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

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The Zimbabwean
Zim ain’t wot it used to be
Crowds outside Barbour Fields stadium in Bulawayo flee the police and tear gas on Independence Day 2005.
Credit: Jason Clarie
Jason Claire taught health care in a rural school in Zimbabwe seven years ago – and was enthralled by the land and its people. He returned for the 25th Anniversary of Independence last week – and found a very different country.
The riot police charge at the crowd. Most are wielding brand-new batons. One has torn a branch off a tree. He uses it to thrash a young man on the back of the legs. I am caught up in the stampede, forced to jump a barbed wire fence, which collapses under me.

“Twenty-five years of independence and they are still beating us like this,” sighs a young woman. “It’s not right.”

This is April 18, 2005 – 25 years after Zimbabwe gained its independence. The state-run media have been counting down to the Silver Jubilee, heralding it as a celebration of independence and democracy.

Most Zimbabweans have little to celebrate. We are outside Barbour Fields stadium in Bulawayo. Inside, the official programme is underway, with military drills, marches and music. President Mugabe’s speech is being read out, berating Tony Blair and the West for interfering in African politics, and boasting of Zimbabwe’s “mature democracy”.

Thousands of supporters, who have come to watch the Highlanders play in the Independence Cup final, are stuck outside. People arrived at the stadium early to take advantage of the free entry and, three hours before kick-off, the police have shut the gates.

Some supporters manage to force open a gate and people start rushing into the stadium. The police move in with dogs. One man is slapped around the face. Another is beaten on the backside.

And then they charge, trying to clear the area immediately outside the stadium wall. That’s when I jump the fence. An old lady falls beside me. Children scream. People scatter into the surrounding streets.

This area is an opposition stronghold. The people here are angry with the ruling party over the recent rigged elections, soaring inflation, high unemployment, rising transport costs, and the shortage of fuel, sugar and basic goods.

On match days Barbour Fields is a place for them to vent their frustrations, an enclave from the fear of recrimination. “Football has become political,” says a supporter. “It’s the only place that people can express themselves. It’s become like a rally – but football. And the government doesn’t want to see it develop into anything.”

A group of about 200 start a running battle with the police. They turn to throw rocks at Zanu (PF) buses. The police move slowly forward behind their riot shields. There is none of the brutality of the European soccer hooligan. There are women and children in the crowd, and people are even smiling as they run. They are happy for a chance to let loose against Mugabe’s regime.

Tear gas canisters rattle on the tarmac behind us, releasing plumes of white smoke. Running street battles break out all around. Riot police huddle behind their shields, blocking both ends of the street. There are police on horses and police on bicycles. And then a siren wails as a truck, mounted with a giant water cannon, arrives.

The street battles continue and the football match is stopped in the second half as tear gas drifts across the pitch. Local residents are forced to close their doors and cover their faces.

A female Highlanders fan, who had been beaten on the arm and lost her shoes escaping a police charge, comes up to me, still annoyed at missing the game. She sums up the situation: “No match. No shoes. No life.”

A heavy downpour causes a lull. But when the Highlanders lose, supporters who have been inside the stadium, now make their way out and join in. Many of them had been able to watch the action going on in the streets from vantage points high up in the stadium. They barricade roads.

The next day the Chronicle newspaper claims “property worth millions of dollars was destroyed”. But millions of Zim dollars could be as little as £100. Hyper-inflation has created a nation of poor millionaires. The Reserve Bank issues Z$20,000 bearer cheques. Z$50 notes are litter on the streets, no longer accepted by many as a form of currency.

There is no mention of the political edge to the violence. These “unruly elements” are dismissed as “hooligans”.

Back outside Barbour Fields I meet a man who had offered me refuge during the riot. He is surprised to see me and tells me to be careful. After the match the police had come to his house and dragged him to the station. A neighbour had informed on him to the authorities.

“I was at the station until three in the morning,” he says. “They were asking me this and that, but I didn’t tell them anything. I am not afraid of them.” His bravado is refreshing. Most Zimbabweans are scared of what will happen if they stand up to the government. “What can we do?” is the refrain. “If we take to the streets they will crush us.”
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The Zimbabwean

Zimbabwean shopping list
HARARE - Up to date prices on the ground in Zimbabwe following the
elections: First you have to get to the shops: Petrol and diesel Z$3650 a
litre (when available).

Now get your trolley and a suitcase/wheelbarrow full of money:

Bread Z$3800 and upwards
Milk 2l Z$19000
Butter 500g Z$51 000
Salt 1 kg Z$2500
Rice 1kg Z$15300 1kg
Pasta Z$12000 and up
Potatoes 1kg Z$9.000
Sugar beans 1kg Z$14500
Flour 1 kg Z$7200
Jam 450g Z$6000
Oil 750ml Z$19750
Teabags 50 Z$7750
Apples (4) Z$23300 (NB: all fruit imported)
Carrots (8) Z$14360
Mushrooms per punnet Z$44000
Toilet soap (small bar) Z$6900
Soap powder 400g Z$16000
Toothpaste 50g Z$6000
Toilet tissue (4 rough) Z$12 900
Vim Z$10800
ST's (10 local) Z$16.000.00
Tampax Z$98200
Light bulbs Z$10000
Beer (Lion) Z$9000.00 a bottle
Mealie meal 5kg Z$17250
Eggs dozen standard Z$19000
Eggs dozen large Z$26000
Sausages (8) Z$37000.
Bacon streaky 250g -Z$28500.
Chicken 1.4kg Z$59300.

Postage - 10g letter to Europe Z$40000
Postage - 10g letter local Z$6900

Visit to doctor Z$200000
Dental check up Z$205000
Dental filling Z$650000
Dental extraction Z$950000

Monthly domestic wages (still under dispute)
Cook/housekeeper Z$900000
Gardener Z$850000
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The Zimbabwean

Zimbabwe's nuclear ambition
With the completion of Mugabe's election in Zimbabwe we wonder at the muted
response to human rights abuses in Zimbabwe by South Africa. Is it possible
that someone is holding a gun toThabo Mbeki's head and not allowing him to
say what he really thinks?
The story starts seven years ago when Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe,
started supporting Joseph Kabila's army in the Congo.

While doing this he happened across the fact that the Congo has one of the
two nuclear reactors and research centers in Africa, courtesy of the now
defunct Mobuto.

As payment for his services, he negotiated with Kabila to loot the nuclear
reactor and the research center. At the same time he sent his troops to
guard the Shinkolbwe Mine (where uranium used in the first atomic bomb was
mined.) (Sunday Times Oct 1999)

In September 1999 Zimbabwe organized a visit by a North Korean Delegation to
the Shinkolbwe mine. They also visited the nuclear reactor and research
center about 30 km outside of Kinshasa. (reference Sunday Times September
1999 South Africa)

(Mugabe has maintained a very good relationship with North Korea and his
notorious Fifth Brigade was trained by them. This was the same Fifth Brigade
who subsequently massacred 20000 people in Matabeleland.)

It was decided that there was a vested interest in both countries having
access to nuclear capabilities and a plan was made to export this capability
to Zimbabwe. This was done by the relatively simple mechanism of importing
40 tonnes of "copper ore" from the Congo to the Alaska Mine in Zimbabwe (
approximately 1200km) for processing.

This was done by a company called Osleg. Interestingly enough, the actual
price of copper ore at this time would have made the legitimate export of
this material totally uneconomic. Rumour has it that enriched uranium as
well as other nuclear hardware was part of the 40-ton consignment.

Osleg, a Zimbabwe Defence Force company, was in charge of the operation.
Involved were General Vitalis Zvinavashe, Permanent secretary of Defence Job
Whabira , Colonel Francis Zvinashe and Brigadier John Moyo. These were all
close friends of Mugabe and inextricably linked with Zimbabwe's military.

Apparently, it was agreed that North Korea would receive its share of this
on the understanding that it would help Zimbabwe to develop nuclear

(Libya in June 2000 suddenly provided three ex Soviet MIG 23 fighter jets to
Zimbabwe as well as allowing 400 troops from Zimbabwe to be trained at
Bhengazi in Libya. It was further negotiated that eight more jets would be
leased to Zimbabwe from Libya for an undetermined time. The payment for this
was rumored to be a nuclear trade.)

During 2000 Iran, who was also in the nuclear market, agreed that it would
work with Mugabe in building his nuclear capability. It had a long-standing
relationship with a company called Investigacioes Aplicades (Invap) from
Argentina. Invap has willingly engaged in nuclear negotiations and transfers
over the years with countries engaged in covert nuclear weapons programs.

The Argentine Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Enrique Pareja had a meeting with six
Zimbabwe cabinet Ministers in February 2000, to present a proposal for Invap
to build a research reactor with a later view to building a nuclear power
plant. (The Herald, Zimbabwe February 2000). Unofficially, however, he was
discussing with the Zimbabwe regime how to engage in covert nuclear weapons

At this time the CIA was very busy trying to keep up with what had happened
to the enriched uranium and Congo's nuclear capability. The US ambassador
Richard Holbrook was particularly uneasy and issued a guarded condemnation
of what he assumed was going on.

