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

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Role model

Olonga 'a black icon in Zimbabwe', says Flower
Posted: Sunday April 27, 2003 7:58 AM

LONDON (Reuters) -- Retired Zimbabwe international Andy Flower has paid
tribute to his former teammate Henry Olonga, with whom he protested against
President Robert Mugabe's regime during the World Cup in South Africa
earlier this year.

The two players made headlines during cricket's showpiece event, wearing
black armbands to "mourn the death of democracy" in Zimbabwe, but Flower
believes the younger Olonga, the first black cricketer to represent his
country, had much more to lose.

"He was a black icon in Zimbabwe and the perfect role model for youngsters,"
the 34-year-old Flower wrote in a column for Britain's Sunday Telegraph

"The easy path for him to have taken would have been to stay in cricket and
not say anything.

"I realize that he had much more to lose than I did over this issue and my
respect for him is immense."

Flower, a world-class batsman who quit the international game last month
after Zimbabwe's failure to reach the World Cup semifinals, is playing
English county cricket for Essex this season.

The 26-year-old Olonga, who went into hiding after the World Cup amid
reports that the Zimbabwean secret police were looking for him, has also
retired and is in England on a six-month work permit to play club cricket
and do TV commentary.

Fast bowler Olonga, a gifted singer who has said he could look to music as
an alternative career, played his 50th and final one-day international for
Zimbabwe in the World Cup Super Six clash with Kenya in Bloemfontein on
March 12.

"He is now getting his life sorted out over here (in England)," said Flower,
who played 63 tests for Zimbabwe, making 4,794 runs and averaging a
world-class 51.54 with 12 hundreds.

Career options

"He is a smart, charismatic guy who will not be short of career options,
whether it is cricket commentary, music or art.

"We speak regularly and have definitely become closer friends since we made
our stand over "the death of democracy" in our country."

Flower added that he had mixed feelings over Zimbabwe's two-test series in
England later this year.

"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," he said.

Zimbabwe will play two tests against England, starting at Lord's on May 22,
and a one-day international tournament against the hosts and South Africa
beginning on June 26.

"I have mixed feelings about whether this tour should take place," added

"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."

Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth last year after allegations
that Mugabe had rigged his re-election as president.

Around half the country's 14 million people are suffering food shortages, a
crisis which Mugabe critics have blamed in part on his policy of
redistributing white-owned farms to landless blacks.

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Geoff Hill


  JOHANNESBURG — A Zimbabwean soldier who died while serving with British forces in Iraq has been vilified by the government of President Robert Mugabe, and his family has been harassed by the country's notorious secret police.
Pvt. Christopher Muzvuru, 21, was killed April 6 when his unit overran the town of Basra. But in Harare, the Zimbabwean capital, the state media have called him a mercenary and a sellout.
"For a Zimbabwean, whose country is virtually at war with Britain, to join the armed forces of an enemy is the highest level of selling out," was the comment from the Daily Mirror in Harare, a paper owned by a member of Mr. Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party.
"He should be buried in Britain," the paper said.
The government-owned Herald newspaper likened Pvt. Muzvuru to the buffalo soldiers in Bob Marley's reggae song about former slaves who fought in the American Civil War.
Pvt. Muzvuru's parents have declined to comment, but a friend of the family told The Washington Times that they were living in terror in their hometown of Gweru, in central Zimbabwe.
"They have been visited by Mugabe's secret police and harassed by the government, and it is very painful for them," said the man, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal.
"They are in deep mourning for their son, and all the government can do is portray the young man as a traitor and his family as enemies of the state."
In London, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense confirmed that Pvt. Muzvuru joined the army in February 2001 and was one of about 200 Zimbabweans in the British forces.
He said other countries with significant numbers of nationals serving in the British army include Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Jamaica and South Africa.
For the past two years, the government of Mr. Mugabe, 79, has been at loggerheads with the United States, Britain, Canada and much of the Commonwealth because of attempts to suppress the opposition. Human rights groups estimate that as many as 70,000 people were beaten or abused by government agents in the past year.
More than 600,000 Zimbabweans live in exile in Britain, and an estimated 2 million have fled to neighboring South Africa.
Mr. Mugabe, who has ruled the country since 1980, was returned to power last year in an election marred by intimidation, and the results have not been recognized by Britain or the United States.
Zimbabwe's state-owned television did not show Iraqis celebrating the fall of dictator Saddam Hussein and described the U.S.- and British-led campaign as a "neocolonialist invasion against a sovereign state."
But a story in an opposition newspaper in the capital, Harare, accused the government of being too scared to screen pictures of a dictator being toppled and said the Zimbabwean people "will also be dancing in the streets" the day Mr. Mugabe leaves power.
For now, Zimbabweans are lining up in the streets to buy scarce supplies of fuel, flour, sugar, salt and the diet staple, cornmeal. A disastrous land-redistribution exercise has ended commercial production on most of the formerly white-owned farms.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) charges that instead of the land being handed over to black peasants, the best farms have been given to Mr. Mugabe's friends and family.
The farm seizures, combined with severe drought in parts of the country, have caused food shortages and a sharp rise in inflation, crippling the economy.
Yesterday, police in Harare raided the MDC headquarters and arrested 30 persons on the third day of a nationwide strike against fuel-price increases, Agence France-Presse reported.
Most shops in Harare's central business district remained closed, but some small businesses were open. Banks were closed, and hundreds of people lined up outside to withdraw money from automatic teller machines.
A military helicopter hovered overhead while riot police patrolled the streets.
Although the strike was called by the labor group Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the MDC has backed the action and promised more of its own.
Earlier this week, police arrested 45 MDC supporters mourning the death of a party activist who died after a suspected assault by police.
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Mugabe may call it quits: Mbeki

South African President Thabo Mbeki says his Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe, is seriously considering retirement.

President Mbeki says Mr Mugabe has told him several times that he is contemplating retirement.

