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Mugabe 'Ready to Quit'

Sunday Times (Johannesburg)

April 27, 2003
Posted to the web April 26, 2003


RANJENI MUNUSAMY and Sunday Times Foreign Desk

PRESIDENT Thabo Mbeki, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Malawi's
Bakili Muluzi are to visit their Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe, in
the next few weeks to work out an exit plan for the ageing leader.

In an interview with the Zimbabwean state broadcaster this week, Mugabe
hinted that he was considering stepping down because the land issue had been
dealt with. He said there was nothing wrong with people openly debating

The Sunday Times has learnt that an agreement was reached to reschedule a
meeting between Mbeki, Obasanjo, Muluzi and Mugabe to discuss the matter.

The new date has not yet been set.

High-ranking South African officials say the three presidents want to "keep
the momentum going" following Mugabe's "very positive signals this week".

Among other issues, the leaders are to work out a "safe exit plan" and
immunity from prosecution for alleged human rights abuses committed during
Mugabe's 23-year rule.

Mugabe is said to be particularly worried about the Matabeleland massacres
during the 1980s.

The widely broadcast interview was the first direct indication that he wants
to retire.

"We are getting to a stage where we shall say fine, we settled this matter
[land redistribution] and people can retire," said Mugabe.

Earlier this year, signals of a retirement strategy surfaced following
reports that parliamentary speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa had discussed the
matter with the MDC.

Zanu-PF sources say Mugabe is anxious about the repercussions of his
departure. "He wants to leave but his personal security fears, the fate of
his family and property, his party's simmering succession problem . . . are
his main obstacles," a senior party source said.

Local human rights groups have also been fuelling his apprehension by
calling for his prosecution. And Tsvangirai says Mugabe's personal security,
after he relinquishes power, can only be guaranteed in the context of a
negotiated settlement of the Zimbabwe crisis.

But in a rare conciliatory move, Mugabe said he was prepared to talk to
Tsvangirai if he dropped his court challenge to the election results.

Brian Raftopoulos, a political analyst at the University of Zimbabwe , said
this showed Mugabe was willing to go.

"He appears ready to go now. This is because he has no solution to the
political and economic crisis the country is facing ," Raftopoulos said.

In response to a question put to Mugabe during the interview as to whether
he was concerned about Obasanjo's efforts to get him to step down, and
Mbeki's criticism of human rights abuses, he said: "Their stance is
consistent, they believe the elections were valid. They believe the
government here is legitimate. And they know we are supported by the
majority of the people.

"We know the thinking of the ANC, and the thinking of the President [Mbeki]
. . . There is interaction at various levels."

Mugabe denounced "clandestine groupings" manoeuvring to take over. He said
he was aware that his lieutenants were looking beyond him and plotting for a
final assault on power.

Three groups are already scrambling for power in anticipation of Mugabe's
exit. Retired army general Solomon Mujuru, Zanu-PF secretary for
administration Mnangagwa and Information Minister Jonathan Moyo are seen as
the individuals heading the three factions.
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Sunday Times (SA)

Strike sends Mugabe a strong message

Sunday Times foreign Desk

The three-day Zimbabwean strike that ended on Friday shifted the balance of
power in local politics and set alarm bells ringing for President Robert

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary-general Wellington Chibhebhe
said that his organisation's stayaway in protest against massive fuel price
hikes revealed a surging tide of popular anger about the country's political
and economic crisis.

The stayaway was widely followed, with the ZCTU claiming that 90% of the
country's 600 000 labour force stayed at home. Most shops in Harare's
central business district closed, although some small businesses remained

Chibhebhe said that the strike showed that the government was losing its
grip on the situation, while the unions and opposition groups were gaining
clout. "The strike showed the ZCTU has muscle and that people have reached
their elastic limit," he said.

But Chibhebhe said the unions were not afraid of a government backlash. "We
know there is going to be a lot of retribution but we are prepared for the
consequences. People are committed to emancipate themselves."

Until recently, Mugabe appeared to be firmly in charge, but the strike
indicated his influence could be rapidly diminishing.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which backed the stayaway,
now seems to be stealing the march on Mugabe's Zanu-PF.

ZCTU officials met yesterday to review the situation, and leaders from the
militant labour movement, which represents about 250 000 workers, agreed to
embark on further action against the government to force it to tackle
Zimbabwe's dire problems.

Government authorities reacted to the stayaway with a mixture of threats,
denials and conciliatory measures.

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo was one who adopted a combative position.
"In the interests of the rule of law, relevant authorities in government are
compiling data on those industries that have illegally locked out workers
for reasons that are manifestly political and have done so at great cost to
many other third parties," he said.

He added that companies and those who participated in the mass action would
be punished.

The government also threatened to withdraw permits of transport operators
who grounded their fleets during the strike.

On Friday Mugabe maintained Moyo's hardline stance when he said: "Our
enemies today seek desperately to divide and weaken us and to plunge this
country back into the dungeon of colonialism and imperialism."

He warned the MDC, which he said had "clearly proven to be lawless and
deviant, but more dangerously, an embodiment of violence and terrorism".

On the same day, armed police raided MDC headquarters in Harare and arrested
more than 30 people. Those arrested included the party's director of
security, Tendai Nyamushayi.

The government also adopted conciliatory measures by fixing urban public
transport fares and raising the level of minimum wages. However, the unions
dismissed this as piecemeal appeasement measures.
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No barter trade in Zimbabwe's tobacco this year: minister
Source: Xinhua News Agency -

Intro: Zimbabwe's Finance and Economic Development Minister Herbert Murerwa
said here Tuesday that no barter deals involving tobacco would be
accommodated during this year's tobacco selling season as the government
wants to realize foreign currency up-front.
He made the remarks at a function to officially open the 2003 tobacco
selling season in Harare, capital of Zimbabwe.