Due to the fact that the USA had built the Congo nuclear plant in the first
place it was rather difficult for them to admit that their nuclear material
had gone missing. (One of the fuel rods turned up in Italy sometime later,
where it was being marketed by the Mafia.)

Invap was eventually commissioned to provide technical support through a
front company to allay suspicion. This allowed knowledge exchange to
continue with the Zimbabwean Government.

In subsequent years, both Iran and North Korea as well as Libya were
responsible for the transfer of this knowledge to Zimbabwe. This allowed
Zimbabwe Defence Industries to begin the construction of its own weapon.
Initially it was decided that the weapon should be put on a ballistic
platform. However, the technicalities never allowed this.

The construction continued in the form of what today would be known as a
"dirty bomb".

North Korea's recent admission that it has nuclear capabilities has turned
up the heat on the so-called Axis of Evil countries - with Zimbabwe now
included in the group. Why would lowly Zimbabwe matter so much to the USA
that it would be included on the list? Could it be because it is one of the
countries suspected of developing nuclear capability?

Both the CIA and South Africa have been unsuccessful in tracking this. The
attempt last year of a palace coup in Zimbabwe was sponsored by both of them
to try to get Mugabe's hand off the trigger.

With five high-ranking Zimbabwe officials being implicated in spying for
South Africa and at least one South African Intelligence Agent now
languishing in Chikurubi prison since December 2004, this must rank as one
of the most inept intelligence operations ever mounted.

In the meantime, with the heat being turned up by the CIA, Iranian President
Muhammed Khatami (who introduced Mugabe to Invap) visited Zimbabwe in March.
He and Mugabe issued a joint statement insisting on their nuclear rights and
backing each other's nuclear programs.

Also in March, the front page of the Sunday Times in South Africa had the
head of South African Intelligence publicly stating that he was extremely
concerned about what happened to the Congo's nuclear material. Why just
before Zimbabwe's election?
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The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
Monday April 18th - Sunday April 24th 2005
Weekly Media Update 2005-14



1. General comment

DURING the week Information Minister Jonathan Moyo finally exposed
government's abuse of the public media for its own goals. In an interview
with the Mail and Guardian (M&G) Online (25/4), Moyo clarified, what had
been until now, a mystery surrounding the fate of Zimbabweans' stake in
ZIMPAPERS, donated to them in January 1981 by the Nigerian government.
The ZIMPAPERS shares were then entrusted to the nominally independent
Zimbabwe Mass Media Trust (ZMMT) on their behalf.
But in an effort to circumvent the newspaper stable's public mandate and
justify its pro-government propaganda output, the authorities have
repeatedly claimed that ZIMPAPERS was not a public entity but just a private
company listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, whose majority shareholder is
the government.

Moyo however, dismissed such claims in the M&G. He noted that 51% of the
shares in ZIMPAPERS belonged to a Trust "that was not the government or Zanu
PF, and should not be controlled by either", adding that, "the beneficiary
of that trust should be all the people of Zimbabwe, the general public of
Zimbabwe. The government has no business directing Zimpapers". Moyo also
denounced government control of the media in the Zimbabwe Independent (22/4)
which he said was "anathema to democracy".
Although Moyo exposed this blatant hijacking of the public media by
government, he did not however clarify which Trust he was referring to since
he himself had apparently superintended over the dissolution of ZMMT in
December 2001 to pave way for the Multimedia Investment Trust (MIT). Moyo
was reported in The Herald (2/2/2002) saying the newly established MIT would
"act as an investment vehicle for Government, drawing investment dividends
from the media and communication industry".
Since then the legal status of MIT and what happened to the assets of ZMMT
have not been explained.
It would therefore be instructive for Moyo or more pertinently, the relevant
authorities, to clarify this matter.

Meanwhile, The Standard editor Davison Maruziva and one of the paper's
reporters, Savious Kwinika, this week joined the growing list of private
media journalists who have been charged for breaching the country's
draconian security and media gag laws for publishing a story that the
authorities claimed was "false" and contained statements that were
"prejudicial to the State".
This followed a report published by The Standard two weeks ago alleging that
seven ballot boxes and papers had been found at the home of Zaka District
Administrator Nyashadzashe Zindove. The report added that Zindove had been
arrested over the matter.
The paper (17/4) later apologised to its readers and Zindove for incorrectly
naming him as the accused instead of Zaka acting District Administrator John
Dzinoruma Mubako.

2. Food Security and Economic Issues

ZIMBABWE'S deteriorating socio-economic situation continued to receive the
attention of the media, which carried 107 stories on the matter. Forty-seven
of these were published in the government-controlled papers while the
private Press and ZBH stations (ZTV, Power FM and Radio Zimbabwe) carried 27
reports apiece. The remaining six stories appeared on Studio 7.

All the stories carried by the government-controlled media avoided
discussing fully the extent of Zimbabwe's economic and food security
problems. On the contrary, the reports heavily depended on official
pronouncements and gave the impression that the economy was on the mend.
For example, ZBH reports hardly tackled the exact reasons behind the
re-appearance of power cuts and water shortages or the economic effects of a
possible further devaluation of the dollar.

Instead, ZTV (22/4, 7am) passively quoted ZANU PF national chairman John
Nkomo merely threatening those businesses that were allegedly conspiring "to
reverse the gains of independence through economic sabotage and artificial
shortages of basic commodities".
No comment was sought from the business community.
The government-controlled papers reported in similar vein. The Sunday News
(24/4), for example, either blamed the current food shortages and price
increases on the MDC's "political mischief" or obfuscated these problems
with positive reports on the purported achievements of government's
much-publicized 'Look East' policy.

Notably, the paper simplistically interpreted the "expressed interest" by
"many companies from Asia" to exhibit at this year's Zimbabwe International
Trade Fair (ZITF), as tantamount to Asian countries filling "the void
created by the withdrawal... of some European Union countries" in protest
against Zimbabwe's land reforms.
But the paper, like its stablemates, failed to reconcile government's 'Look
East' drive with the parallel attempts by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to
re-engage Western international monetary agencies such as the IMF and the
World Bank to help revive the economy.

In fact, more contradictions appeared in the government media reports.
For example, Radio Zimbabwe and Power FM (21/4, 1pm) claimed that
government's "comprehensive restocking exercise" had started "bearing fruit"
with figures released by the Veterinary Department showing that the
country's national herd had grown from 5 million in 2002 to 5.3 million in
But the following day Radio Zimbabwe (22/4, 1pm) reported that the Stockfeed
Manufacturers of Zimbabwe was facing viability problems due to a "decline in
the national herd in the past five years". Although no figures were
provided, the station noted that as a result of the decline in the national
herd, one stock feed manufacturing company in Gweru had shut down.
Similarly, the official media failed to probe the logic behind the
authorities' plans to re-introduce price controls, which have, in the past,
led to acute food shortages.
Rather, The Sunday Mail (24/4) distorted the truth by claiming that the
government action would "result in goods becoming readily available on the
formal market, bringing relief to consumers who had been subjected to
overcharging by profiteering black market traders".
The official media's reluctance to balance its stories was reflected in the
way the government papers relied on government sources almost to the
exclusion of alternative commentators as shown in Fig 1.

Fig 1 Voice distribution in the government Press

Voice Total
Government 15
Alternative 2
Farmers 8
Local government 2
Professional 3
Business 12
Unnamed 4
Foreign 4
Ordinary people 6

In contrast, the private media continued to expose symptoms of a shrinking
economy in their 33 stories on the topic. The reports ranged from exposing
the effects of the current fuel and foreign currency shortages to the
negative effect Zimbabwe's economic decline had on South Africa's economy.

For example, Studio 7 (20/4) and the Zimbabwe Independent revealed that due
to Zimbabwe's foreign currency crisis, the country's credit rating had
become so poor that it was threatening its ability to import food to augment
the fast dwindling stocks, pegged by the Gazette at 60,000 tonnes by the end
of last month.
Because of Zimbabwe's lack of creditworthiness, said Frat Abijen of the Pan
African advisory services for South Africa on Studio 7, "the international
community finds it difficult to continue sending products to Zimbabwe
knowing that the country may not be able to pay them."

On the domestic front The Standard article, 'Things fall apart', warned that
notwithstanding the dwindling food reserves, the re-emergence of fuel
shortages, power cuts and water shortages in the cities threatened, "to
grind industry and commerce to a halt".
However, the paper, like the rest of the media, failed to follow up on the
astronomical increases in Harare City Council rates advertised in The
Saturday Herald (16/4) by the Commission running the city.
The ballooning economic crisis, added the Independent, had forced RBZ
governor Gideon Gono, to seek help from other banking executives in
resolving the situation. The paper quoted unnamed bankers saying Gono had
also revised his targeted inflation rate of between 20-30 % by year-end to
between 75 and 80 % due to the economic crisis.
The government media ignored such reports.
Instead, ZBH, The Sunday Mail and The Sunday News only reported Gono denying
a Daily News online report and "rumours" that his resignation letter to
President Mugabe, in protest against government's rebuff of his monetary
policies aimed at taming the country's high inflation, had been rejected.
While the government media heavily depended on government pronouncements,
the private Press extensively sought comment from independent commentators.