Mr Mbeki says the Zimbabwean President and the ruling ZANU-PF party are considering a renewal of leadership.

Last week, during an interview with Zimbabwean state television, Mr Mugabe said he was getting to the stage that retirement might be possible.

The 79-year-old has previously suggested that he would step down when his controversial land reform program was completed.

But there is no obvious successor to take over the presidency.

Mr Mugabe has been in power since 1980.

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        Zimbabwean police bury opposition activist

      Staff Reporter
      HARARE, 27 April 2003
      A few of Marchiredza's friends ran to the burial site and were last
seen hiding in the bush, hoping to bid him farewell from a distance.

      HARARE: The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says Machiridza
was one of its outstanding grass roots leaders and organisers. He was
arrested 10 days ago, and allegedly beaten. Opposition officials say police
took him to the local government hospital and chained him to a bed, but they
say he received no treatment.

      His friends collected him from the government hospital and took him to
a private clinic, but he died shortly afterwards, on the 23rd anniversary of
Zimbabwe's independence last week.

      Doctors say the cause of death was loss of blood.

      Machiridza's funeral was supposed to be a major event. Opposition MDC
party president Morgan Tsvangirai was due to speak over his coffin at a
church hall. But after his relatives were arrested, and the hall was
surrounded by policemen, Tsvangirai went to the man's home to pay his
respects privately to his widow and children.

      Meanwhile on the second day of the three-day strike called by the
trade union movement, to protest a 300% increase in the price of fuel, many
shops and factories remained closed. But the strike was not as widespread as
on the first day.

      Workers said commuter bus drivers were threatened by ruling party
officials that if they did not provide transport from the suburbs to the
industrial areas, they would lose their licenses. So many of them returned
to work.
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Zimbabwe: Addressing The Issues

by Suzette Gardner
Commemorating Zimbabwe's independence in Washington DC was business as usual
for the diplomatic staff at the embassy there. Zimbabwe's Ambassador to the
United States, His Excellency Dr. Simbi V. Mubako recently held a press
reception to mark the nation's independence by addressing some of the issues
facing Zimbabwe and lacking clarity in the western press. The 'Black Press'
in Washington DC were especially invited to discuss the current challenges
facing the 23 year old modern nation.
The audience of mostly journalists and Pan-African activists listened
intently to his presentation lamenting the misinformation western press
continues to make public about Zimbabwe. Ambassador Mubako admitted, some of
the misinformation was due to either lack of information from Zimbabwean
sources -which journalists have limited access to, and of coarse, malice.
"Zimbabwe is facing serious socio-economic problems," he said, but "the true
story of Zimbabwe will be written by you!"
"The international press is on a propaganda campaign to demonize Zimbabwe,"
said Ambassador Mubako. "Zimbabwe has its faults as any other country, [but]
Zimbabwe's policies are anchored in democracy. and the government never want
to deviate from a democratic process."
Ambassador Mubako chose the event to announce a turning point in modern
Zimbabwean affairs. "The land distribution process is now over", he
Zimbabwe has been engaged in the internationally criticized government
policy of seizing portions of farms owned by whites and re-distributing it
to black Zimbabwean nationals.
Faced with questions and concerns that some Zimbabweans are regarding the
process as inconclusive, the Ambassador retorted "the white farmers have
never been satisfied by the process. some white farmers are still on the
land, complaining mainly because they want compensation." The Ambassador
affirmed, that compensation could only be for 'improvement' to the land
itself, but not for the land, which was unjustly "taken from the blacks in
the first place without any compensation."
The ambassador proudly offered that 400,000 families had been resettled on
11 million hectares of land acquired. The next step, he said, was for
emphasis to be "placed on the utilization of the land .those who have
acquired the land will have to utilize it."
As if pre-empting questions which were sure to follow, he further announced,
"...there will be a land audit, promised by President Mugabe himself." The
land audit he explained, was to assess misappropriated land, and to
re-distribute land that is being held by landowners without plans or
resources to put the land into production.
Responding to allegations that Mugabe cronies have unfairly acquired more
land than they are due, the Ambassador acknowledged that this is in fact
"real" but pointed to the official land redistribution policy as being
clearly against any person acquiring land not sanctioned by law. He
emphasized that "those are things the audit will iron out .there are some
cases like that but they are few and it does not mean the whole project is
flawed." He pointed out that 400,000 families-with an average of 6 members
per family, thus roughly 2.4 million Zimbabweans "cant all be friends of
Mugabe or cronies."
The Ambassador also addressed the current food shortage crisis in his
homeland. He claimed that NGOs presently operating in Zimbabwe were using
food as a political tool against Mugabe supporters who were often denied
food because of their political affiliation. His Excellency Mubako was keen
to isolate Mugabe supporters and government ministers who are allegedly
involved in 'food politics' from the national agenda. Mugabe, he said, had
made it clear that ".it is against government policy for any official to
[use food as a political tool], any official doing this, is doing this for
their own political purposes--not the government's."
Addressing rumors that Zimbabwe may be next on the U.S. list for regime
change, Ambassador Mubako remarked, "Zimbabwe's relations with the U.S. is
not as good as they should be." Zimbabwe, he said, "have no quarrel with the
United States" which have taken a negative political attitude towards
Zimbabwe. Referring to President George Bush's recent Executive Order
against Zimbabwe, which also provides for the freezing of assets belonging
to Zimbabwe government officials, the Ambassador quickly pointed out that
"no Zimbabwe leader on the list of 72 or so have assets in the United
States." President Mugabe, he said, issued a statement that if the United
States finds any of his assets in the U.S., "let them take it and distribute
it to their poor."
The Ambassador appeared to regard threats made against fellow African states
by the U.S. to be more serious. Pressure on members of the African Union
(AU) to either isolate Zimbabwe or face omission from the proposed benefits
of NEPAD were classed as "very rude." Ambassador Mubako advised the US to
"go to the African states to ask how to deal with an African state" rather
than dictating from afar.
The Ambassador agreed that the United States' tone and threats towards
Zimbabwe is colonial. "We have been a colony after all," he said, "[but] if
we are going to be threatened by a new colonialism, we have to fight.
Zimbabwe will never agree to surrender its sovereignty."