Murerwa said considering the level of support given to the tobacco sector by
the government through such measures as the new export retention scheme, the
20 percent retention scheme, availing of Agriculture Bonds and encouragement
of contract farming, the government expected more tobacco output in the
coming season.
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     Zimbabwean tobacco industry lays off workers
      Source: Xinhua News Agency - CEIS]

      Intro: Hundreds of workers in Zimbabwe's tobacco industry have been
laid off ahead of the start of the tobacco selling season on April 23, a
move said to be related to a projected reduction in the volume of the crop
to be sold this year.
      Industry sources said here Wednesday that some sections of the
industry opposed to the land reform program were projecting a decrease in
the volume of tobacco to be auctioned this year.
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Daily News

      ZCTU rejects new pay hikes

      4/26/03 10:30:52 PM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporters

      The three-day stayaway ended yesterday with the ZCTU dismissing as
meaningless the new monthly minimum wages announced by the government on

      Agricultural workers are to be paid a minimum of $23 070 a month,
employees in the agro-industry and horticulture sectors $42 168, and those
in industry and commerce $47 696.

      July Moyo, the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare,
said the new scales were agreed between the government and employers in the
Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) on Thursday.

      The ZCTU did not attend the meeting as it pulled out of the TNF on
Wednesday last week in protest against last week's fuel price increases of
up to 350 percent, which triggered the stayaway.

      The ZCTU said it would only rejoin the TNF if the government reversed
the fuel price increases.

      In a statement yesterday, Lovemore Chibhebhe, the ZCTU
secretary-general, said the new minimum wages were only valid up to February
this year and did not take account of the fuel price increases. He said the
new wages were still far below the Poverty Datum Line (PDL) which stood at
$53 029,10 in March.

      Chibhebhe said: "The minimum wages will only go a short way in
cushioning the workers against price increases of basic commodities.

      "This is only a fire-fighting measure by the government, which is
trying to hoodwink workers into believing that they are committed to
addressing the plight of the workers when, in fact, the government is just
trying to protect itself from the harsh reality that it has failed to
protect the workers suffering from its skewed economic policies."

      Lovemore Matombo, the ZCTU president, said the ZCTU stood by its
assessment that $125 000 was now the realistic PDL.Anthony Mandiwanza, the
president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, said the business
community believed the majority of workers should be cushioned from the
spiralling cost of living.

      He said: "Certainly, as business we are sympathetic to the plight of
workers and believe something has to be done."

      The ZCTU described the stayaway as a resounding success as The Daily
News continued to receive reports that State security agents were forcing
businesses to open yesterday.

      Matombo said: "This is one of the best responses we have ever had,
considering the environment we are operating in and that people are being
forced to open their businesses."

      He said the ZCTU's general council would meet next week to decide on
the next course of action.

      He said: "We will advise the workers on the action and the timing. We
know the government is going to use heavy-handed methods to try and stop

      In Harare yesterday, long queues were the norm outside banks as people
withdrew money from ATMs. Most businesses remained closed.

      In Bulawayo, some of the eight ZCTU executive members and officials
arrested on Wednesday were released without charge. The others were expected
to appear in court late yesterday.

      Frustrated residents who found the banks closed in Bulawayo,
telephoned The Daily News office asking when the stayaway would end.

      Public transport remained a problem as commuter bus operators kept
their vehicles off the roads.

      In Mutare, a number of Dangamvura residents claimed soldiers went
around beerhalls beating up patrons on Thursday night. Most businesses
remained closed.

      While banks remained closed for the third day yesterday, it was almost
business as usual in Gweru after State security agents reportedly ordered
most retailers to open.

      Police officers and members of the CIO allegedly went door-to-door
ordering shop owners to open or face unspecified action.

      An official at the OK Supermarket said: "They moved from door-to-door
collecting the contact telephone numbers of managers and later ordered the
managers to reopen their shops without fail."

      Eight ZCTU activists arrested on Wednesday were still detained at
Gweru Central Police Station. They had not been charged and their lawyer,
Reginald Chidawanyika, was battling to have them released.

      In Masvingo, it was business as usual after soldiers forced businesses
to open on Thursday.
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      Daily News

      Zimbabwe urged to end the torture of opponents

      4/26/03 11:07:13 PM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      The world has been urged to take "stern measures" against President
Mugabe's government over the widespread torture of its political opponents.

      The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT)
said in a statement the government should restore the rule of law and stop
torturing opposition members.

      The IRCT urged the international community to take stern measures
against the government to curb the torture of opposition supporters.

      The statement said: "The acts of torture and other violence taking
place in Zimbabwe is in clear violation of the UN Convention Against Torture
which defines torture as 'severe pain and suffering intentionally inflicted
with a purpose by a State official or another acting with the acquiescence
of the State'."

      At least 250 people reportedly received emergency treatment at
different hospitals in Harare last month after their alleged torture by
state agents and others allied to the ruling party.

      This followed a crackdown on MDC members and officials accused of
organising a two-day stayaway last month in protest against the
deteriorating economic and human rights situation in the country.

      The IRCT called on the international community to "make
representations to the government of Zimbabwe urging that the government
immediately take all necessary measures to restore the rule of law in
Zimbabwe and bring to justice those responsible for the acts of torture and
violence taking place".

      "A further violation is the obstruction to medical and psychological
rehabilitation for victims of torture by the Mugabe regime.

      "The IRCT's partner centre, Amani Trust, has been forced to suspend
all operations in support of torture victims due to harassment and threats
together with the arrest and subsequent release of the medical director, Dr
Frances Lovemore."

      The organisation implored the international community to request the
Zimbabwe government to allow victims of all violence to receive medical and
psychological treatment.

      A report prepared by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said the
violence recorded in the wake of the 18-19 March stayaway was "more
organised than we have seen in the past".

      "These attacks are indicative of a systematic trend of brutal
retaliation against dissent," the report said. "The lives of many
Zimbabweans are at serious risk if this level of State-organised violence
and torture is maintained or increased."

      The victims said their assailants were policemen, soldiers and Zanu PF
      One victim, Tonderai Machiridza, an MDC activist, died at the Avenues
Clinic on Friday last week after he was allegedly tortured by the police in

      A government pathologist said "the deceased was assaulted and died of
multiple injuries, shock and pneumonia".

      In other cases, Job Sikhala, the MP for St Mary's and Gabriel Shumba,
a human rights lawyer, were severely tortured in January by State agents who
accused them of burning a Zupco bus in the Willowvale industrial area.

      Shumba subsequently fled into exile.
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Daily News

      Botswana legislators call for tougher stance on Mugabe

      4/26/03 11:16:28 PM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo

      The Botswana government is under pressure from some of its MPs to take
a tougher stance against President Mugabe, blaming him for the influx of
illegal Zimbabwean migrants into their country.