Fig 2 Voice distribution in the private Press

Voice Total
Government 7
Alternative 22
Local government 6
Business 10
Unnamed 9
Farmer 2
Foreign 2
Ordinary people 5

The private papers also carried five editorial comments that were critical
of government's economic policies.

3. Political Developments

THE media carried 210 stories on Zimbabwe's volatile political situation
during the week.
Ninety-seven of these appeared on ZBH while the government-controlled Press
published 48 stories, the private papers 49 and Studio 7 aired 16 stories.
Notably, the government media continued to flood its audiences with stories
on Zimbabwe's 25th Independence anniversary at the expense of other
pertinent post-election political developments.

For example, ZBH dedicated 75 stories (77%) out of the 97 reports it carried
on political developments in the country to the Silver Jubilee celebrations.
The other 22 stories were public relations stories on ZANU PF political
issues.  Of these, six were announcements on President Mugabe's expressed
intentions to retire at the end of his term in 2008. None were on the
political activities of other political players in Zimbabwe, especially
those of the main opposition MDC.

In addition, ZTV gave one hour 47 minutes (43%) to the Silver Jubilee
celebration out of the 4 hours 10 minutes of its main bulletins (excluding
the foreign news section) in the week.
A station-by-station coverage of the matter by ZBH is illustrated in Fig 3.

Fig. 3 ZBH's coverage of political developments

Station Total number of stories Silver Jubilee stories ZANU PF stories
ZTV 52 42 10
Radio Zimbabwe 23 19 4
Power FM 22 16 6

The government papers followed suit. They devoted 26 (54%) of their 48
stories on political developments to the Silver Jubilee celebrations. In
addition to the stories, The Herald and Chronicle (18/4) each carried a
Silver Jubilee celebration supplement of at least 10 pages.
The government papers' 20 other stories (42%) continued to legitimise the
outcome of the March 31st poll, including endorsing the appointment of the
new Cabinet while simultaneously portraying the MDC and its alleged Western
sponsors negatively. The rest of the stories were on President Mugabe's
intentions to retire.

None of their stories reported the MDC's decision to disown South African
President Thabo Mbeki as a credible peace-broker in the country's political
crisis. Only a Herald cartoon (22/4) gave readers a hint of the news.
But even the government media's charitable reports on the Silver Jubilee
failed to translate into fair and balanced examination of the country's
accomplishments and setbacks.
Rather ZBH, for example, restricted its coverage to quoting voices that only
repeated or magnified government's self-congratulatory achievements.
Fig 4 demonstrates this point.

Fig 4 Voice distribution on ZBH

Voice ZTV Radio Zimbabwe Power FM
Government 14 4 11
ZANU PF 22 4 13
Foreign Diplomats 6 7 2
Traditional leaders 3 0 4
Business 7 1 2
Povo 29 1 0
Alternative 6 0 2
Professional 8 0 0
Journalist/Reader 1 6 2

All the voices - ranging from selected members of the public, sports people
and businesses to foreign diplomats - were unmistakable in their praise of
Zimbabwe's "independence and democracy".
But while ZBH flaunted the Silver Jubilee as a national event, it did not
seek comment from other local political parties on why they had not actively
participated in the event. Neither did it ask the criteria the government
used to select and honour five foreign and six local heroes "for their
contribution towards the development of the country and the liberation

The honouring of sports personalities who had excelled in the past 25 years
by the Sports and Recreation Commission, an arm of government, also passed
Instead, ZTV (20/4, 8pm) quoted selected members of the public as having
called on the authorities to continue with the Silver Jubilee celebrations
"for the next 12 months as this will conscientize the people on Zimbabwe's
history and benefits of independence".
The government-controlled media's docility was equally reflected in its
passive coverage of President Mugabe's remark that he intended to retire at
the end of his tenure. For instance, The Herald and Chronicle (22/4) did not
investigate how Mugabe qualified his retirement, which he said was subject
to his party's scrutiny pending his last three years in office.

The private media's 49 reports on political developments were more probing.
These excluded 10 passive reports carried by The Daily Mirror and a19-page
supplement on the Silver Jubilee celebration carried by the same paper.
For instance, Studio 7 (22/4), the Independent and The Sunday Mirror
remained sceptical of President Mugabe's retirement plans. The Sunday Mirror
noted that Mugabe's statements that he would consider retiring after three
years had raised " reflective of the mystery that has
surrounded the succession debate".

On Mugabe's claims that he would not groom a successor, the paper cited, as
an example, the manner in which he had "guided" the elevation of Joyce
Mujuru to the vice-presidency and the ruthless way he dealt with those who
opposed the move.
The paper also followed up on reports by Studio 7 (20/4), The Daily Mirror,
The Financial Gazette (21/4) and the Independent that the MDC had broken
contact with South Africa, accusing President Thabo Mbeki, of siding with
ZANU PF in his efforts to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis.
The Sunday Mirror however, criticised the MDC's decision in its Behind the
Words column, saying the opposition party risked " the possibility of
isolation by naiveté" as it would become "severely SADC-locked and
politically suffocated".

Meanwhile, none of the media except for the Chronicle (19/4) gave any
prominence to the violence that marred independence celebrations at
Barbourfields Stadium, Bulawayo, during a soccer match between Highlanders
and Motor Action.
While other papers cursorily mentioned the incident on its sports pages, the
Chronicle gave it front-page status. However, the paper suffocated the
political undertones of the incident and only attributed the fracas to
"hooligans" who were part of "hordes of people" who were denied entry into
the stadium, which was already packed to capacity.

The MEDIA UPDATE was produced and circulated by the Media Monitoring Project
Zimbabwe, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra Park, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702,
E-mail: <>

Feel free to write to MMPZ. We may not able to respond to everything but we
will look at each message.  For previous MMPZ reports, and more information
about the Project, please visit our website at
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Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2005 8:43 AM
Subject: Press Statement by R Gasela on the food siruation in the country

Press Statement on Food Shortage

Ladies and Gentlemen

On the 15th March 2005, I held a press conference here where I talked about the politisation of food and the serious food crisis facing this country.  I did mention that the country had virtually run out of maize and that there will be no food after the elections.  This has now come to pass.
The 100 000 tonnes of maize imported from South Africa was destined for Bulawayo.  From there it would be distributed to other centres particularly those on line of rail.  Reports to hand are that the Silos in Bulawayo are now empty.  What this means is that the country has now stocked out.  No country with a functional government with no national catastrophe or disaster should ever stock out.
In spite of the denials of failure to produce enough maize last year, former Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Paul Mangwana conceded early this month that a total of 400 000 households were in need of food aid.  This figure translates to over 2 million people.  How could such a large number of people be in need of food aid when farmers produced 2.4 million tones?  We know that only a paltry 400 000 tones was sold to GMB instead of 1.4 million tonnes.
Any honest government, having misled the nation that there was more than enough maize, even to the extent of stopping donors, would apologize to the nation for its omission or commission.  We are unfortunate to have a government that is always right and will always blame somebody.  Zimbabweans deserve better.
The maize production this season will be no more than 500 000 tonnes.  The demand is 1.8 million tones leaving a shortfall of 1.3 million tonnes. During 2002 / 2003 the total maize distributed by WFP and its partners was about 300 000 tonnes.  The government struggled to import its undisclosed quantity. (Estimated to be 400 000 tonnes)  The shortfall of 1 000 000 tonnes, if donors agree to fund 300 000 tonnes, will be impossible to move before the next harvest in 2006.  In simple terms the situation is as follows:
a)      The country has run out of maize
b)      A lead time of three months is required to land maize in the country if such maize comes from South America, for example.  From South Africa the lead time is two months.
c)      The government estimated (and probably forward committed) that tobacco production was going to grow from 74 000 000 tonnes to 160 000 tonnes.  As it turns out, at best, the production will be about 80 000 tonnes.  Added to this is that Brazil has produced more than 700 000 tonnes of good quality tobacco, hence very low prices at the Auction Floors.
In short there is no foreign currency.
d)       Government is now planning to import.
e)      Donors have not been approached nor has a signal been given that government would welcome assistance, even without a direct approach.
We have a government that does not learn.  During the previous imports, GMB was always lamenting that although they have purchased the maize, they were failing to move it into the country in large quantities due to logistic problems.  Are we to assume now that the railways are more efficient and would move the maize quicker than then?  There is no diesel for both rail and road movement.
Only totalitarian, oppressive regimes would find joy in keeping its citizens in blissful ignorance of the food supply situation in the country.  Surely it is the same Zimbabwe government which, up to 2000, used to produce figures of its maize stock situation.  This information was useful to consumers.  Maize is now treated like a security item where the country must be kept in ignorance.  This is evidenced by the total militarization of GMB.
Zimbabwe has been turned into a country of shortages.  We have fuel shortages that started in 1999 and do not appear that there will be any respite.  We have shortages of sugar the causes of which are known.  There is no cooking oil in the country, there is no milk.  Many people who used to produce their own chickens have suddenly found to their horror that there are no day old chicks nor concentrate for home mixing.  There are shortages of eggs.  It is interesting that other than fuel the above shortages are agricultural related and this tells us a story.
Zimbabweans demand that the government should come clean on the food situation.  We demand full disclosure of the actual production of last year. We demand to know what happened to that maize through a transparent disappearance schedule.  We demand to be given an import programme.  We demand that donors be approached now.  We demand that food should never be politicized again.
Finally I would like to thank Zimbabweans for voting MDC so overwhelmingly in spite of the politicization of food.
Renson Gasela
27 April 2005
MDC InformationDept
2ndFloor, HarvestHouse,
Nelson Mandela/Angwa
Cell: 011 765 574
        091 370 326
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Mugabe Planning to Murder Dumbo and Simba!
Written by Steven Plaut
Friday, April 29, 2005

Speaking of Robert Mugabe, the New Zealand Herald reports that Mugabe has
new ideas for creating a progressive enlightened state. Mugabe recently
proposed using the absence of food in his country as a money-making idea,
and proposed to attract obese tourists to Zimbabwe for weight-loss tourism.
Even Michael Moore turned him down on THAT idea!