Suzette Gardner is a freelance writer, editor of and
founding member of Organized Community Of United People (The COUP) a
Washington, DC based organization for socio-political change through media
and education. She is also host of Roots Revolution, a weekly radio
adventure into roots reggae, dub, afro-Diaspora beats, afro pop, and a
little "talk." She contributed above article to Media Monitors Network (MMN)
from Washington, DC, USA.
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City water crisis: Briefcase firm fails to deliver chemicals

By Rex Mphisa
A briefcase company contracted by the Harare City Council to supply water
treatment chemicals has failed to deliver.

Council has reverted to indigenous firm Highdon Investments for supplies.

"We had no choice but to approach Highdon. There was eight hours of water
supplies left for the city and I authorised that deal," said Harare mayor
Engineer Elias Mudzuri in an interview.

A council employee, Mr Ray Chiromo is believed to have been instrumental in
the formation of Aqua Provitae Zimbabwe.

He, however, denied any involvement in the formation of the company.

"I don't know what you are talking about, you may be confusing me with my

"Maybe because he is a consultant and has something to do with this," he

Council contracted a Zimbabwean registered company Aqua Provitae Zimbabwe to
supply 200 tons of lime although it had a contract with Highdon Investments
to supply the same chemical.

Last month, council dispatched officials to Zambia where they unsuccessfully
tried to buy lime from the Zambian producer.

Highdon Investments is the sole agent of the Zambian producer in southern

Aqua Provitae Zimbabwe was formed last year in December after council had
flighted advertisements for tenders to supply it with water treatment

Records at the Deeds Registry list its directors as Hemia Ndongera and
Margaret Mutsvangwa both of 990 Crowborough North Kuwadzana.

The company was registered on February 17 this year.

Council, which was supposed to have opened the tenders on January 28 this
year, extended the period.

Ms Ndongera denied any knowledge of Aqua Provitae Zimbabwe and said she didn
't even know where the Deeds Registry was.

"I don't know anything, not even Margaret Mutsvangwa," she said before
referring all questions to her husband Mr Kavhumbura who professed

Mr Christopher Simon of Norton, who claimed to have assisted Mr Chiromo form
the company, confirmed that Mr Kavhumbura had indeed approached him for

"I did some memorandums and articles for him before he took the application
himself and within two days he had finished the whole process," he said.

According to Mr Simon such a process that involves what is called a name
search normally takes three weeks and he was surprised at how Mr Chiromo
managed in such a short space of time.

"But he told me he knew a chief registrar there and that it would be fast,
yes it was fast," said Mr Simon.

Mr Cornes yesterday confirmed Mr Chiromo had indeed helped him form the
company because he was somehow well connected.

"But I hope you are not making any insinuations that there was something
corrupt in the way we did it," said Mr Cornes who kept phoning this reporter
about the story.

On Saturday when The Herald visited number 2 Steppes Road in Chisipite,
which is given as the operation address of Aqua Provitae Zimbabwe, Mr
Humphrey denied knowledge of any Ndongera or that they lived or operated
from there.

When told that this was one of the directors of a company called Aqua
Provitae Zimbabwe, he asked this reporter to wait for about 10 minutes
during which he sounded to be consulting someone in the background.

The interview was done through the gate intercom.

Some council sources said Mr Cornes was based in the United Kingdom and flew
into the country on Friday specifically to see how they could tackle this
problem which he confirmed.

"I came and have had meetings with the acting town clerk," he said admitting
the Zimbabwean company had failed to meet the deadline to supply the

Last Tuesday council placed an order of 100 tonnes of lime from Highdon
Investments as a stop-gap measure when the city of about 2,5 million people
had just eight hours of water left.

Eng Mudzuri blamed his officials for the near disaster saying there was no
reason for them to wait for a crisis.

"You see my friend, I am the Mayor and you cannot expect me to be doing all
that. It's their job to see that we have enough chemicals and I really do
not mind where they buy. It is our duty to see that people get clean water,"
he said.

"They should be in a position to know. You must ask the acting Town Clerk. I
never involve myself in such matters as procurement or awarding of tenders,
they must tell you," he said.

Eng Mudzuri said what was more important was the welfare of the people and
that council delivered good services.

It was not important to consider who the supplier of the chemicals was.

He blamed his officials and the acting Town Clerk for the near disaster
saying they should have properly awarded tenders to companies that had the
capacity to supply.

Efforts to get comment from the acting Town Clerk and the council's public
relations officer were fruitless.
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Extract from Financial Times interview with Tony Blair

FT: The kind of things you are saying about North Korea sound quite similar to the things you said about Iraq before military action there, so obviously that leaves open the possibility that the way you deal with the threat could be similar?

A: No it doesn't, and this is the danger of getting into these discussions, because actually I said that Iraq was unique because they used weapons of mass destruction, because they were breaching United Nations resolutions, and I specifically say to you, as far as I am aware, no-one has any plan to take military action against North Korea, but these are issues and we have to tackle them and deal with them. And that is why I said when I was asked about that in the House of Commons some months ago, you have to deal with the issue of North Korea, now let us hope we can deal with it through the talks that are starting.

But I think that all of this, you see I fit this within a broader framework which is what I call a global agenda, which deals with issues to do with security and terrorism, but also deals with issues of global poverty, of justice, of issues like the Middle East peace process. And I think you can construct an agenda where world opinion can form a consensus around such an agenda and intervention in those circumstances - I don't mean necessarily military intervention - but focus on an issue and trying to resolve it is an important part of making the world more secure, more safe and more just.

I would like to see a bigger focus by the international community on Zimbabwe, which is a scandal and a terrible situation that is developing there. Now there is a limit to what you can do, but I have never had a difficulty with the concept of intervention, it doesn't, as I say, necessarily mean that it is armed intervention, it can be diplomatic intervention, it can be pressure.