      According to media reports from Botswana, the MPs said the
deteriorating socio-political and economic situation in Zimbabwe was having
a knock-on impact on their country.

      They said the number of illegal migrants fleeing hunger and political
persecution was increasing.

      They reportedly condemned the victimisation of border jumpers by
Botswana's Special Support Group, saying it was Mugabe who deserved to be
punished instead.

      The state-owned Daily News reported that Chapson Butale, the MP for
North-East and other legislators, were putting pressure on President Festus
Mogae to denounce Mugabe and urge him to address the crisis in his country.

      The paper reported: "Some local MPs have called on the government to
urge Mugabe to restore order in Zimbabwe and contain the illegal influx of
Zimbabweans into Botswana."

      The MPs expressed their concern during a recent session of Parliament.

      "We are punishing the victims instead of the man who caused all this,"
said Butale.

      "Let us take on the Zimbabwe government because that is where the
problem lies." Mompati Merafhe, Botswana's Foreign Affairs and International
Co-operation Minister, was reported to have reiterated:
      "We want to be constructively engaged with Zimbabwe because the
country is our important neighbour and we believe our interests can be best
served if we maintain a healthy dialogue."

      The Daily News reported Merafhe was reacting to reports that the
United States government was urging Harare's neighbours to mount pressure on
Mugabe to pave the way for fresh elections by handing over power to a
transitional government.

      An unnamed US official was quoted by the French news agency, recently
as saying: "What we are telling them (Zimbabwe's neighbours) is that there
has to be a transitional government in Zimbabwe that will lead to a free and
fair internationally supervised elections."

      President Mugabe has previously dismissed such calls.
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Daily News

      Dos Santos to meet Mugabe over crisis

      4/26/03 11:18:53 PM (GMT +2)

      ANGOLAN President Jose Eduardo dos Santos is expected to discuss with
President Mugabe next week the growing concerns by regional leaders on the
Zimbabwean crisis when he arrives to officially open the Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair (ZITF) 2003 in Bulawayo.

      Angola, the current Sadc chairman, is spearheading a task force
mandated by regional leaders to look into the worsening socio-economic and
political situation in Zimbabwe, and eventually find ways to resolve the
current crisis in which half the population is facing starvation.

      During his short visit to the country this week, Joao Bernardo
Miranda, the Angolan Foreign Minister, said Dos Santos would discuss the
Zimbabwean crisis with Mugabe .

      Although Sadc leaders endorsed Mugabe's controversial re-election in
March last year, there has been growing concern among them over Mugabe's
increasingly autocratic style of governance.

      Several MDC leaders and supporters have been illegally detained,
allegedly tortured, raped and murdered as Mugabe tightens his grip on power.
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Daily News

      Police bar MDC victory celebrations

      4/26/03 11:20:31 PM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE police yesterday barred the MDC from holding its victory
celebrations in Kuwadzana and Highfield and ordered the party to re-schedule
them after the May Day celebrations.

      Derek Madharani, the MDC provincial organising secretary for
Kuwadzana, and Tachiveyi Pearson Mungofa, the MP-elect for Highfield, said
they wrote to the police on Tuesday for permission to hold the celebrations
this weekend.

      The police responded the following day.

      Madharani applied on behalf of Nelson Chamisa, the Kuwadzana MP-elect.
But the police, turning down the application, wrote back:
      "Not approved. Convener to re-schedule meeting after May Day." The
response was issued by the officer commanding Harare South at Southern
police station.

      The victory celebrations for Kuwadzana were scheduled for today while
those for Highfield were to have been held tomorrow at Zimbabwe Grounds.

      The party retained the seats after bruising campaigns against Zanu PF.
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Daily News

      Love knows no political boundaries

      4/26/03 11:22:38 PM (GMT +2)

      By Brian Mangwend Chief Reporter

            In what could be a classical case of star-crossed lovers, the MDC's
Lovemore Moyo, the MP for Matobo, tied the knot with Nokuthula, the daughter
of a senior Zanu PF official, on 19 April.

      Nokuthula, 26, is the daughter of Sithembiso Nyoni, the Minister of
Small and Medium Enterprises Development.

      Nyoni is a member of Zanu PF's politburo.

      The groom said the wedding was attended by over 1 500 guests,
including senior Zanu PF and MDC officials at a private function in

      The Zanu PF and MDC stalwarts reportedly shelved their political
differences as they celebrated and congratulated the newly-weds.

      Nokuthula is Ndebele for peace - and joyous peace there was as
supporters of the two bitter political rivals mingled and shared jokes
during the wedding ceremony in Bulawayo, an MDC stronghold.

      Guests included senior Zanu PF officials Dumiso Dabengwa, Pearson
Mbalekwa, Victor Chitongo and Moyo's father-in-law Peter Baka Nyoni, a
columnist with the State-controlled Chronicle newspaper in Bulawayo.

      Also in attendance was Gibson Sibanda, the MDC vice-president,
secretary-general Welshman Ncube, and Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, the Mayor of
Bulawayo, among others.

      Moyo, 38, said: "I invited them in their individual capacities and not
as politicians. In fact, my feeling is to keep this relationship out of

      "I have been going out with Nokuthula for the past four years, long
before the MDC was formed. I never visualised my relationship beyond love.

      "There was no politics at the wedding and it went well."

      Moyo's best man was Hosea Nico Kaiyamo, a Namibian MP and member of
the ruling SWAPO.

      Moyo's mother-in-law said: "It was a good day. However, this is a
private family affair and I do not want it politicised. Please forgive me,
but I would not want to comment on it. That is why journalists were not

      The couple tied the knot at The Brethren In Christ Church on 19 April,
followed by a lavish reception the next day at The Amphitheatre in Bulawayo
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Daily News

      Tough positions rule out Mugabe, Tsvangirai talks

      4/26/03 11:24:04 PM (GMT +2)

      By Brian Mangwende Chief Reporter

      MORGAN Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, said yesterday he would only meet
President Mugabe to discuss the country's crisis if there were no

      But this seems highly unlikely as Mugabe has demanded Tsvangirai
recognise him as the legitimate leader of the country.