Child prostitution in Zimbabwe has been growing as a desparate way to try to
eat, the British Telegraph reports. White farmers who had their farmers
stolen by Mugabes moonbats are suing the country for 12 billion pounds. The
funeral trade is almost the only one in the country showing a profit. Mugabe
has printed up so many Zimbabwe dollars that even "millionaires" cannot
afford food. Mugabe insists Zimbabwe's economic and political problems are
the direct result of a plot by Britain and the United States to topple him.

Now Mugabe has a NEW idea for dealing with the absence of food in Zimbabwe.
He has turned his sights on the country's wildlife reserves in a bid to feed
thousands of famished villagers, faster than you can say Hakuna Mutata:

  "Zimbabwe's National Parks have been ordered to work with rural district
councils to begin the wholesale slaughter of big game. Parks rangers said
they had already shoot 10 elephants in the last week and their meat was
barbecued at festivities to mark Zimbabwe's 25 years of independence. The 10
elephants were killed by National Park rangers. Four of the giant animals
were reportedly shot in full view of tourists near Zimbabwe's Lake Kariba,
the largest man made lake in Africa and a major haven for wildlife. Five
years after ordering the confiscation of white-owned farms, the Mugabe
regime has turned the country once dubbed the breadbasket of Africa, into a
famished land with an estimated four million rural poor suffering from food

Food ran out in Zimbabwe soon after the last "election" and the country has
experienced acute power and fuel shortages over the past two weeks. Even
Jimmy Carter, who has made a career out of "legitimizing" fake "elections,"
could not stomach this one. Carter declared: "Mugabe declared that the
Carter Center is a terrorist organization and asked us to leave." Basic
commodities have disappeared from supermarket shelves. Mr Mugabe has
promised to jail food manufacturers whom he accuses of creating shortages to
encourage people to revolt. That has always been an effective way to
increase food production.

So where are all the animal rights moonbats? Where are the radical
vegetarians who tell us that eating corn beef is murder?

Save Simba from the Left's favorite Afrofascist! Save Dumbo!

About the Writer: Dr. Plaut is a professor of business administration at the
University of Haifa, and the author of "The Scout," available from Gefen
Publishing House at:
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Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Zimbabwe's Health Time Bomb

A breakdown in the medical and sanitation infrastructure and a severe lack
of qualified professionals are combining to devastating effect.

From Chipo Sithole in Harare (Africa Reports, 28-Apr-05)

Zimbabwe's isolation by the West following the recent disputed parliamentary
election, in which President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF clinched a two-thirds
majority, has accelerated the decline in living standards of ordinary

Although every aspect of life is affected by the implosion of the economy,
the already ailing health sector has been hit hardest.

A crippling manpower shortage - as doctors, nurses, pharmacists,
radiographers and laboratory technicians quit in large numbers to take jobs
abroad - has combined with an inadequate supply of essential drugs in the
midst of a ravaging HIV/AIDS pandemic to throw the country's health delivery
system into disarray.

The general economic decline, which has seen the country's gross domestic
product decline every year for the past seven years, has hastened the
departure of qualified medical personnel, leaving junior doctors and nurses
and trainees to run the country's collapsing health institutions.

At Masvingo General Hospital, which serves hundreds of thousands of people
in an area 300 kilometres south of the capital Harare, only two doctors are
still in service. The country's health ministry has decreed that 14 doctors
are the absolute minimum necessary to serve the needs of the people.

In addition, the hospital's infrastructure is collapsing. An awful smell
emanates from the dimly lit morgue, as its refrigeration system broke down
several weeks ago and cannot be repaired because of lack money and spares.

Maggots are now devouring the bodies, including that of Petros Jeka, an
activist for the Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, who was allegedly
murdered by youths loyal to the ruling ZANU PF party three years ago. No
post-mortem has been carried out on Jeka's body, as required before any
trial can be held, because all the pathologists have left.

In addition to the flight of health professionals, the hospital's boilers
and laundry machines have broken down. The toilets have ceased to work
because of lack of spares, and junior nurses carry water buckets to flush

A senior hospital official, who declined to be named, said, "We are failing
to cope because we are understaffed and the situation is worsening by the
day. If this continues, we are heading for disaster."

Reports to the health ministry from Marondera General Hospital, 80
kilometres southeast of Harare, say rats are devouring corpses awaiting
collection from the morgue, where again the refrigeration unit has broken

The situation makes a cruel mockery of ZANU PF's slogan during the first
decade of independence - "Health for All by the Year 2000".

Many doctors and nurses who have left the country say they took the painful
decision to go because patriotism does not put food on the table. Senior
state hospital doctors earn little more than the equivalent of around 100 US
dollars a month, while nurses' salaries are around one-third that level.

"How can nurses work for peanuts while others live lavishly with hefty
salaries and good perks?" said a nurse, now working in the United Kingdom
but visiting her family in Harare.

Declining to be identified, the nurse told IWPR, "If you continue to labour
in Zimbabwe today, you won't achieve anything in life. You will be working
for food only.

"I have managed to buy a house and a car in the short two years I have
worked in London. If I had remained here, I would never have bought them."

Low morale has taken a toll in health institutions countrywide. In rural
areas, it is common to find health staff at clinics basking in the sun or
doing their own private work because the centres have little equipment and
drugs are in short supply.

The United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, says the general decline in
health services has been exacerbated by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Its statistics show that the under-five mortality rate has risen 50 per cent
since independence in 1980. A spokesman said that one Zimbabwean child dies
from AIDS-related infections every 15 minutes, while each day an estimated
100 babies are born HIV-positive from infected mothers.

UNICEF predicts that by the end of this year, some 160,000 children will
have recently lost one or both parents to the syndrome, taking the AIDS
orphan population to nearly one million in an overall population of just
11.5 million.

Lovemore Kadenge, chairman of the semi-autonomous Hospitals Association
Trust that monitors delivery of services at state hospitals, said every
hospital doctor is now doing the same work that five years ago was performed
by at least seven doctors.

At Chitungwiza Hospital, on the outskirts of Harare, a single doctor has the
impossible task of coping with 300 casualty and outpatient cases each day.
Kadenge said the doctors' and nurses' workloads were multiplied because
their departments are not computerised to help with administration.

Dr Agnes Mahomva is one of only two doctors at a rural hospital serving a
quarter of a million people at Glendale, 100 km north of Harare. Inside,
three-quarters of the beds and many pallets on the floors are filled with
gasping emaciated people with AIDS.

Dr Mahomva is one of the diminishing number of doctors who refuse to give
up. "As a technical person, I could go out and bang my head, or I can say,
'What is it that I can do?'" she said. "There is still a lot we can do with
the little we have."

The Reserve Bank tried recently to throw a thin lifeline to the collapsing
health sector. It allocated a million dollars of scarce foreign exchange to
the state's National Pharmaceutical Company, NatPharm, to purchase drugs to
supply public sector health institutions for the next nine months.

But even the Reserve Bank itself admits this is an inadequate sum when
measured against the scale of the need. And against a background of
widespread hunger and food reserves that have almost run out, foreign
currency will in future have to be diverted to grain purchases in an attempt
to avert widespread starvation.

While hospital conditions deteriorate, the Community Working Group on
Health, CWGH - a network of non-governmental civic groups - has described
overcrowding and lack of proper sanitation in poor areas of Zimbabwe's
cities a health "time bomb".

Itai Rusike, CWGH's executive director, said overcrowding in Harare's
high-density poor suburbs had reached crisis levels, creating potentially
"explosive disease epidemic situations". Ailments such as scabies, last
reported more than a quarter century ago, are reappearing, he said.

"This is a classic indication of the collapse of the health sector. It is a
time bomb, a huge problem indeed," he added.

Ngoni Mudege, the engineering director of the Harare-based Institute of
Water and Sanitation Development, said that in the capital's teeming
suburbs, some houses designed to accommodate families of six were housing,
on average, more than fifteen people.

He added that as a consequence of the overcrowding and lack of investment,
the capital's sanitation systems are breaking down, with waste piling up in
sewage pipes. He told IWPR that many toilets no longer flush and said that
in one area, some 1,300 people were sharing one communal toilet.