But the thing that we are learning about our modern world is that the more freedom, the more democracy, the more justice, the greater the security.

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Key Developments:
  1. Police arrest 57 mourners at the funeral of MDC activist Tonderai Machiridza, including his wife and mother
  2. Police raid MDC HQ arresting 30 party officials
  3. COSATU General Secretary slams Mugabe and Zanu PF
For Further Information Please Contact:
Nkanyiso Maqeda, MDC Director of Information: 0263 91 248 570
Grace Kwinjeh, MDC EU Representative: 0032 494 181621
James Littleton, London: 00 44 7771 501 401
“This year’s Independence Holiday coincides with the festive period of Easter. Both of these occasions are supposed to signify hope and the renewal of life. It is a time we must remember our freedom from colonial bondage….Throughout our history unjust laws had to be defied in order achieve our freedom. Stand ready for the final call to reclaim our dignity and freedom. You are the agents of change. We have now realised that change demands action,” said MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai in a Independence Day and Easter message to the people of Zimbabwe (14 April 2003)
“The MDC is not surprised by the decision taken by ZCTU calling for a stay away in protest against the increase in fuel prices. The call to workers, business, students, women and all others to stay away is completely justified and deserves the support of every progressive Zimbabwean,” said Paul Themba Nyathi, MDC Secretary for Information and Publicity (21 April 2003)
“Zanu PF lacks both the political will as well as the policy solutions to tackle the fuel crisis. In fact this unprecedented rise in the price of petrol is symptomatic of a dying and desperate regime. Their policy failures are now ubiquitous. Yet again Mugabe and Zanu PF have reneged on their promises to the people of Zimbabwe. Before February 2003 the regime claimed that the price of fuel would be kept at affordable levels. Everyone knew that the continued flagrant mismanagement of the economy would preclude the regime from keeping this promise”, Professor Welshman Ncube, MDC Secretary General, following the announcement of a 209% increase in the price of petrol (16 April 2003)
Headline News
Successful Three Day Strike
The three day strike called last Monday by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions in protest at the obscene 209% hike in the fuel price has been a resounding success. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week nearly 70% of businesses nationwide were forced to close as workers heeded the call to stay at home. In Harare and Bulawayo the figure was closer to 90%.
In several cases armed police raided the homes of managers of stores and banks and forced them to open their premises
For thousands of workers, the hike in the fuel price has meant that the cost of travelling to work is now higher than the amount they earn.
MDC Activist Dies on Independence Day
Tonderai Machiridza, an MDC youth who was abducted and brutally assaulted by heavily armed police officers on Sunday 13 April died on Independence Day at Avenues Clinic as a result of the injuries sustained from the torture.
At Tonderai’s wake on April 23, police brutally attacked mourners and arrested over 57 people, including Tonderai wife and mother who were subsequently assaulted by police officers whilst being held in custody. Police also took Tonderai’s body to the police station where the mourners were being held.
When police finally granted ‘permission’ for Tonderai to be buried they barred scores of mourners from attending the burial, including MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai Court Victory
High Court judge Ann-Marie Gowora has ordered the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) to release to the MDC’s lawyers various documents relating to the 2002 presidential election as requested by the MDC.
Political Violence/Intimidation
Police Raid MDC HQ
On Friday 25 April, police raided the MDC HQ in Harare and arrested 30 party officials who have subsequently been released without charge. The police used the usual spurious excuse that they were looking for ‘subversive material’. These are the actions of a panicked, paranoid and increasingly desperate regime.
MDC Activists Flee
Several MDC activists in Chitungwiza and Mashonaland West province have fled their homes for fear of police arrests and torture after last month’s successful stayaway called by the MDC.
Property Attacked
A tuckshop owned by an MDC activist in Harare was petrol bombed by Zanu PF activists last Thursday.
Attacks on Teachers Condemned
Education International, a global academic authority, has condemned the politically motivated attacks on teachers. Over the past three years scores of teachers have been attacked by Zanu PF thugs on suspicion of supporting the MDC.
Thousands Face Starvation
Over 84,000 villagers in Matabeleland South face starvation following the forced closure of humanitarian relief programmes by members of the Zanu PF youth militia. The militia closed the Umzingwane Aids Network after accusing two of the officers of working for the MDC.  
South Africa
COSATU General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, recently launched a scathing attack on Mugabe and Zanu.
"We are absolutely disgusted at the level at which human rights  are abused in that country [Zimbabwe]… has become….a liberation movement gone astray." said Vavi 
UN Commission on Human Rights
At the annual meeting of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, a resolution on Zimbabwe, tabled by the EU, was stopped in its tracks when South Africa tabled a motion of ‘no action’. As a result, the pressing issue of state sponsored human rights abuses in Zimbabwe was not even debated, as was the case last year. The ability by members of the Commission to block investigations of systematic human rights abuses calls into question the very purpose of the Commission. Human rights abuses in Zimbabwe are increasing on a daily basis yet due to the ‘political agendas’ being pursued by certain members, the UN Commission on Human Rights is paralysed from taking any effective action. 
The EU resolution had accused the Mugabe government of “numerous cases of assault and torture in a climate of impunity” as well as “occurrences of violations of the freedoms of expression, opinion, association and assembly”. The desire by certain African nations to block this resolution defies belief.
A recent report by the Commonwealth Secretary General contained compelling evidence for Zimbabwe’s continued suspension from all councils of the Commonwealth and severely undermined the arguments of those who have been assiduously campaigning for Zimbabwe’s re-admittance to the Commonwealth. The report highlighted how the Mugabe regime had systematically failed to address any of the concerns expressed by the Commonwealth Troika at the time of its suspension (March 19 2002) and how it continued to be in total breach of the Harare Principles.
            “Overall the general political, economic and social situation in Zimbabwe has deteriorated since March 2002….there has been no significant or substantive change of direction in Zimbabwe towards compliance with the Harare principles, as was the expectation in the Marlborough House Statement and the Abuja Mid-Term Review Statement.”
Last Wednesday saw the opening of the annual trading season of Zimbabwe's lucrative tobacco crop. Tobacco is Zimbabwe’s largest earner of foreign currency, however, analysts have gloomily predicted that Mugabe’s irresponsible land reform policies has resulted in production dropping by a third last year. Current estimates put this year’s tobacco yield at 100 million kg, down from 165 million kg last year. The drop in tobacco production will exacerbate Zimbabwe’s chronic shortage of foreign currency, a factor that will precipitate further hikes in the fuel price in the not too distant future.
The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has warned of a long period of frequent power cuts because "curtailment measures" effected by its external suppliers for non-payment of electricity imports worth about US$20 million ($1,6 billion). The imminent power cuts will lead to more businesses adopting downsizing measures in order to survive which will mean more job losses. The inability of ZESA to service its huge debts underlines the grotesque mismanagement of the economy by the Mugabe regime. Zanu PF has no policy solutions to an economic crisis that is politically induced
“March 2003 has gone down as the month when the non-coherent macro-economic policies of ZANU PF’s policies entered into a whirlwind confusion and panic stance, ultimately plunging the Zimbabwean economy into deeper catastrophe,”  said Tendai Biti, MDC Secretary for Economic Affairs, and Tapiwa Mashakada, MDC Shadow Minister for Budget Finance & Economic Affairs in their March report on the state of Zimbabwe’s economy.
Economic Report
Zimbabwe has been rated the second worst and highest risk economy, ahead only of Iraq, by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)'s risk assessment for 100 mainly developing and highly indebted countries.
Food Situation
Delays by the Mugabe regime in announcing how much food Zimbabwe will harvest this year is hampering efforts to mobilise humanitarian aid for the country. The delays underline how little the regime cares for the plight of over 7.5 million Zimbabweans now dependent on food aid.
With existing food programmes coming to an end this month, relief agencies are unable to make plans for renewed relief efforts until they know what the food deficit is going to be after the harvest. Zanu PF clearly thinks humanitarian considerations are subordinate to political factors.
United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that even if this year’s harvest is better than expected Zimbabwe will still not have enough food to feed itself, a factor which underlines the urgent need for the regime to provide accurate forecasts.
Catholic Bishops Condemns Mugabe
Roman Catholic bishops in Zimbabwe have launched a scathing attack on the corruption in the public and private sectors and slammed the Mugabe regime for politicising food aid disruption. In a report the Catholic bishops said that “A Zanu PF membership card is now a prerequisite for accessing cooking oil, maize-meal and other essential commodities.”
Malaria Threat
Close to two million Zimbabweans are at risk of contracting malaria, and the mortality rate is expected to rise due to the lack of basic anti-malarial drugs, the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) warned last Wednesday.
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Sunday Mirror Zimbabwe