      During an interview on ZBC/TV last week, Mugabe said he would meet
Tsvangirai on condition he recognised him as Head of State.

      But Tsvangirai said: "I am prepared to meet Mugabe any time anywhere,
but without any pre-conditions.

      "His legitimacy is the source of the dispute and if we remove that,
where is the dispute? It must be made clear that we are for dialogue, but
not under his conditions. We can't accept that."

      Mugabe was re-elected last March in a disputed poll amid allegations
of massive State-sponsored human rights abuses including violence,
intimidation, muzzling of the Press, torture, murder, rape and repression of

      But the Sadc countries endorsed his re-election, although it was
declared not free and fair and null and void by the international community.

      This subsequently led to the freezing of overseas assets and travel
bans against Mugabe and 77 senior Zanu PF and government officials,
including Mugabe's wife Grace, known to spend millions on shopping sprees
when abroad.

      It later emerged that Tobaiwa Mudede, the Registrar-General, could
have inflated the figures on the voters' roll to give Mugabe an unfair
advantage over the threat to his 23-year rule by Tsvangirai.

      During the interview to mark 23 years of independence on ZBC/TV,
Mugabe asked: "Is Tsvangirai prepared to recognise me before I can meet him?
He doesn't accept I am the President of the country. And there is no
starting point."

      But Tsvangirai, in an interview with The Daily News, said: "He is
putting conditions to make it difficult for us to meet. We can also put
conditions, but where will that take us? What will we have done?

      "Mugabe is doing this for his personal interest and not for the
benefit of the nation. Mugabe says recognise me first before dialogue. Lets'
meet and discuss the crisis we are currently facing instead, and let's not
waffle around the issue of personal interest."

      Meanwhile, Tsvangirai said he outlined the problems Zimbabwe was
facing to Joao Bernardo Miranda, the Angolan Foreign Minister heading the
Sadc Task Force mission on Zimbabwe.

      Miranda, who left the country on Thursday, was on an official visit
ahead of the task force expected to arrive soon.

      Tsvangirai said: "Basically he wanted to know from the MDC what we
thought the way forward was to resolve the national crisis. I outlined the
crisis and told him that it started about three years ago when elections
were rigged. Since then the country has never been the same.

      "I explained to him why the Zanu PF/MDC talks collapsed and made it
clear that we were for dialogue, but not under Mugabe's conditions.

      "He made it clear that the current stand-off between ourselves was
adversely affecting the region."
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Winnie's case shows Mbeki is tough on corruption

      4/26/03 10:50:00 PM (GMT +2)

      THE South African government seems to be serious in its fight against
corruption in high places, if the sentencing of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
and her broker on dozens of counts of fraud and theft on Thursday is
anything to go by.

      Yesterday, a court sentenced Madikizela-Mandela to five years in jail
with one year suspended, a day after her conviction.

      The prosecution had said a jail sentence was appropriate, but said the
court should consider her age.

      It was the latest blow for a politician called "the Mother of the
Nation" for her fight against apartheid during her former husband Nelson
Mandela's 27 years in jail.

      She was found guilty on 43 counts of fraud and 25 of theft. Her broker
was convicted on 58 counts of fraud and 25 of theft.

      Though Madikizela-Mandela remains popular among the poor, her
reputation has been tarnished by a series of legal problems. The most
serious was her conviction in 1991 of kidnapping and being an accessory to
assault in connection with the death of Stompie Seipei, 14, a township

      Her six-year jail sentence was reduced to a fine on appeal.

      On being sentenced yesterday, Madikizela-Mandela immediately resigned
from parliament and from her post as the head of the Women's League of the
ruling African National Congress.

      She becomes the second high-ranking ANC member to be jailed, following
Tony Yengeni's imprisonment for four years for fraud in a case seen as a
test of the government's commitment in the fight against corruption.

      Yengeni, the former ANC parliamentary chief whip, admitted defrauding
parliament and was acquitted on a more serious charge of corruption last
February, after cutting a deal with the state when his defence team pulled

      Yengeni, like Madikizela-Mandela, resigned his parliamentary seat
earlier last month.

      The former anti-apartheid guerrilla leader resigned as chief whip in
2002 over another scandal. Although Yengeni protested his innocence, there
was no government interference with the judiciary to absolve him of any
wrongdoing, as has become common this side of the Limpopo.

      Zimbabwe's economy is limping along because of people set free even if
they are guilty of corruption and fraud. Take the National Oil Company of
Zimbabwe case, for instance.

      Many managers in that State-owned fuel procurement outfit have
appeared in court facing extremely serious charges, but nothing has been
done to them. This is despite the existence of the Prevention of Corruption

      Many prominent businessmen and politicians have been arrested or tried
under that Act, but few have been convicted.

      Only a handful have resigned on their own when the scandals surfaced.
That, to Zanu PF, is enough prosecution. They do not continue investigations
once a minister accused or embroiled in graft steps down.

      To the people that is just not enough. The long arm of the law should
be allowed to take its inexorable course.

      But the reason for the inaction is simple. The top politicians
interfere with the judicial process. Examples abound of this interference.
Professionals like axed Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay and the
Attorney-General, Andrew Chigovera, who has been pressured to resign, are
living proof that Zanu PF leaders do not accept the rule of law. These two
high-ranking officials were forced out because Zanu PF found them
unyielding. Their victimisation gives the lie to any attempts by Presidents
Thabo Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo to make the world believe things are back
to normal in Zimbabwe.

      If anything, the situation is deteriorating by the day. The country
has no foreign currency, fuel, basic essentials and the rule of law has been
overtaken by lawlessness - all because of corruption, nepotism, cronyism,
mismanagement and ineptitude.

      Whatever his faults, Mbeki shows he is firmly committed to the fight
against corruption - unlike his counterpart this side of the Limpopo.
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Does Zanu PF prefer dead enemies to live friends?

      4/26/03 10:52:41 PM (GMT +2)

      By Magari Mandebvu

      Have you noticed that the most praised, most loyal members of Zanu PF
are the deceased?

      Joshua Nkomo was a rival, sometimes persecuted, sometimes feared,
sometimes only suspected by them, but even they allowed him the title
"Father Zimbabwe" when he had safely gone to that rest from which he cannot
disturb the praise-singers of the party, its policies and its Great Leader.