Bill Saidi, a distinguished Zimbabwean journalist who edited the Sunday
edition of the Daily News until it was banned last year by the ZANU PF
government, said that he was shocked by his recent visits to Harare's two
main hospitals, Parirenyatwa and Harare Central.

"The hospitals' decline struck me as almost inexorable, as incurable," he

"They were not pretty sights, and I came away wondering if this was not the
beginning of the end of the world."

Chipo Sithole is the pseudonym of an IWPR journalist in Harare.
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New Zimbabwe

'Target Mugabe, not Tsvangirai,' Nyathi tells supporters

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 04/29/2005 10:05:19
ZIMBABWE'S opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on Thursday sent
out a defiant message over calls for its leader Morgan Tsvangirai to resign.

Party chiefs are furious over a whispering campaign from despondent
supporters who feel the party is not gaining any ground on President Robert
Mugabe's Zanu PF after the March 31 elections in which the party lost

In a radio interview with Afro Sounds FM on Thursday night, party spokesman
Paul Themba Nyathi sought to rally the party faithful, telling them: "Mugabe
is the enemy not Tsvangirai."

Nyathi also shot down growing speculation that the MDC national congress set
for August this year could be Tsvangirai's 'Ides of March'.

He said: "Congresses are about dealing with the business of the party. They
are not about changing leadership.

"I look forward to the congress because that's where we get the chance to
discuss strategies and what we want to do when we get into power. Leadership
is just but one item on the agenda."

Tsvangirai, a former trade unionist, has led the MDC since its inception in
September 1999. The MDC significantly reduced Zanu PF's overwhelming
majority in parliament in 2000 when it claimed 57 seats out of the 120

However, the party suffered a reversal in parliamentary elections last month
when its gains were reduced to 41 seats amid claims of rampant vote rigging
by Mugabe's Zanu PF.

Said Nyathi: "There are 120 MDC candidates who stood in the last election,
and Tsvangirai didn't stand. This idea that Tsvangirai has lost an election
or that to get rid of Zanu PF and Mugabe, Tsvangirai should be targeted, I
feel it is energy wasted."

Meanwhile Tsvangirai was in Gwanda on Thursday and will tour all the
country's provinces to thank voters who voted for MDC and also announce new
strategies, Nyathi said.

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The Zimbabwean

Retribution on the rise
HARARE - Post-election retribution by the ruling party against opposition
supporters is increasing, according to the MDC, which is documenting all
cases reported to it. These include:
Sam Komala (25), an MDC election agent at Sanya Primary School in Shamva and
his wife, Patience Maungire, who was a polling agent at Soma Resettlement
area, had their tuckshop looted of goods worth millions of dollars.

A thatched house belonging to Christin Mudavanhu was burnt down. Freedmore
Karedza and Shepherd Kandeya, who were arrested after a report was made to
Madziva police, allegedly had their bail paid by Zanu (PF) MP Nicholas

In Mount Darwin North several MDC election agents have relocated after Zanu
(PF) supporters were allegedly tracking them down.

Headman Gandari was harassed at a meeting on April 23 at Kumundati Village
by ruling party supporters wanting to know why there were so many MDC
activists in his area.

The cases in Mt. Darwin North have been reported to Constable Makubalo at
Karanda Police Station, but no arrests have been made.

- Zimbabwe Vigil thanks all those who helped with the Dumi Tutani petition
and reports that they are expecting him to be freed in time to attend a
celebratory vigil in London tomorrow.
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The Zimbabwean

Detention center employees have 'prejudicial attitudes' - UNHCR
EDINBURGH - A failed Zimbabwean asylum seeker has lodged an official
complaint of physical assault and racial abuse with the Home Office. The
offences allegedly took place as his escorts were attempting to put him on a
plane to Malawi on April 4, 2005.
The man, who has appealed for anonymity for fear of retribution, has been
returned to Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre, Harmondsworth, and the
matter is now in the hands of the local police. They interviewed him last
week and were shown injuries to his wrists. He alleges he was also kicked in
the crotch and hit on the back of the neck.

When returned to detention he was described by other asylum seekers as 'a
broken man'.

The Zimbabwean has had sight of his complaint form, which reads: "When I
objected ....they started kicking me and punching me repeatedly. One of
the[m] kept saying that I was a baboon and I was strong because I climb
trees in Africa. He kept on saying I had to go to Africa because black
people belong there. He said we black people are contaminating the UK. So he
will make sure that I go ...The escorts told me that what they did to me
last Monday was just child's play but next time it will be a total hell. I
am scared for my life. They might break my neck this time around."

His case has been taken up by members of the Britain Zimbabwe Society in
Scotland, who have been involved in helping Zimbabwean asylum seekers in
Dungavel, the Scottish detention center.

Executive committee member Joan Weir said the Home Office had acknowledged
receipt of the complaint form and referred it to the Heathrow Police and the
Immigration Service.

A letter from the Home Office's immigration and nationality directorate,
bearing the motto 'Building a safe, just and tolerant society' said: "I am
sorry to hear of your concerns about the conduct of our contractor's staff
and would wish to assure you that the Immigration Service is committed to
providing a courteous and professional service and that any compliant about
the way our contractors carry out their duties is viewed very seriously."

Weir said she was appalled at the 'dismaying misconceptions about asylum
seekers which are currently being blatantly peddled by some politicians'.

"Not only have David Blunkett's 'exceedingly brutal rules' not been revoked
by the current Home Secretary, but the nature of these rules influence not
just the perceptions of people unlikely to meet asylum seekers but,
shamefully, also encourage overt racist behaviour by some Home Office
employees directly working in detention centers," she said.

"It is ironic that both these Zimbabwean men we have been visiting have
strong grounds for seeking asylum from serious assault and persecution under
the Mugabe regime."

Weir recalled the recent BBC1 documentary 'Detention Undercover'. The UNHCR
has been quoted as saying the programme had exposed "the prejudicial
attitudes of those employed to work at detention centers" which, it said,
"are particularly disturbing".

"Is it too much to ask that the politicians make positive attempts to
provide humane conditions for asylum seekers in the UK, or at the very least
consider the consequences of their negative, false and inflammatory
assertions?" she asked.
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The Zimbabwean

MDC leader calls on masses
The climate of fear in Zimbabwe conditioned the response of the masses to
the stolen parliamentary elections, according to a top MDC Parliamentarian.
The Shadow Minister for Finance, Tapiwa Mashakada, told a lively meeting of
the MDC Central London Forum that the party wants real action - not the
theatre provided by the arrest of party leaders.

"In successful revolutions it is the people who drag the leaders along
screaming," he said - and asked "Where does leadership's role end and people's
power begin?"

Mr Mashakada said a new strategy was under consideration but that the masses
lived in fear. "We want real action but we must be with the broad masses."

The Shadow Minister said that the MDC had been hoodwinked into taking part
in the elections - which the party would clearly have won if the poll had
not been rigged.

He said results would be challenged in the courts so that evidence could be
presented which would show that the SADC electoral principles had been
flouted and that the South African and SADC observer teams were wrong to
describe the elections as free and fair.

Speaking on his portfolio responsibilities, Mr Mashakada said the middle
class had been wiped out and there was now a huge gap between the rich and
the poor, who comprised over 80% of the population. It was difficult to see
how the regime could improve the economy.

The Forum is held every Monday at 7.30 at the George, Fleet Street, London
(opposite the Royal Courts of Justice).
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The Zimbabwean

Protest against 'stolen elections'
LONDON - Zimbabweans in the UK are to stage a demonstration outside the
Zimbabwe Embassy in London from 14.00 - 18.00 on Saturday in protest at the
stolen parliamentary elections. Reports indicate massive vote rigging but
Zimbabwe's neighbours have, nevertheless, approved the elections.
The demonstration will mark the launch of a campaign by Zimbabweans in the
diaspora - estimated at a quarter of the population - to join forces to
achieve change in Zimbabwe.

Support will be canvassed for a new petition:

"NO SHAKING HANDS WITH MUGABE - The latest elections in Zimbabwe were once
again stolen by the Mugabe regime with the connivance of its neighbours.
Retaliation is now being meted out to people who supported the opposition.
We urge the British government to end Mugabe's reign of terror and halt his
drive for legitimacy: 1) bring the matter to the UN Security Council, 2)
make it a priority during term as President of the EU and G8 (group of
leading industrial nations), 3) put pressure on South Africa to allow
democracy in Zimbabwe, 4) extend targeted sanctions against Mugabe's

Zimbabweans have been demonstrating outside Zimbabwe House in the Strand
since October 2002. This Vigil is in protest at human rights abuses in
Zimbabwe and will coninue until there are free and fair internationally
monitored elections. Every Saturday after the Vigil the diary is written.
Here is last Saturday's entry:

"The Vigil was cheered by the last-minute rescue of one of our supporters,
Tafara, who escaped being deported on Tuesday. A group of us - galvanised by
a good friend of Zimbabwe, the Rev Dr Martine Stemerick - persuaded a brave
Kenyan Airways flight attendant to refuse to co-operate with sending him
back to Zimbabwe. For her pains, Martine was banned from Heathrow for 24
hours! A small price to pay as she wasn't planning to go anywhere. But our
grateful thanks to the Kenyan lady.