Zanu PF/MDC talks on
Innocent Chofamba-Sithole Deputy Editor

DESPITE the recent hardline posturing by both political parties, insiders
have revealed that talks between the ruling Zanu PF and the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) have already begun.

However, at this stage, it is conducted through facilitators on either side
of the political spectrum who are keen to see the stalemate between the two
broken and the country rescued from further collapse.

The Sunday Mirror has it on good authority that the facilitators, who
include academicians, clergymen and a number of influential Zimbabweans, are
working on a framework for national dialogue that includes constitutional
reform, culminating in joint presidential and parliamentary elections,
possibly in 2005.

The facilitators' framework for dialogue revolves around the following
points: lMutual acknowledgement and respect of the two parties lDefinition
of the national interest, thereby providing for the establishment of
consensus on the economic crisis and strategies for its resolution
lGovernment of national unity based on the 1980 model between Zanu PF and PF
Zapu, and partly on the South African model between the African National
Congress and Inkatha Freedom Party. The two parties essentially remain
separate entities, as opposed to the PF Zapu/Zanu PF Unity Accord merger,
whereby one party disappears into the other.

lConstitutional reform. The 2000 draft constitution could be used as a
working document around which the national dialogue will emerge with a new
constitution acceptable to Zimbabweans. It could be passed through
parliament or put to a national referendum by September this year
lPresidential and parliamentary elections in 2005.

"The pressure on both parties to start national dialogue is quite
overwhelming and by this week, Zanu PF and the MDC have accepted the need
for dialogue. All indications are that the actual process of negotiations
will start soon," one of the facilitators, who pleaded anonimity, told the
Sunday Mirror.

Some of the facilitators are pushing for an early election and have put
forward April 2004 as their benchmark.

There is also significant disagreement within Zanu PF, the insiders say,
over the date for new elections, with some insisting that President Robert
Mugabe should stay on until the expiry of his current term in 2008.

"This school of thought is arguing that there would be cracks in party
cohesion should Mugabe leave before then, while others argue that this
approach is unsustainable in view of the tensions emanating from within as
well as beyond Zimbabwe's borders," the insiders revealed, adding that a
committee was subsequently set up to work out the mechanics of President
Robert Mugabe's succession.

In an interview broadcast on ZTV last week, President Mugabe hinted that
with the land issue addressed he was considering stepping down, but shot
down prospects for talks with MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

"Is Tsvangirai prepared to recognise me before I can meet him? He doesn't
accept I am the president of the country, and there's no starting point,"
Mugabe said.

The ruling party's spokesperson, Nathan Shamuyarira also buttressed Mugabe's
position. He said as long as the opposition refused to recognise the
legitimacy of the 2002 presidential election results, it would be difficult
to define the way forward.

Pressed for comment on whether that position was not mere posturing, given
the deepening political and economic crisis in the country and the
opposition's increasingly confrontational approach, Shamuyarira said: "Well,
that's for you journalists to speculate on." He dismissed the claim that
Zanu PF had set up a succession committee.