      There was Herbert Chitepo before him. We all know not everyone in the
leadership loved him while he was alive, and we've all heard that Josiah
Tongogara had a different interpretation of "reconciliation" from that which
prevailed after his untimely departure, yet their names too are used to
support the current line.

      Even Border Gezi, energetically loyal to them as he was, only achieved
his almost mythical status when he was safely under the earth.

      The way those have been used is sometimes tragic, sometimes comical,
but the latest attempt to co-opt a dead figure shows particularly well how
bad Zanu PF are at dealing with the living.

      We heard last week a leader chanting the praises of the late
Archbishop Patrick Chakaipa, but he did it at such length that the bishops
and senior clergy, who would have liked to pay their own tribute to a
revered church leader and dear colleague, could not get a word in if the
burial was to be completed by sundown as custom demands.

      Once he was on stage, that speaker could not resist the temptation to
insult a living bishop who was actually present.

      Doesn't he remember how Ian Smith, by attacking Bishop Donal Lamont,
strengthened the wavering Catholic bishops against himself? Doesn't he
remember simple good manners?

      When the mourners eventually got the body of their beloved archbishop
away for burial, they found the cemetery had been surrounded by armed men in
uniform as if it was an army camp or an opposition political rally. That
doesn't help people to mourn and feel they have relieved some of their grief
before they go away.

      Even worse, those armed men started harassing another bishop, Patrick
Mutume from Mutare, as soon as he arrived at the cemetery. He was in the car
immediately following the hearse.

      Armed police rudely refused to let his car follow the hearse into the
graveyard and, when he quietly tried to park it nearby, they shouted at him
that he was not allowed to park there.

      Being a polite and Christian man, he protested gently and, seeing that
was no use, asked a young priest to put the car where the police wanted it
while he hurried to his place by the graveside.

      A religious sister who followed him to his first parking place was not
so tolerant or polite. When policemen shouted roughly at her to move her
car, she quite rightly asked them how they could give orders in that manner
"in our place, not yours", and refused to move her car from where she had
put it, on the roadside out of the way of other traffic.

      What had the bishop and the sister done wrong?

      They had not recognised that the imminent arrival of the Great Leader
was considered by his minions to give them total control over everyone in
the area.

      One result of all this was that, as soon as the Great Leader himself
arrived, the crowd of people who had been waiting three hours and now were
tired and impatient, began to troop away. They did not go in the mood one
hopes to achieve by attending a funeral. The air was full of their quiet,
unspoken anger.

      Another bishop left in such quiet but deep anger that he could hardly
greet anyone and this probably helped to cause the crash on his way home in
which his car was badly damaged, but fortunately nobody was hurt.

      We have seen all this often enough before. When Zanu PF try to make
friends and influence people, they show that they don't understand
friendship and are only able to influence people to turn against them.

      The "unity accord" with PF-Zapu may have offered a few Cabinet posts
to the leaders, but it offered nothing to the masses of their followers, not
even a symbolic bandage on the wounds left by Gukurahundi.

      We heard talk of "co-operation between Church and State" at the City
Sports Centre and stories that another leader had offered to use Catholic
material on moral education in all schools, but we all know by now that the
only co-operation Zanu PF understands is the co-operation of the rider and
his horse - as long as Zanu PF is the rider.

      Sometimes they have worn soft gloves as they tried to get an iron grip
on some person or organisation, but last week they showed that their soft
gloves are wearing very thin and don't even fit well any more.

      True, some leaders of the Catholic Church have been too friendly with
the thugs who now run Zanu PF, but even they must have been put off by what
they saw and heard at what should have been a sad and solemn occasion for
the whole family of their church.

      Some of them may even have been reminded how bodies such as the
Zimbabwe Football Association and Dynamos Football Club have gone downhill
since they were drawn into "co-operation" with Zanu PF. However pro-Zanu PF
they may have been, they would not want to see the same happen to their

      Zanu PF's leaders need to be reminded there is a proverb (is it
English or Chinese?) that says: "You catch more flies with a teaspoon of
honey than a bucket of vinegar." Maybe they think we are all so sickened and
embittered by their vinegar that it is too late for them to change.

      Magari Mandebvu is a social and political commentator
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Daily News
Fuel price hike pushes prices up

4/26/03 10:29:21 PM (GMT +2)

Business Reporter

THE negative effects of last week’s fuel price increases are beginning to be manifested in the soaring price of most basic commodities.

A survey conducted by The Business Daily showed that the fuel price rises had immediately caused a cost-push impact on most agricultural commodities.

The price of cabbages had increased by 83 percent inside seven days from $300 to $550.

Supply had been dampened by increases in transport costs and the fuel crisis, widening the mismatch between demand and supply.

Government increased the price of unleaded petrol from $176,53 a litre to $500, while leaded petrol rose to $450 from $145. A litre of diesel shot from $119,43 to $200. Below is a table of the scarce commodities still available in leading supermarkets in and around Harare.

 Standard loaf of bread        
last week no stock no stock no stock no stock
this week no stock no stock no stock no stock
10kg Roller meal        
last week no stock no stock no stock no stock
this week no stock no stock no stock no stock
Key bar soap        
last week $533,00 $525,00    $488,50 $497,50
this week $497,95  $497,95  $497,95 $497,50
125g Geisha soap        
last week $251,50 $251,50 $249,20 $243,50 
this week $243,80 $243,80 $243,80 $243,50
100ml Colgate        
last week $1 430,00 $611,00 $1 570,00 $1 525,50
this week $1 525,95 $1 507,95 $1 596,00 $1 525,50
2kg white sugar        
last week no stock no stock no stock no stock
this week no stock no stock no stock no stock
3kg salt        
last week   no stock no stock no stock no stock
this week no stock no stock no stock $691,00
750 ml cooking oil        
last week   no stock no stock no stock $1 640,00
this week no stock no stock no stock no stock
500g Stork Spread        
last week   $622,00   $590,00  no stock      $506,03
this week  no stock      $506,03   no stock      $506,03
1 bundle rape        
last week   $75,00  $52,00     no stock    no stock   
this week no stock    no stock    no stock    no stock   
last week  $285,00   no stock    $550,00 ` no stock   
this week no stock    $308,00  $399,00 no stock   
1l fresh milk        
last week  no stock  no stock  no stock  no stock 
this week no stock  no stock  no stock  no stock

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Daily News

      Agency to introduce irrigation schemes in Binga

      4/26/03 10:35:00 PM (GMT +2)

      From Oscar Nkala in Binga

      THE Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA) will next month
introduce individual irrigation schemes as part of its drought relief
programme in the Lubimbi area of Binga.