"We were proud to have a report on the incident on the news boards prepared
by Mike and Wiz to keep passers-by up-to-date on the situation in Zimbabwe.
More good news on their boards was the demotion of the Zimbabwe Ambassador
to the UK, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, to the post of Foreign Minister in the
new enlarged Mugabe cabinet.

"This means he is now in a position to do even more damage to the Mugabe
cause. We hope to be as much of a thorn in the flesh to his successor to the
London sinecure. We can inform him in advance that he can't do anything
about the Vigil. Mr Mumbengegwi called in the local police to complain about
us and they had to explain that as this is a democracy we had every right to
peaceful protest and there was no action they could take.

"Not that the Embassy has given up attempts to subvert us: one of our
supporters today reported how he had been threatened by the CIO at our
pre-election overnight Vigil. He also alleged that sons of the Zanu (PF)
bigwig, Patrick Chinamasa, along with other thugs, had visited one of
supporters at his home and warned him against supporting the Vigil. We are
collecting evidence to present to the police to support a complaint made by
us to the government some time ago about the activities of the CIO in the UK
and the presence in this country of so many Zanu (PF) supporters, including
close family members, of the Zimbabwe regime."
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The Zimbabwean

Erosion of meaningful values
PRETORIA - Notwithstanding the claims and substance of foul play in the
recent elections, the reality is that the outcome was really representative
of the now typical Zimbabwean and of generalised African autocratic culture.
The declared results could not have been attained without massive complicity
by assorted Zimbabweans, suitably compliant or press-ganged, and pre-aided
and abetted by none other than depraved and failing retrogressive solidarity
comrades such as found in Mbeki's regime in South Africa.

As with other African tyrannical regimes, many have observed the progressive
and exponential erosion of meaningful values in Zimbabwe after decades of
misrule and retrogressive renaissance.

Some residual Zimbabweans can be categorized as being imprisoned by
Otherwise, a growing proportion are seen to be morally sapless, racists,
shameless, inept, looters, zombies, exploiters, liars, free-loaders,
cowards, self-improvers, lazy, greedy, non-achievers, pathetic, mentally
challenged, opportunists, blame passers, incompetent, delusional, beggars or
state-enabled thieves.

Due and honest diligence remains unnecessary whilst there are still a few
residual national assets to loot for interim sustenance purposes.

The Zanu (PF) culture has been promoted and patronizingly enabled by the
examples set and encouraged by the insolvent leadership who have a simple
agenda - i.e. to survive, patronise, and profit from their own power-based
benefit at the expense of all others.

The actuality is that well-proven cultural values, that have enabled the
first world to mature and lead, are alien concepts to most African leaders,
since these evolved benchmarks challenge, undermine and expose the lack of
capacity and integrity of despotic leaderships.

Their parrot cry is: "we are eternal victims of all others than ourselves"
and "the West must forever give us compensation and access to loot for past

Those in the West must actually take some form of so-far undeclared blame
for the globally known "African Scar".
They still fail to come to terms with the fact that Africa habitually keeps
scratching its self-made festering scabs in the misdirected expectation that
western aid programs will heal them with easily convertible contributions
that augment externalised asset holdings.

The West invented "white guilt" and political correctness that made
truth-telling a crime if it was in any way construed as one-sided racism.
They stoked up the Swiss bank accounts of looters with unmonitored funds
that were actually intended for aid and development programs.

They are the ones who still think that throwing more money in the same
direction will make any iota of difference to the general African syndrome
of self-inflicted demise.

The likes of Tony Blair and his promotion of conscience cleansing are
willing to further nurture evil in Africa rather than expect the
non-achievers and plunderers to actually do something recognizable to
justify external support.

Blair typically has not realised that leopards do not change their spots.
The oracles of evil of yesterday are now ordinarily proven to not be the
deliverers of vision and statesmanship tomorrow.

What the emerged world has failed to come to real terms with is the fact
that African leaders typically display cultural identity confusions. As the
occasion suites them, they try to blend Marxism, struggler mentalities,
self-service, liberal socialism, extinct ethnic culture promotions,
capitalism, tribalism, embittered agendas, primate values, and the pretences
of understanding the real fabric of modern society and democracy.

Several African leaders purport to comprehend proven values of morality,
democracy, human rights, standards, international charters and law. When
measurements are made, one sees that they are continuously dropping the

What is now not surprising but still most alarming is the fact that they
still do not seem to have the intellectual acumen and maturity to realise
their mental deficiencies.

The educated world now desperately needs to review its strategies and decide
whether Africa is worth caring about, and whether it needs to divorce itself
from repetitive African failures.

Perhaps Zimbabwe should hereafter be left to be materially supported or
re-colonized by heroic stalwarts like Mbeki, Cuba, Iran and China.

Mugabe should be assured that no sensible nation would want to colonise a
deadbeat nation that has nothing more to offer than serious debt,
protagonists of evil and huge extended begging baskets.
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The Zimbabwean

Independence fest glorious success
WARD 12, PARIRENYATWA HOSPITAL, HARARE - I am very upset. We were refused
permission to get a day off from this place to go to the national Sports
Stadium to celebrate the silver anniversary of our Independence last week.
We were told that there were not enough staff to go with us and make sure we
did not get too excited - they have all gone to UK looking for pounds. And
the Chinese drugs have run out so there is nothing to calm us down.
But as you well know by now Mr Editor, Magaisa never misses anything. A
friend of mine has given me a blow-by-blow account of what took place and
here is his report (by the way he is very shy and only wants to be known as
Pat - he says ex pat, but I know his name is really Pat).

So this is what Pat writes to me:

The main celebrations for our glorious 25 years of Independence included an
address by the President, Robert Mugabe, the release of 25 pigeons, and a
soccer match between the Zimbabwean and Tanzanian national teams.

The PMB (or Pigeon Marketing Board), who are the only people permitted to
transport pigeons about the country, had imported some from Cuba. It is
reliably reported that as soon as the pigeons were released, they were shot
down with catties by starving street-kids and eaten.

Chickens have become so scarce that two new fast-food shops have opened -
Pigeon Inn and Pigeon Lickin.
The soccer match was abandoned after the ball went into the crowd and
somebody ate it. The referee, a white farmer, reported this to the ZRP crowd
control officer, and was arrested for violence.

He was taken to a cell intended to hold three people and found 30 members of
the MDC and two emaciated Sunday Telegraph reporters crammed into it, with
one cracked and blocked toilet between them.

Still, keeping his wits about him, he organized two teams and a football
match in the yard ensued between the Probably Innocent vs. the Definitely
Innocent. This was the only match played in Harare that day.
However, police spokesman Asst. Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, said he had
heard nothing about it, idly stroking the statue of the Three Wise Monkeys
on his desk as he spoke.

Newly-appointed Information Minister , Tichaona Jakonya, fresh from lying
his head off for years to the United Nations assembly in New York, denied
that the match had happened, saying the report was all a plot by Tony Blair
to tarnish the name of the country and impugn its sovereignty. "Zimbabwe
will never be a colony again," he solemnly intoned, before the assembled
press corps fell into a deep slumber.

Earlier in the day, both startled diplomatic guests at the stadium were
amazed to see that when Bob and the Wailers entered, such was the shortage
of petrol that President Robert Mugabe arrived on a bullet-proof golden
scooter - a 100cc Zhingzhonga - with his wife, Grace, riding pillion.

The fly-past of the newly-acquired Chinese jet-fighters had to be postponed,
owing to a shortage of bamboo.
A lavish banquet was thrown at Pariah State House in the evening, the menu
comprising Potage de Sorghum with Foie Grass, Sparrow Benedict, Kapenta
Kariba, Fillet of Pigeon Breast Tsvangirai flambé, or Piaf Stroganoff, all
washed down with either Mbaredale Estate Mugarbonnay 05 or sparkling Cold

Ignoramus Chombo's culinary delight, Matabeleland Desert, followed, with a
local variety of Edam cheese named after the Minister of Agriculture, Made
and cracker, a nut, and mbanje cigars (choice of Malawi Gold or Durban
Poison) to end the meal.

Music was supplied by the Darktown Strutters Mbira ensemble from Chitungwiza
(previously known as the Bright Lights Strutters). In memory of the late
Border Gezi and Mai Shuvai Mahofa the kwassa kwassa kid broke into a

The President thanked the chef, and all the other chefs. He apologised for
the Blair Toilet having malfunctioned, as a vital part was unobtainable from

Ha ha ha ha. Thanks Pat - reading your report, it is just as though I was
there myself.
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The Zimbabwean

Will SA go the way of Zimbabwe?
CAPE TOWN - The day after the election in Zimbabwe, the Cape Times carried a
front-page story on the South African government's new policy to 'turn the
tide against poverty' by cutting back on the tax-funded opulence of ANC
President Mbeki's private jet would be sold and he would in future travel by
South African Airways. There would be no more mansions and Mercedes for
ministers and no more full-page advertisements in the newspapers singing the
praises of the ANC government.