But insiders say the pressure for dialogue is coming from within Zimbabwe
itself and the process has become truly home-grown, even though the Southern
Africa Development Community (SADC) and sections of the international
community are being asked to contribute through supportive actions and
deeds, rather than statements which might undermine the national dialogue.

Yesterday's issue of the Daily News reported that Tsvangirai was ready to
meet with Mugabe "anytime anywhere, but without preconditions".

"We can also put conditions, but where will that take us? Let's meet and
discuss the crisis we are currently facing instead and let's not waffle
around the issue of personal interest," Tsvangirai is quoted as saying.

South Africa's Beeld newspaper last week reported that there were "feverish
negotiations" between Zanu PF and the MDC to reach "an agreement that could
save the country from collapse".

Citing "informed sources", the paper claimed there were moves to make
President Mugabe a non-executive president by July 1 this year.

But MDC secretary-general, Welshman Ncube dismissed the claim of secret
talks between his party and Zanu PF as well as the suggestion that there
were any steps to amend the constitution to render the presidency

On the precondition for talks set by President Mugabe, Ncube said: "We are
unable to withdraw our court challenge (against the presidential election
results). It would be difficult for us to remove the single most important
issue on the agenda. What else is there to talk about?" He said his party
remained committed to dialogue but did not believe trying to foster a
government of national unity was the solution to Zimbabwe's crisis.

"The simple solution is to allow Zimbabweans to elect a government of their
choice. A government of national unity should only arise out of the
magnanimity of the winners, provided they have been elected fairly," he

The facilitators are said to have started work on the framework for national
dialogue about two months ago in the hope that both the MDC and Zanu PF are
mature enough to realise the extent to which partisan politics are
suffocating the country and would, therefore, take up the opportunity for
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Sunday Mirror Zimbabwe

Zim-DRC business yet to fully exploit opportunities
Artwell Manyemba

WHILE basic commodities labelled "made in Zimbabwe" are now found in some of
the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) towns, business partnerships and
economic co-operation between the two countries is still yet to be fully
realised, representaives of the two governments said in Harare yesterday.

Zimbabwe's Minister of Defence, Sydney Sekeramayi and DRC Minister of
Information and Press, Ambassador Kikaya Bin Karubi confirmed that business
people in both countries were still to avail themselves of opportunities.

The two were addressing journalists at the end of the three-day joint
ministerial commission for the implementation of the DRC-Zimbabwe memorandum
of understanding (MOU) on military and economic co-operation.

"Zimbabwean business people are quite keen to do business with the Congo.
Initially as the prospects of instability in the DRC lingered, only a few
had energy to go there. But now there is peace and our governments are
working to create environments conducive for business and investment. "We
expect more and more interest from Zimbabweans to take up business
opportunities there, as well as encourage the Congolese to invest in
Zimbabwe," Sekeramayi said. He is the MOU chairman.

On security concerns in both countries, the ministers said stability and
peace prevailed. Sekeramayi said the three-day Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions stayaway, calling on government to nullify recent fuel increases,
passed peacefully and the country was "very quiet." Karubi lambasted media
practitioners for misleading people on the situation in Zimbabwe, saying his
delegation had been warned not to travel to Zimbabwe because the country was
"ablaze" with rampant turmoil.

"Despite the bashing in the media, we came, did our work and we are going
back. Zimbabwe is quiet and peaceful. One wonders why the media is
misinforming the world? It's a question for the reporters," Karubi said.

He said parties to the DRC conflict had agreed on a new constitution, saying
a transitional government was to prepare for elections within a period of
two years. Karubi said the governments of Uganda and Rwanda were already
withdrawing their troops to pave way for Un peacekeepers being deployed.
Karubi said the DRC government had made good progress in stabilizing the
Great Lakes region. Zimbabwe no longer has a single soldier in the DRC,
Sekeramayi said.

Zimbabwe and the DRC signed the MOU in Lubumbashi on December 8, 2000, to
accelerate progress on bilateral issues, including military and economic
linkages. The fourth meeting, which ended yesterday, was to review progress
made in the implementation with particular reference to eight subsidiary
agreements covering economic co-operation and bilateral sovereign
relationship for the mutual benefit of nationals of the two countries.
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From ZWNEWS, 27 April

Where has he gone?

John Bredenkamp, controversial Zimbabwean businessman, has disappeared from
the list of Britain's wealthiest people. The tycoon, who first made his
fortune in the tobacco industry, and now has business interests in sports
management and tourism (and is also alleged to have stakes in Congo diamond
mines and arms dealing) appeared on both the 2001 and 2002 lists, published
annually by the Sunday Times. In 2001, he was ranked as the 48th wealthiest
person in Britain. The Sunday Times estimated his wealth then at £550m. He
was said to be wealthier than Madonna, to have accumulated more money than
music impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber, and to be richer than the Queen of
England. He also featured higher in the list than two scions of the famous
banking dynasty - Sir Evelyn Rothschild (£500m and 51st) and Lord Rothschild
(£460m and 59th). Last year, he moved sharply up the rankings, to 33rd, with
his net worth estimated at £720m. This year? Nowhere. The search facility on
the Sunday Times website yielded the result "Nothing Found". Has he vacated
his Sunningdale mansion and moved to healthier climes? Has he lost his
fortune? Or have his lawyers been at work to keep him out of the limelight?

There is an easier explanation for the simultaneous disappearance of
Nicholas van Hoogstraten from the Sunday Times list. In 2001, van
Hoogstraten, vocal supporter of, and donor to, Zanu PF, was ranked 159th
with a fortune of £200m. In 2002, he was 595th - his fortune having dwindled
to £60m. In October last year, he was found guilty of manslaughter and
sentenced by an Old Bailey judge to ten years in jail for his involvement in
the killing of Mohammed Raja, a business associate with whom he had a
dispute. The Raja family are believed to be suing him for £5m in damages.
Van Hoogstraten refused to disclose his assets, and the judge imposed a £200
000 weekly fine, to increase by 10% each week, until he complied.
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CFU Second Farmers' Meeting

The second general farmers meeting for farmers now living in Harare was held
on Wednesday 16th April, at Art Farm. The venue was changed from the CFU
head office where the first meeting was held last month, as a larger number
of people were expected to attend. However, probably due to the proximity of
the Easter holidays, and being in the school holiday, the turnout was much
lower than the first meeting.