      Under the scheme, a farmer will be given a drip irrigation kit capable
of covering one hundred square metres of irrigated land.

      The programme has been sponsored to the tune of $50 million through
ADRA Zimbabwe by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

      Marko Ngwenya, the country director of ADRA Zimbabwe, announced the
new programme when he addressed about 6 000 villagers who had gathered at
Lubimbi Business Centre to receive relief aid.

      "The target is to give every farmer a nutrition garden where they can
also embark on winter farming projects," he said. ADRA Zimbabwe is the
Seventh Day Adventist church-run relief agency which operates in 71
countries and is funded by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

      It started distributing relief aid in Binga in September last year and
runs a similar programme in the Matobo district of Matabeleland.

      Ngwenya said the programme would be implemented under an international
programme, Linkages for the Advancement of Economically Disadvantaged Areas.
A pilot project will be launched with the participation of 80 farmers who
live close to water sources.

      He said: "The farmers will have to be approved as competent by AREX
officials. They should also be beneficiaries of our current relief
programmes and should also be taking care of children orphaned by Aids.

      "We want to roll out our anti-Aids action into this programme."

      About 4 000 people in Lubimbi's ward 20 received double their monthly
allocations of maize-meal, sugar beans and cooking oil ahead of the expiry
of the organisation's food distribution licence this month.

      Ngwenya said ADRA Zimbabwe would apply for the renewal of the
distribution licence since hunger and starvation continued to stalk the

      Said Ngwenya: "We will apply for a renewal of our distribution licence
since the food situation is still bad.

      "We hope to be back by June to carry on with the feeding programme."

      Addressing the same gathering, Chief Kavula of Lubimbi and ward
councillor, Sikhumbuzo Tshuma, said: "Hunger still exists in our area. The
drought and rogue animals destroyed the crops which we hoped to harvest in
the just-ended season. We desperately need food aid."
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Daily News


      Mugabe now irrelevant to Zimbabwe's future

      4/26/03 10:55:40 PM (GMT +2)

      I WOULD like to respond to Alexander Kanengoni's article One-hundred
days with Robert Mugabe (The Daily News, 12 April, 2003).

      I am not a white man, neither am I British nor an MDC apologist.

      I am just one very hurt Zimbabwean whose father died for the cause of
the liberation struggle.

      His war name was D K (Dhumadhuma Kwakwakwa), meaning when they met
with the Rhodesian forces they would exchange fire and not run away. He
operated in the Mberengwa area where people around Vhutsanana or Maranda are
full of praise when they hear his name.

      He later became Captain Gilbert Mhlanga in the army. He retired to
Mutoko where he established himself as a businessman with a flair to develop
the community and the country at large.

      He taught me the importance of being patriotic not to a particular
party, but to the nation as a whole. My father was my hero, my guru and my

      However, when he died after some 23 years in the army and a heroic
period in the liberation struggle, he had not come to see the fruits of his
sacrifices and no honour was given to him by President Mugabe or his

      To give Mugabe such importance to a crying nation, a bleeding economic
situation and a starved people is betrayal.

      Exonerating him and his government from their wrongdoings is
treasonous and misplaced. Mugabe, as the President, is responsible for the
economic meltdown, rising inflation and high unemployment.

      Any successful country will owe its prosperity to sound governing
policies enacted by the government that runs the country. Individuals cannot
be held to blame emanating from unsound economic policies devised by a "war

      Who is to blame for the fuel crisis that has crippled the industry? Is
it not the Noczim scandal? Who is to blame for the breakdown of the rule of
law in this country? Is it not the relevant ministry led by Mugabe's

      Mugabe's relevance as a leader has not only outlived its usefulness,
but is also put to great test because his failures are just too many to

      I, however, understand where Kanengoni's praise for Mugabe comes from.

      It is important he gained respect for him in the past. He was very
relevant to that situation - a war situation.

      It is also important to note that Mugabe was calm even when things got
out of hand and that he held dreams of equal opportunities for everyone
regardless of skin colour, age or birth.

      It is also important to note that the politics of that time was in
need of such characters and that land was the only asset our then backward
parents ever wanted. They believed that life comes from land - which is not
further from the truth.

      However, the political situation of any country is in a state of lux,
it is ever changing in shape, position and even temperature.

      What worked then will not work today and what was solely important
then, although still important today, does not remain the only important
agenda in Zimbabwean politics today.

      Politicians should not draw power from the past to rule the future.
What I am saying is it will be unjust to shake off Mugabe from the political
landscape of Zimbabwe because he is of importance, but to continue to praise
him even in the face of all the wrongs he has done will not only be
insensitive, but silly.

      We need to understand that even if land is important, so is industry
and the people. We can't allow industry to suffer for the benefit of land
redistribution, allow the people to starve, be displaced, killed, maimed
and/or raped in the name of land redistribution.

      We cannot suppress the people's voices because Mugabe, who was a
relevant leader
      23 years ago, still wants to be praised today.

      I am afraid that we have failed to see the Mugabe that Kanengoni spent
100 days with through his eyes. In as much as Mugabe is important to
Zimbabwe's history, he is irrelevant to its future.

      Now we need a new leadership that understands the forces of an open
market, a competent educational system and politics of the global village.

      We are no longer in a war situation so we don't need generals and
people with roots of war strongly imbedded in them to lead us.

      Blessed Mhlanga
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Zimbabwe tour can put focus on human rights
By Andy Flower  (Filed: 27/04/2003)

     Zimbabwe tour details

It was with much relief that I boarded the plane to leave Zimbabwe. I know
that this is probably not the most flattering thing to say about one's
country but that is exactly how I felt.