Being naturally gullible and tired after a long night, I read it in a
dreamlike state, feeling that I had been transported into a different
universe where the ordinary laws of African politics had broken down.

In this strange realm, African leaders put the welfare of the people ahead
of their own luxury and vainglory. Then I came to the last line of the
article, designed to make dimwits like me check the date, and was bumped
back to reality.

Part of this reality was the grisly farce of the Zimbabwean election, the
inevitable result and its equally inevitable endorsement by the South
African government. President Mugabe of Zimbabwe must be extremely grateful
to President Mbeki of South Africa, without whose constant support and
encouragement he would probably not have been able to sustain his tyranny.

The ANC shouted and screamed against apartheid South Africa and Ian Smith's
Rhodesia and called for sanctions against both. It denounces what it sees as
crimes of the Israeli government, such as the building of the wall to shut
out Palestine.

But against the mass murder, torture, terror, gang rape and deliberate
starvation of the Zimbabwe people by Mugabe's dictatorship, neither
President Mbeki nor any other leading figure of the ANC in his government
has whispered one word of protest.

The most frightening question hanging over the future of South Africa is
this. Does the ANC support Mugabe out of political expediency or because it
agrees with his actions? If the latter, will South Africa go the way of

Expediency would be easy to understand. The curse of black Africans, in
Africa and abroad, is their unrequited obsession with the white man. Black
Africans try to reduce all human existence to a simple morality tale in
which the white man is the source of all evil and misfortune.

They have little interest in black people beyond their borders but enormous
interest in white people. If there is an atrocity in an African country,
black people outside that country will not care unless there are white
people concerned, either as instigators or as victims.

When Mugabe slaughtered 20,000 black people in southern Zimbabwe in 1983,
nobody outside Zimbabwe, including the ANC, paid it the slightest attention.
Nor did they care when, after 2000, he drove thousands of black farm workers
out of their livelihoods and committed countless atrocities against his
black population. But when he killed a dozen white farmers and pushed others
off their farms, it caused tremendous excitement.

Mugabe became a hero in the eyes of black activists in South Africa, the US
and England. That he has ruined Zimbabwe, a beautiful and naturally blessed
country; that he has turned it from a food exporter to a hungry food
importer; that he has caused 80 per cent unemployment and 600 per cent
inflation; that he has killed and tortured tens of thousands of Africans;
that he has crushed democracy; that he has reduced life expectancy from 55
years in 1980 when he came to power to 33 years now - none of this matters
compared with his glorious triumph in beating up a handful of white farmers.

It needs no skill at all to win the applause of black activists around the
world. Any African president can kill as many black people as he likes
knowing that, if he then condemns white imperialism, he is guaranteed
acclamation. Idi Amin did it in the 1970s.

Mugabe's tactics are almost as crude. Mbeki would be an idiot to be
surprised by them, and he is not. The ANC is now almost unassailable in
South Africa. It won 70 per cent of the vote in the election last year and
has no credible rival for power. Mbeki could easily stop supporting Mugabe's
reign of terror without losing significant support at home.

So that leaves the sinister possibility that Mbeki genuinely approves of
Mugabe's actions, both the persecution of opponents and the confiscation of
white assets.

South Africa's press is free, even if it labours under heavy
self-censorship, but the national television broadcaster, the SABC,
increasingly resembles Mugabe's state television with much of the 'news'
consisting of the mighty accomplishments of the ruling party and the great
utterances of its supreme leader.

At present the ANC faces no serious challenge at elections. If it did face a
serious challenge, as Mugabe did in 2000, would it act as he did?
Unfortunately, there are many signs that this is exactly what it would do.

The ANC has long experience in using violence and terror against its black
opponents in the 1980s and 1990s, and would probably put this to use if too
many blacks began to vote against it.

This might be a reason why the ANC so enthusiastically supports Mugabe,
saying in effect to potential black dissidents, 'Be careful. We can do what
he does.' Mugabe became heroic by seizing white-owned farms in Zimbabwe
(most of which were bought during his government with its full legal

Since farming is a negligible part of the South African economy, the ANC, to
reproduce Mugabe's heroism, would have to seize other white assets such as
mines, banks and factories. The farms taken from the whites in Zimbabwe did
not, of course, go in the main to ordinary black people in Zimbabwe but to a
handful of rich cronies in the ruling party. In the ANC's ideology of
'transformation', this is fine.

'Transformation' does not mean reducing inequality or improving the living
standards of all. It means changing the race of ownership and power. It is
not about rich and poor; it is purely about black and white.

If all South African industry were owned by a dozen black billionaires while
the majority of black people were living in penury, this would count as
successful transformation, just as Zimbabwe, which is now in ruins but has
black ownership of the farms, is seen as having had a successful

In South Africa, the main instrument of transformation is Black Economic
Empowerment (BEE). This requires whites to hand over big chunks of the
ownership of companies to blacks and to surrender top jobs to them.

Almost all the blacks so enriched belong to a small elite connected to the
ANC. BEE is already happening to mines, banks and factories. In other words,
a peaceful Mugabe-like programme is already in progress in South Africa.
What are the chances of its turning violent?

Before the fall of apartheid in 1990, the ANC was Marxist in thought and
believed in the command economy. It abandoned this, thanks in large part to
Mbeki, because it felt constrained by the realities of the global economy
after the fall of communism and the need for foreign investment.

Does it now really want to follow Mugabe's violent example but feel
constrained by these same considerations? If circumstances changed, as they
did for Mugabe, would the ANC cast aside constraint and unleash the
'comrades' on white-owned businesses and properties?

Such a move would provide a marvellous opportunity for mayhem, for the
multitudes of unemployed young black men would be ecstatically received by
the rich but resentful black elite that spends its energy obsessing about
whites, and would be cheered to the rooftops by the UN, the African Union
and 'progressive forces' around the world. Imagine TV pictures of the white
executives of Anglo-America being manacled and whipped through the streets
of Johannesburg by grinning black youths. What could be more delightful?

White South Africans are told that they should 'learn the lessons of the
white farmers in Zimbabwe'. What lessons? That you should never trust a
black government (since they bought their farms with the approval of a black
government)? That you should never invest in Africa or pour your sweat into

That you should not try to befriend black people and improve their living
standards (since those Zimbabwean farmers who did so were the first to have
their lands confiscated)? When Mugabe took power in 1980, there were about
300,000 whites in Zimbabwe. Now there are about 25,000. Is the lesson for
white South Africans that they should all emigrate?

I do not know the answers. I did not predict the fall of communism or the
fall of apartheid. I am not a good prophet. Zimbabwe is an imperfect
comparison with South Africa. But looking at all the evidence as clearly as
I can, it seems to me that Zimbabwe is the best comparison we have; and if
you want to see the future of South Africa, it might not be a bad idea to
look at the present in Zimbabwe.
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The Zimbabwean

Minister must remove press laws

Last Friday the new minister of information, Tichaona Jokonya, met editors
from both the private and state-run media in Zimbabwe and suggested a
lowering of the temperature in relationships between the government and the
So far, so good. We welcome this initiative. We would like to see serious
debate in our country about where we are, how we are being governed and
offer solutions to what we see are our common problems. We believe
government does not have the monopoly on wisdom - solutions to our problems
require all of us to put our heads together for the common good.

However, we disagree with the Minister when he says that the president
should not be criticized. If he were a non-partisan, non-executive,
president we would have said Yes - let's keep him out of politics.

But, it is difficult to separate Robert Mugabe the politician from Robert
Mugabe the president. He is also the leader of Zanu (PF). He vociferously
denounces those he perceives to be his political opponents.

He threatens every foe - real and imaginery; he defies court orders; he fans
and condones violence; he pardons criminals when it suits him - the list
goes on. And it is no secret that the government of Zimbabwe is a mere
extension of Zanu (PF).

The government, Mugabe and the party are one and the same. How, therefore,
is a thinking press, and indeed a thinking opposition, supposed to make
constructive criticisms without being condemned for attacking the person of
the president?

While the new minister was busy making these welcome noises, the police were
busy charging Davison Maruziva and Savious Kwinika, from The Standard, under
his predecessor's anti-freedom of the press legislation - AIPPA and POSA.

As long as these two laws remain on our statute books, together with other
colonial laws that have been maintained long after the colonial era is
over - it will be difficult for journalists to believe that the minister is
serious about what he is saying.

If the minister wants us to take him seriously he should turn his immediate
attention to the removal of these laws.
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The Zimbabwean

Stop absurd diplomatic pretence
Dear Family and Friends,

Things have deteriorated noticeably in Zimbabwe in the three weeks since the
ruling party declared they had won the elections. Prices have shot up, basic
foodstuffs are becoming harder and harder to find and the fuel supply is

Water from taps has become a luxury and the state-owned television this week
gave us a long story to explain that as winter approaches electricity cuts
are going to be a regular occurrence.

This week the MDC finally gave up its prolonged diplomatic game and openly
declared that the South Africans were not honest brokers in mediating in the
Zimbabwean crisis.