Vice President Commodities, Doug Taylor-Freeme chaired the meeting, which
started with a short address from Graham Mullett of Redfern and Mullett, who
is also chairman of the Valuation Consortium.

Mr Mullett explained that the Valuation Consortium was putting together a
database of farms in order to establish a value for compensation purposes.
He said of the 10,000 forms distributed, approximately 1,100 had been
returned, and there was a steady return of around 350 forms per month.

He said to register with the Consortium would cost $23,000 for farmers who
had already had a farm valuation done, while those who had not been valued
recently would have to pay an additional $60,000 verification fee.
Doug Taylor-Freeme then gave an update on events that have taken place since
the last farmers' meeting. The most significant of these was the Union's
response to Government's Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

After wide consultation on the approach to take, he said the Union responded
with a two-page letter highlighting several issues which were felt to be
significant, and stressing others which the Government had not touched on.
The first issue was that Government was stating it had acquired 11 million
hectares, which the Union argued against as there is still a large
proportion of that land with outstanding or on-going litigation. The second
issue was that Government appeared to be hinting that all land would become
nationalised and the Union felt if this was the case then all stakeholders
should be informed.
The letter then stressed that the three basic principles of commercial
agriculture, namely security of land tenure, law and order, and viability
and sustainability, had not been mentioned in the MoU and asked that
Government reconsider its document to incorporate them.

Mr Taylor-Freeme said that since the letter had been delivered to Government
there had been no communication between the Ministry and the Union, and
Government's feelings on the letter had been aired very publicly in the
newspapers. He added that the Union was standing firm on its principles and
was preparing a document detailing the three principles of commercial

On the ground the Vice President said the Union was dealing on a daily basis
with continuing problems of forced evictions, theft or taking over of crops
and, more recently, increased violence against farmers and their employees.
He pointed out that it was necessary to keep some channels open between the
Union and its contacts in Government and other bodies such as the police,
since these contacts were vital in getting help to try and sort out the
problems on farms.

Mr Taylor-Freeme then mentioned his recent visit to South Africa, at the
invitation of the cane growers in Natal where he addressed their AGM, and a
trip to Zambia with the Coffee Producers Association. On both visits he
highlighted the problems in Zimbabwe and found a lot of interest in the

Director Hendrik Olivier then talked about the Union itself - its
restructuring and its continued determination to provide a good service to
all members. He said the Union's main objectives were to keep farmers
farming, and to try and create an environment whereby farmers off their
farms could return to farming. Other activities keeping Union staff and
elected members busy were compensation, legal matters and communication, as
well as trying to source fuel, inputs and new markets.

A question and answer session then followed. This started with a question on
why CFU had recommended that farmers go the LA1 or LA3 route. Mr
Taylor-Freeme pointed out that CFU had only given farmers the options
available to them and had not said the LA route was the only one to take. He
added that this route had indeed worked for some farmers, so it was an
individual decision.

In response to a question on how many farmers were still on their farms, Mr
Taylor-Freeme said that an impact assessment survey published in February of
this year showed there were between 900 and 1000 farming, however more than
half of these were only partially operational. He said it was important to
try and keep a nucleus in each district.

Replying to a comment on disgruntled members, the Vice President said any
members who were not satisfied with the Union
were welcome to come in and discuss their problems with him.

The next general farmers' meeting will be held in May, at a date and venue
to be advised.

Unless specifically stated that this message is a Commercial Farmers' Union
communiqué, or that it is being issued or forwarded to you by the sender in
an official CFU capacity, the opinions contained therein are private.
Private messages also include those sent on behalf of any organisation not
directly affiliated to the Union. The CFU does not accept any legal
responsibility for private messages and opinions held by the sender and
transmitted over its local area network to other CFU network users and/or to
external addressees.

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Letters from ZimGateway : Newsletter

Remove fear and we have a political breakthrough


It is a fact that Zimbabweans are desperately yearning for change to emancipate themselves from the socio-economic decay they are facing.


However, the truth is that unless certain “diseases” are eradicated among us, change can never be achieved. The major one is fear.


A wise piece of advice to all patriotic and courageous Zimbabweans is that change is demanded and never begged for. The time for change is ripe and inevitable, but the people are not utilising the opportunity to achieve this long-awaited precious goal.


If Zimbabweans are patiently waiting for President Mbeki “of the quiet diplomacy fame”, or the unpredictable President Olusegun Obasanjo to champion our cause, then that is wishful thinking of the worst order.


Neither Mbeki nor Obasanjo is Zimbabwean.


It should be made clear to all change-minded Zimbabweans that the onus lies on us to liberate ourselves from the yoke of President Mugabe.


If we are not part of the struggle for change, then we are part of the problem as we will be among those cultivating the ruthless, despotic Mugabe to cling tenaciously to power.


It is now clear that all means and efforts to engage the Mugabe regime into meaningful and productive talk have failed. There is need now for a militant confrontation with the brutal Zanu PF.


Remember, Zanu PF is a party of zealots who only understand the language of force. It is high time Zimbabweans stood up for their rights. Right now, Mugabe is not only trembling, but sensing and smelling danger and this is why he is threatening to arrest Morgan Tsvangirai if he goes ahead with the eagerly awaited march to State House.


Mugabe pretends to be a paragon of peace and democracy which he undermines every day.


If Zimbabweans are not part of the lasting solution to the predicament we are enveloped in, then we are wholly to blame for the problems we are wallowing in.