I went back there for a week after the World Cup had ended for us in East
London. Some thought I was mad to do so after Henry Olonga and I had made
our black-armband protest against Robert Mugabe's regime, but I had to. I am
keeping my house there and there were many things to organise and a number
of friends to whom I wanted to say a proper goodbye.

I did feel a little worried after the threats that Henry and I had received
but nothing happened and I can now start my new life, six months here
playing for Essex and six months playing for South Australia, with my wife
and three children. It will be a great adventure for us all.

I have not ruled out returning to Zimbabwe one day because I believe that it
can again be a wonderful place to live. But there will have to be a great
deal of change in both the Zimbabwean leadership and my family (ie my

My parents will definitely not be returning. Their life is now in England.
That leaves just my brother, Grant, in Zimbabwe to fend for himself. Playing
cricket for Zimbabwe is his life and he continues to delude himself that he
can do so until he is 48.

Someone who will not be playing again for Zimbabwe is Henry. We speak
regularly and have definitely become closer friends since we made our stand
over "the death of democracy" in our country. I realise that he had much
more to lose than I did over this issue and my respect for him is immense.

He was a black icon in Zimbabwe and the perfect role model for youngsters.
The easy path for him to have taken would have been to stay in cricket and
not say anything. But he is brave and chose the harder route. Many doors may
have closed for him in Zimbabwe but others will open elsewhere.

He is now getting his life sorted out over here. He is a smart, charismatic
guy who will not be short of career options, whether it is cricket
commentary, music or art.

I would be very disappointed if it is true that none of the other Zimbabwean
players have been in contact with him, but not necessarily that surprised
because during the tournament very few of them were willing to discuss our
statement. We all got on fine but their shying away from the situation
mirrored the fear within the whole of the country, where nobody wants to
speak up.

I was extremely angry at the shabby treatment meted out to Henry when he
announced his retirement. He was not allowed on the team bus and was then
asked to pay his own hotel bill. Very sad.

It will certainly feel strange when the Zimbabwean side arrive in England
this week, not being with them fighting the cause, especially since my only
other tour here in 2000 was not a personal success.

It was, indeed, peculiar seeing the scorecards from their recent series in
Sharjah without my name on them, having been involved with the national side
since 1988. But I will endeavour to see them as much as I can given the busy
county schedule, and Essex play them in a one-day game at Chelmsford, in
which I will be keen to play.

I will be especially looking forward to batting against Grant, whom I have
not faced since our schooldays. He was obviously the favourite of the family
and was sent to the posh, private St George's College while I was relegated
to a small government school. Launching him into the River Chelm should set
the record straight!

Selection of Zimbabwean sides and the policies and criteria for such
selection have been huge bones of contention over the last couple of years.
Quotas, or goals as some put it, based on the colour of one's skin, have
kept emotions running high among players, policy-makers and public alike. A
clear vision, some clear thinking, transparent communication and an
understanding of what is required of international cricketers would go a
long way to calming a highly charged situation.

I know that he has now retired but I feel that Alistair Campbell has had a
particularly raw deal. He was left out of the World Cup squad and I just
feel that his past, or rather his past criticisms of the Zimbabwe Cricket
Union, caught up with him.

Craig Wishart is unlucky not to be on the tour. He had made great strides
under coach Geoff Marsh. And Brian Murphy, too. He is a genuine wicket-taker
whom I think could have troubled England.

I have mixed feelings about whether this tour should take place. There will
be demonstrations and I actually think that will be a positive thing because
it will give the human-rights activists a chance to highlight the problems
in Zimbabwe. But I do not think that sporting sanctions against Zimbabwe
will necessarily work. They did during the apartheid years in South Africa
because of the importance South Africans attach to sport. But the Zimbabwean
leadership have their hands rather full these days, what with their own
business interests and rapidly deteriorating economy - and an increasingly
hungry, and therefore restless, population.

Andy Flower played for Zimbabwe from 1988 to 2003 in 63 Tests and 213
one-day internationals
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England Test series faces pitch protests

Anti-Mugabe campaigners plan 'hit-and-run' strikes to disrupt cricket

Denis Campbell and Andrew Meldrum in Harare
Sunday April 27, 2003
The Observer

Opponents of Robert Mugabe's regime are threatening to storm the pitch in
protest when Zimbabwe play England this summer.
Pro-democracy campaigners are finalising their tactics to disrupt Zimbabwe's
two Test matches and three one-day internationals against England, which
start on 22 May, to draw attention to the repression, state-sponsored
violence and human rights abuses in the former colony.

'Hit-and-run tactics are going to be employed, such as hundreds of people
invading the pitch wearing either black armbands or cricket flannels covered
in fake blood,' said Alan Wilkinson, a Zimbabwean activist who is organising
the protests.

'People will be at most of Zimbabwe's fixtures who will be ready to storm
the pitch and disrupt the game when the time is right.'

Wilkinson has joined forces with Peter Tatchell, organiser of the newly
formed Stop the Tour group, who was assaulted by a Mugabe bodyguard in
Brussels in 2001 when he tried to make a citizen's arrest on the Zimbabwean
President for crimes against his own people.

MPs of all parties, such as ex-Sports Minister Kate Hoey, Zimbabwean exiles
and human rights campaigners believe the England and Wales Cricket Board
(ECB) should refuse to play Zimbabwe as a way of isolating Mugabe

Campaigners are calling on England's players to refuse to play. Some have
written to Nasser Hussain, England's Test captain, who played a key role in
England's controversial decision not to play a Cricket World Cup match in
Harare in February, asking him to boycott the matches.

Andy Flower and Henry Olonga, the two Zimbabwean cricketers who suffered
persecution at home after wearing black armbands to symbolise the death of
democracy in their country during a world cup tie in February, are being
asked to join protests outside the match venues, including Lord's.

The pair, who were feted as heroes for their stand, were promptly dropped by
Zimbabwe, and Olonga was forced into hiding in South Africa after receiving
threats. Flower plays for Essex, while Olonga will commentate for Channel 4
on the series.

Both players declined to comment, but a friend of Olonga said: 'Zimbabweans
who oppose Mugabe, and that obviously includes Henry, feel the cricket team
are ambassadors of the regime and as such should be subject to the same
travel restrictions as those imposed on Mugabe and his cronies by the EU and
United States.'

