposition is notably lacking in many African
democracies. Having strong, critical voices raised as part of the continuing
political debate within a society can only sharpen government effectiveness
and accountability.

Unfortunately, in many African countries, opposition politicians are not
seen as patriotic, concerned citizens who have the betterment of society as
their goal. Rather, they are perceived to be enemies of the state; or
avaricious individuals out to deprive incumbents of the spoils of power.

In many African states, opposition parties are barely tolerated, while in
others they are openly persecuted. When Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai was beaten by government forces, the president blithely said he
had it coming to him.

Demonising the opposition often has as a corollary: the blurring of the line
between state and ruling party. The voting masses can easily get confused
about nationality and nationalism, which serves incumbent governments well.
Once the ruling parties have reinstalled themselves by fair means or foul,
they carry on as before, citing the mandate they received at the polls.

Of course, Africa has to start somewhere in the democratising process, and
an election is the logical place. And, indeed, conditions in African states
struggling to emerge from the ravages of decades of exploitation and
political experiment are very different to those in the developed world - so
the talk of a special type of "African democracy" is probably apposite.

But this new form of democracy surely cannot leave out accountability,
tolerate corruption by leaders and sideline dissenting voices. These are
integral to the rule "of the people, by the people, for the people".

?Games is director of Africa @ Work, an African consulting company.

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It's time for Canada to get tough in Zimbabwe

Edmonton Journal, Canada

Daniel Morris, Freelance
Published: Monday, April 23, 2007
NEW YORK - As the situation in Zimbabwe deteriorates to yet another
previously unimaginable level, Liberal MPs have advocated for the suspension
diplomatic ties with the tyrannical regime of longtime dictator Robert

If Ottawa is serious about helping to bring about a democratic, safe
Zimbabwe, it should do so immediately. At stake is much more than the
welfare of a people who have suffered relentless and cruel repression for
years -- although ideally that would serve as sufficient motive -- but the
core principle of accountability in the global system of nation-states.

Some might question the utility of breaking ties, predicting that Mugabe, in
his ever increasing paranoia, would dismiss it as further evidence of a
Western plot directed against him. But for a man responsible for the
documented deaths of tens of thousands of ordinary Zimbabweans, Canadians
might meaningfully ask themselves what it would mean if the federal
government continues to engage in politics as usual.

Indeed, Mugabe has not just defied basic rules of humanity and international
law. He has defied rules of physics. He acts with no equal but opposite
reaction force -- certainly not from western governments, who mechanically
voice strong condemnations in response to the latest brutal opposition
crackdown and then wonder aloud why its powerful neighbour South Africa,
doesn't just make the issue go away by itself.
Many patient observers were optimistic that Mugabe would hear a strong
message at the recent meeting of the South African Development Community in
Tanzania from perhaps the one man he takes seriously: South African
President Thabo Mbeki.

Instead, Mbeki and the other leaders of southern Africa called for an end to
all sanctions on Zimbabwe, and Mbeki made a vague commitment to "facilitate
dialogue" between the government and opposition groups in Zimbabwe.
Emboldened, less than 48 hours later Mugabe announced his intent to contest
the 2008 presidential elections.

Which leads to the latest policy proposal to get tough on Mugabe.

The federal government has so far refused to suspend diplomatic ties with
Zimbabwe. To be sure, such a move would inconvenience Canadians in Zimbabwe
by removing direct consular protection, as a spokesman for Foreign Affairs
Minister Peter MacKay noted.

But even this relatively minor drawback could be mitigated by outsourcing
consular services, a common practice for countries making a principled stand
for human rights. Consular services for Canadians in Myanmar (Burma), for
instance, are handled by the Australian embassy.

In dismissing calls to declare the ambassador from Zimbabwe in Ottawa
persona non grata, the Foreign Affairs spokesman noted that no other country
has done so. But for some government officials, exiled Zimbabweans, and
concerned citizens who want Canada to take the lead in ratcheting up the
pressure on a regime that commands acts of violence with seeming impunity,
the proposal's novelty doesn't make it any less necessary.

Or any less timely. The UK Times newspaper has reported 2,500 paramilitary
police from Angola known for their violent tactics will travel to Zimbabwe
this month to do Mugabe's bidding.

Refugees continue to flee Zimbabwe's borders for neighbouring countries or
places farther abroad, like Canada.

One need only look to Somalia to see what happens when violent forces
presume impunity, or to Lebanon, where former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik
Hariri was assassinated in February 2005. When not checked, other countries
become involved and the threat to regional stability grows.

In the years after Mugabe leaves office and a brighter future becomes a
possibility, they will remember who took the brave steps to make the day an
occasion for the celebration of freedom and accountability.

Daniel Morris is a Canadian living in New York, where he is program director
for a think-tank called the National Committee on American Foreign Policy

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Briton's Eq. Guinea extradition case hits visa snag


Mon 23 Apr 2007, 13:08 GMT

By Nelson Banya

HARARE, April 23 (Reuters) - Zimbabwean immigration authorities are refusing
to grant visas to key witnesses in the extradition case of a Briton accused
of plotting a coup in Equatorial Guinea, one of his lawyers said on Monday.

Former British special forces officer Simon Mann is being held at a top
security prison in Zimbabwe after a court convicted him in September 2004
for trying to purchase weapons without a licence.

Although Mann is due for early release for good behaviour on May 11, he is
fighting a bid by Equatorial Guinea to have him extradited to Malabo to face
charges of plotting to assassinate President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

Mann's lawyers said on Monday they had been unable to call a number of
international witnesses to the stand to show their client was likely to be
tortured if returned to the oil-rich western African nation.