Zimbabweans should know that change will breed freedom, prosperity, peace and harmony. The road to these goals of change requires our determination, sacrifice, suffering and even death.


In the name of change, I urge all anti-Mugabe cadres to overcome fear at all costs because at this juncture, fear is tantamount to a surrender of our democratic rights. Change demands action and action requires courage.


We should not be intimidated by the police and army. Zanu PF is the epitome of Satan. It derives pleasure from the suffering and death of people. Mugabe should take heed of MP Job Sikhala’s words that the blood of his regime’s political martyrs is the fertile soil in which the seeds of freedom will germinate.


Mugabe should be warned that the very people who assisted him to climb the ladder of power and authority are the same people who shall engineer his downfall. We are our own liberators, but the problem within us is fear and docility.


We are on the verge of a major political breakthrough if only we can overcome fear. Change is at hand and victory is certain!


R Dube – Gweru



Get ready to celebrate the Iraqi way


I read somewhere in your paper a suggestion that we should erect a giant statue of President Mugabe so that we will have something to destroy soon when the despot is removed from power.


Actually, this is a very good idea. We are looking forward to the day when we will burn all the pictures of Mugabe that are hanging in offices throughout the country.


We also look forward to the day when we will burn all those chitenje (or “Zambia” pieces of cloth) with the picture of Mugabe.


What has happened in Iraq should happen here also.


Trevor Hlabangana – Kwekwe



Decisive encounters win wars ... when you strike, strike hard.


It is there for everybody to see that Zimbabwe is so diseased that it would be difficult to imagine that we could ever bring it back to life without some political surgery or even amputation.


It’s sad that we have to repeat the same things over and over again — the degeneration of the economy, emasculation of people's freedoms, repression, inaction and myopia and foolish arrogance by the rulling party.


We have undergone so much suffering and when we think the worst situation is over we find ourselves in even more torture, more suffering and more repression.


It is of very grave concern that despite what we are going through we do not, as a nation, seem to have a clear and decisive strategy about how to quickly and effectively deal with our situation inorder to liberate ourselves from this twin monster of economic and political suffering.


With different segments of our society, from political structures to civic organisations, we are from time to time demonstrating what most people have concluded about Zimbabweans — docility and the excellent gift of talking without acting.


How many times have our political and civic leaders talked about decisive action? Every now and then we hear leaders annoucing that "we have now resolved to liberate ourselves" but these claims have never being transformed into any meaningful actions.


There is a grave danger in leaders announcing some action when they are not yet fully prepared for it. First it puts the "enemy" on the alert.


More importantly leaders lose credibility because they will be labelled as parroters.


Interesting is the underlying tone of "peaceful means of engagement" always carried out in this messages. I do not think it is important even to mention the form of engagement in terms of whether it is peaceful or not.


Clearly, qualifying a liberation action as peaceful simply implies being loyal to or even fearful of the regime. Peaceful in whose terms? And does the situation at hand guarantee that liberation objectives will be achieved through peaceful means given the nature of the regime?


I think it is more important to talk of an appropriate means of action to achieve an objective and not whether or not the means are peaceful. The situation dictates the means and not vice versa.


Strategists say that if you are not ready don’t strike at all but when you strike, strike hard.


Decisive encounters win wars. What is needed is careful planning, organising of a strong irresitible coalition, assessment of the enemy's capabailities and weaknesses, formulating multiple strategies and counter strategies and evaluating each strategy's objective and contribution to the overall objective.


Sin Tzu, the great Chinese warrior, advised that plan your stratgey so that you divide the enemies forces, so that those that you attack at any given point are few.


At these points, use an overwhelming force.This requires boldness and a strong resolve in the leadership, and the ability to fight to the bitter end.


It also seems that the pro-democracy forces in Zimbabwe are lacking on the propaganda war and use of information. A good coalition with sensible media houses on the use of information can bring good results.


Simon Bere


Ed … Perhaps being a product of a violent period in the history of a country dictates that you see the need for a military style victory over the Mugabe regime. In some situations armed revolution is unavoidable but this is fortunately not yet the case in Zimababwe.


I suggest you revist Sun Tzu and learn about the greatest of all the arts of war:


“For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence.”


Now I suggest instead of advocating a bellicose solution to problems caused by Mugabe's Zanu-PF read up on Gandhi because all that is needed in Zimbabwe is a campaign of non-violent civil disobedience and Mugabe's regime will “crumble like a biscuit”.  … Ed



Grace lives it up in 5-star luxuary while Zimbabweans suffer - Zondi Mahlangu


They came to picket against the presence of Zimbabwean First Lady Grace Mugabe, but security personnel at Caesars Palace dispersed the 20 protesters in less than five minutes.


The group, calling themselves Concerned Zimbabweans Abroad, converged on the hotel after reports that Mugabe had booked into the hotel. They held placards saying "Mugabe is not the people's choice" and "Mugabe must go".


According to Radio 702 news editor Stephen Grootes, the station received information that Mugabe was at Caesars. "We received information and acted upon it. Our reporter actually had a short conversation with her. She dropped the phone as soon as he mentioned he was from 702."


However when Saturday Star contacted the hotel we were told the name Grace Mugabe was not on their guest list.


Jay Sibanda, president of Concerned Zimbabweans Abroad, said: "We are having the wife of the president come stay in a five-star hotel. It is five star against poverty. The reality is that the people of Zimbabwe are suffering.


"Mrs Mugabe is the right target of this protest. There is nothing more embarrassing for a man than having your wife come home and tell you that her shopping has been disrupted by disgruntled people. Wherever these people go shopping anywhere else in the world, the peaceloving people of the world must tell them to leave," said Sibanda. - Saturday Star


Ed … Jay Sibanda is right. The looters of Zimbabwe must not be allowed to spend their illgotten gains in peace. Let their wives and children dread everyday that they go out into the public and have to look the people in the eye that their husbands or fathers have tortured or stolen from. Let them have nightmares. … Ed
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