Since the protest by Flower and Olonga, the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU),
which has close ties to Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF, has purged every player or
coach deemed to be anti-Mugabe. As a result, the team that arrives on
Thursday is not expected to provide much opposition for England.

Tatchell condemned the ECB for fielding a team to play a side that has been
'politically vetted'. 'Zimbabwe's cricketers are sporting ambassadors for
the regime. Mugabe wants this tour to go ahead as part of his strategy to
normalise relations with the rest of the world,' said Tatchell. 'But there
can be no normal sporting relations with an abnormal regime that uses
torture, rape and murder as weapons of repression.'

His comments were echoed by the former England captain Mike Brearley.

'There is a powerful case for not having the Zimbabweans play here because
it makes a clear statement that we don't want to give moral support to a
regime as odious as Mugabe's,' Brearley said.

MPs from all parties and Zimbabwean activists are meeting at the House of
Commons on 7 May to form an action group on Zimbabwe. They will write to the
ECB's sponsors asking why they are endorsing sporting contact with such a
repressive regime, and will ask the public to boycott this summer's matches.

Derek Wyatt, the Labour MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, said: 'The ECB
stands to make up to £10 million from this tour. By welcoming Zimbabwe, they
are putting money above morality, which is disgraceful.'

Last night the ECB dismissed calls for a boycott and defended its right to
play the Zimbabweans. 'Why should the England cricket team be asked to make
a gesture like that when nobody else is breaking off sporting contact with
Zimbabwe?' asked spokesman John Read.

'People play Zimbabweans at golf and tennis, and their athletes competed at
last summer's Commonwealth Games in Manchester, so should we alone take a
stand? We are cricketers, not politicians.'
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The Scotsman

Commonwealth facing collapse


IT WAS lauded as a triumph for democracy and a defining moment for the
future of Africa. But the decision to suspend Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth
may also have sounded the organisation's death knell.

Last month, amid widespread opposition, members of 'The Club' decided to
uphold the suspension. The rancour which accompanied the decision now
threatens to tear apart the association of former British colonies, which
has endured for more than 50 years and is made up of 54 nations, together
accounting for nearly a third of the world's population.

Zimbabwe's suspension until the next Commonwealth Heads of Government
Meeting (CHOGM), due to be held in Nigeria in December, has left a bitter
taste in the mouths of many of the leading African members who had argued in
favour of its re-admission. They believe it is time the tail (predominantly
white countries such as Britain, Australia Canada and New Zealand) stopped
wagging the dog.

The Commonwealth, which has neither a constitution nor charter, is seen by
critics as a powerless and ineffectual club of former British territories
that has lost sight of its raison d'être; namely to give economic power and
moral purpose to former members of the British Empire.

Many believe its days are numbered; that is spends more time disciplining
errant members such as Zimbabwe and Pakistan than helping the world's poor.
The first big Commonwealth meeting in Africa took place in Nigeria in 1966.
Then, the talk was about how to control Ian Smith, Rhodesia's prime
minister. Nearly 40 years later, Zimbabwe, as it is now, is still the cause
of acrimony.

December's CHOGM meeting in Abuja promises to be an explosive affair.
Presidents Sam Nujoma of Namibia, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Ben Mkapa
of Tanzania have made no secret of the fact that they believe the
Commonwealth should spend more time tackling poverty and disease and less on
Mugabe's regime. Although he is detested by "old" club members, Mugabe is
much admired in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Angola, Mozambique and

Meanwhile, sources in Harare, Johannesburg, Dar es Salaam and Windhoek have
revealed that both African and some Asian countries are considering pulling
out of the Commonwealth. They say there is a widespread feeling that white
members of the club have ruled the roost too long, spending most of their
time lecturing former colonies about the need to implement Westminster-style
democracy in their countries.

One idea gaining currency among disenchanted African nations is that of
pulling out of the Commonwealth and pursuing their interests through the
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which represents 116 developing nations.

Playing to the growing audience of frustrated African leaders, Zimbabwe's
president Robert Mugabe has repeatedly pointed out that the organisation
that made little voices big during the days of the Cold War was not the
Commonwealth but the far more radical NAM, founded in 1955 by the
independent India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

Marianne Haslegrave, the director of the Commonwealth Medical Association,
said: "The danger is that the Commonwealth is seen as a talking shop where
nothing gets done. It should concentrate on what it is still good at;
helping ordinary people live healthier and happier lives. It took us 600
years to have a multi-party democracy and live with the concept of a loyal
opposition. Former colonies in the Commonwealth are expected to do that
overnight and it can't be done."

Derek Ingram, an expert on the Commonwealth, said: "In the 1970s the
Commonwealth led the world on a war against racism in Rhodesia and apartheid
in South Africa. Today it seems to lack a great purpose. We need far more
internal self-criticism and transparency. Now is the time to raise the level
of debate and ask, 'Where on earth are we heading?'"

Last year Commonwealth Secretary Don McKinnon warned that unless Club
members could come up with real answers to real problems, such as pollution
control and care for the environment, the Commonwealth was heading towards a
brick wall.

In Dar es Salaam, Phillip Magani, the MP for Ruangwa, said the Commonwealth
is in danger of losing Tanzania's support simply because it is "dominated"
by the economic interests of the "big boys". He said Tanzania's vital
concerns lay in the future of agriculture and not a war of words between
Tony Blair and Mugabe.

"America under Bush and now the European Union countries use subsidies to
protect their already rich farmers," he said. "They keep the developing
world in poverty. Subsidies in America currently amount to $350bn [£220bn] a
year, about $1bn [£629m] a day. Agricultural subsidies in America equal the
entire GDP of sub-Saharan Africa and are seven times as much as rich
countries give in development aid. Paying rich Western farmers to
overproduce has an immediate impact on poor country farmers and most
Commonwealth members are poor country farmers."

And while there is still widespread support for the Queen as head of the
Commonwealth, there is disquiet at the prospect of Prince Charles taking
over the role. Magani said: "Charles is a bit of an unknown commodity. Her
Majesty we will always respect, but the title Head of the Commonwealth goes
to an individual, not a country and it's not hereditary. Maybe the job
should be abolished once the Queen goes."

Many observers believe the Commonwealth must institute radical changes, but
the ominous voices in Africa and Asia suggest time is running out.
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