"We had intended to call witnesses from the International Bar Association
(IBA) and Amnesty International (AI), but our efforts have been frustrated
by the immigration department," defence lawyer Jonathan Samkange told a
court in Harare.

The IBA and Amnesty International have been sharply critical of the justice
system in Equatorial Guinea.

Andrew Chigovera, Zimbabwe's former acting attorney general and a former
member of the African Commission for Human and People's Rights, testified on
Monday he had seen reports detailing alleged prisoner abuse and problems
with the justice system in Equatorial Guinea.

"The contents of the reports do not surprise me," Chigovera, a defense
witness, told the court. "As a former commissioner, I can say the reports
are not inconsistent with other reports we received relating to the justice
delivery system, civil and political rights in Equatorial Guinea."

Chigovera added Equatorial Guinea had not responded to any of the reports,
as was required by the commission.

Mann's hearing was adjourned until Tuesday to allow the state time to
investigate the charges that Zimbabwean authorities were impeding their case
and that Mann was too ill to be extradited.

Samkange produced documents on Monday that he argued showed Mann faced
"life-threatening complications" if he did not have a hernia operation.

Mann told the court last week that he feared being killed if returned to
Equatorial Guinea. The attorney general of the Equatorial Guinea, however,
said a death sentence would not be imposed on the Briton if found guilty at
a trial.

Sixty-six other defendants arrested with Mann after their plane stopped in
Harare served less than one year in jail after pleading guilty to charges of
violating Zimbabwe's immigration and civil aviation laws.

Eleven others, including a number of foreigners, are serving sentences
ranging from 13 to 34 years in jail in Equatorial Guinea in connection with
the coup plot.

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SADC energy ministers to meet in Zimbabwe

People's Daily

Energy ministers from the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) will
hold a five-day conference in Zimbabwean capital of Harare, which begins on

Zimbabwe's Ministry of Energy and Power Development will host the meeting to
look into ways of meeting the expected shortage of power this year.

On the agenda will also be increased use of gas and coal reserves in the
region, New Ziana reported on Sunday.

An official from the Zimbabwe Electrical Supply Authority said all
preparations are in place for this crucial energy meeting.

Southern Africa is expected to be hit by a shortage of electricity owing to
increased demand.

In Zimbabwe, the national power utility, ZESA, is already struggling to meet
demand for energy for both domestic and industrial use.

Source: Xinhua

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Mugabe's diamonds

Issued by:

International diamond experts have dubbed it the biggest diamond rush in
history. In the midst of political and economic turmoil, Zimbabwe has
recently discovered diamonds.

The discovery has provided an opportunity for those struggling to cope with
high unemployment and a crippled economy to make a quick fortune. However,
it is mainly corrupt officials that are illegally profiting from plundering
this precious natural resource.

The World Diamond Council wants Zimbabwe investigated for flouting the
Kimberley Process Certification Scheme governing trade in these gems. But
instead of effectively dealing with the problem, the Zimbabwean government
is accusing its critics of having hidden agendas. This despite it being
unable to account for diamonds worth US$ 400m.

Third Degree Producer, Peter Moyo, spent two weeks in Zimbabwe investigating
this illicit trade. He was arrested and later abducted by their Central
Intelligence operatives who said he was a national security threat. The crew's
camera equipment and footage were also seized.

This is a programme the Zimbabwean government did not want you to see - an
exclusive broadcast exposing damning evidence of Zimbabwe's illegal diamond
mining and smuggling.

In addition, Debora Patta and Peter Moyo trace this unlawful trade back to
South Africa and reveal how Moyo managed to escape Mugabe's media crackdown
to bring you the full story.

3rd Degree, Tuesday, 24 April at 8pm, on

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'Property Industry Remains Stagnant'

The Herald (Harare)

April 23, 2007
Posted to the web April 23, 2007


THE property industry remains stagnant as cautious investors are reluctant
to commit themselves in the face of the high inflation characterising the
country's economy, analysts have said.

With inflation soaring above 1 700 percent, the property sector has not been
spared with constant revaluation of properties by property owners and high
cost of building materials has made life extremely difficult for prospective
home owners.

A snap survey carried out by Herald Business revealed that over the past
year the property market, particularly residential properties, have remained
sluggish with buyers opting for completed buildings. This has been
attributed to low activity in the construction sector due to ever-increasing
costs of building materials and a high demand for residential properties by
Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora with a higher disposable income as
compared than those resident in country.

Property analyst Mr Tavenganiswa Mabikacheche said there was an acute
shortage of houses and flats to let which were contributing to the upward
movement in both rentals and prices for acquiring properties.

"The prices of properties is still going up, the demand is too high against
a very low supply side. And the other problem is the price versus the
salaries people are getting which does not justify them to get loans to buy

"Those who can buy houses without a loan can only do so in high to medium
density suburbs, upmarket areas are too way beyond their salaries," he said.

Another property analyst and Fairvest Estate Agent spokesperson, Mr Moses
Mazibiye concurred with Mr Mabikacheche saying the property industry has
since the beginning of the year remained subdued with prospects of recovery
remaining weak on the back of the increasing inflation.

He added that the property market has been playing second fiddle to other
investment vehicles such as the stock market and the trend is likely to
continue throughout the year with the majority of funds going into equities.

"Should rates continue to be firm, funds would be kept away form brick and
mortar. People are opting for the stock market, it has been more active.

"Completed houses normally sell especially in high density areas, but over
the past two weeks activity has also been quite low because the Zimbabwean
dollar has been gaining," said Mr Mazibiye.

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