They said that it was now apparent that the South African stance of "Quiet
Diplomacy" was in a reality just a "package of lies and pretence". The
statement of this sad fact and an end to the nonsensical diplomatic
pretence, comes as a relief to Zimbabweans.

We had watched with shock and disgust the line taken by the SABC TV news
presenter reporting from Zimbabwe during the election period and few people
believed South Africa was impartial.

Zimbabweans feel so utterly betrayed by our African neighbours. At least now
the talk has become straightforward and to the point. By all accounts there
are probably less than 20 or 30 000 whites left in Zimbabwe and it is matter
of continental shame that our regional neighbours cannot and will not see
the suffering of 11 million people, but choose to keep on and on hiding
behind the now 25-year-old "colonialist" scapegoat.

It is very hard to be optimistic about anything at the moment but there is a
joke doing the rounds which is particularly appropriate as we hurtle
backwards into the dark ages. Using a stick, an old shoelace and a bent
paper clip a hungry man crafts a crude fishing rod and goes down to try his
luck at the river.

Against all odds he manages to catch a small fish and he hurries home to his
wife with the first meat they've seen for weeks. He asks his wife to grill
the fish immediately but she says she can't because they are having an
extended power cut.

Then he suggests that she uses the paraffin stove instead and poaches the
fish but she can't do that either because there is no paraffin in the
country for the stove. The man goes off to collect firewood and says now
they can fry the fish - but that is also impossible because there is neither
margarine nor cooking oil in the country. In despair, the hungry man
suggests they simply boil the fish but that too is impossible as there is no
water in the taps.

Resigned to simply smoking the fish on an open fire, the hungry man bends to
light the sticks but cannot even do that as the country ran out of matches
this week. In disgust he gets up, grabs the fish and takes it back to the

The fish slides into the water, turns back to wave a fin at the hungry man
and says: "Well, you voted for them." Until next week with love. Ndini
shamwari yenyu.
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The Zimbabwean

Open debate stifled
Post-election political developments in the country continued to generate
interest from the media, which devoted 190 stories to the issue. Sixty-three
of the reports were published in the government Press, 44 in private
newspapers, 74 appeared on ZBH (ZTV, Power FM and Radio Zimbabwe) and the
remaining 11 were carried by Studio 7.
Notable, however, was the government media's continued attempts to stifle
open debate on the renewed political crisis bedevilling the country
following a disputed March 31st general election results. For instance, 33
of the 63 stories in the government press merely glossed over the negative
effects of the poll controversy by either amplifying claims that the
election was free and fair or by censoring and ridiculing alternative views
on the matter.

A typical story appeared in The Herald (14/4). Although it reported on the
opposition MDC's legal challenge of 13 seats, which the opposition party
claims it wants to use as a platform to show the extent to which the
authorities rigged the poll, the story was characterised by editorial
intrusions that depicted the party as confused.

These editorial interruptions included describing the opposition party
as"Western-backed", which had a tendency to cry "foul over every election it

To buttress its portrayal of the MDC as a bad loser, the paper juxtaposed
the story on the opposition's legal poll challenge with a report on the SA
Cabinet's endorsement of the election as having "credibly reflected the
will" of Zimbabweans. The report noted, however, that the SA cabinet had
"stopped short" of declaring the election "free and fair" as it was "worried
that some voters were turned away from polling stations".

Notable, too, was the way the government newspapers dedicated 12 stories on
the swearing-in of new MPs to gloss over the MDC/ZANU PF differences on the
conduct of the poll. The Herald and Chronicle (13/4), for example,
simplistically interpreted the MDC's participation in the parliamentary
swearing-in as an acceptance by the opposition party of the election

The papers reported that MPs from both parties had, in an incident free
environment, displayed a "rare show of unity" during the installation of the
legislators in which they unanimously selected Zanu (PF) chairman John Nkomo
as Speaker and another ruling party official Edna Madzongwe as his deputy.

Leader of the MDC in Parliament Gibson Sibanda's description of Nkomo
as"fair minded" was then predominantly used to present the opposition party
as finally taking heed of President Mugabe's post election call for the two
parties to work together.

ZBH followed suit in its 41 reports on the swearing-in of MPs. For example,
ZTV (13/4, 8pm) claimed that the taking the oath of loyalty by both Zanu
(PF) and MDC legislators showed that the country was a "mature democracy"
because the MPs had displayed a unity of purpose. Apart from trying to use
the swearing-in ceremony to paper over the deteriorating political
situation, ZBH also unquestioningly endorsed the appointment of a new
Cabinet in its 19 reports on the matter.

No attempt was made to analyse the economic ramifications of expanding the
Cabinet at a time the country is facing a deepening economic crisis. Neither
would the broadcaster fully discuss the apparent duplication of roles
between some ministries such as the Finance Ministry and Economic
Development Ministry, which both used to be under one portfolio. Similarly,
the government Press' three reports on the Cabinet failed to clarify such
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The Zimbabwean

Causes of economic crisis ignored
Although ZBH carried 22 reports on the commodity price increases and
shortages, it failed to view the issues as symptomatic of the country's
economic meltdown.
As a result, it reported the increases in isolation without giving a
holistic picture of the situation on the ground or relating them to the
country's macro-economic situation.
Neither would the broadcaster openly discuss the causes of the commodity
shortages and price hikes.

Instead, ZBH continued to accuse manufacturers of deliberately increasing
commodity prices and causing shortages. Without giving the business
community the right of reply, the station attributed the fuel shortages in
Bulawayo to the "country's detractors", who caused shortages "every time the
country comes out of elections."

ZTV found an ally in the form of The Daily Mirror (11/4) in peddling such
ideas. The private daily's comment spuriously accused the MDC of working
with businesses to sabotage Zimbabwe's economic growth "so that President
Mugabe vacates State House and a former trade unionist moves in".

The government Press was not any different. None of the 17 stories the
papers carried on the subject hardly explained the real causes or extent of
the economic distress. In fact The Herald dishonestly noted that the
month-on-month inflation rate for March had "slightly" increased to 4.2
percent from 3.1 percent in February. But an analysis of the statistics show
that the monthly inflation had actually increased substantially as the 1.1
percent jump represented a 35% increase in just a single month.

The Herald's reluctance to unravel the truth resulted in the same issue of
the paper reporting vaguely about a deal that the financially-troubled
government-controlled airline, Air Zimbabwe, is reportedly poised to sign a
deal with the South African Airways.

The paper merely hinted that the "deal - if signed - could see government's
shareholding in the parastatal being heavily diluted" without analysing the
causes behind the government decision to finally surrender its yet-to-be
disclosed stake in the airline.

This unquestioning approach was also evident in other government papers. For
example, the Sunday News (17/4) failed to ask the logic behind the holding
of a million litres of fuel at the Beitbridge Border post by the Zimbabwe
revenue authorities while the fuel situation in the Southern region,
especially in Bulawayo, remained critical.

However, the private Press carried 25 stories that questioned government's
economic policies and highlighted numerous economic ills afflicting the
country mainly due to the shortage of foreign currency.

Studio 7 adopted a similar slant in its six reports on economic issues. And,
together with other independent media, reported on a survey by the Zimbabwe
Food and Nutrition Council conducted in collaboration with the Health
Ministry, which recorded chronic malnutrition levels of around 47 percent in
children living on commercial farms.
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The Zimbabwean

We need a new constitution
We have just celebrated our silver jubilee. In one Harare high density area
some people spent the day looking for water. I find myself looking forward
to our golden jubilee. By then we will have sorted out our present problems,
though we will have new ones. The key to making progress now is to design a
new constitution with which everyone is happy.
The word itself comes from the Latin con (with) statuere (to set up), that
is, something we have set up together. As I write, there is a process going
on in Rome to choose a new pope. The BBC calls it 'arcane' yet it is a
method of election panel beaten over two thousand years. This
'constitutional procedure' was last updated only in 1996.

As a matter of digression, the early church didn't really have popes as we
know them. In the time after the apostles they had presbyters (elders) who
took care of the local churches. Gradually they felt the need for one
presbyter to be an overseer (episcopos, bishop) of the others. And as
further time went on the overseers looked to one of their own to be the
principal overseer or father (papa, pope).

The Catholic Church has an impressive list of popes going back to St. Peter
but probably the first six were just prominent overseers. In fact they
forgot the name of the sixth one and just called him Sixtus, the sixth one.

That did not stop subsequent popes adopting the name. Sixtus the Fifth, who
died in 1590, gave his name to the Sistine chapel, where the present
electors (or cardinals) are gathered. He was the last to adopt the name. It
would sound something of a tautology to call oneself Sixtus the Sixth.

This little diversion is simply intended to illustrate the development of
constitutional process - a process that tries to meet the needs of all
concerned for just and equitable government. One principle that has emerged
as having almost universal acceptance is the separation and balance of

The legislature makes the laws, the judiciary interprets them and the
executive governs according to them. The constitution of a country is the
one guarantor that citizens can live at peace with one another under the
protection of the law.

In Zambia, at this moment, there is a lively debate about a new
constitution. I suspect many countries are having or would like to have
similar debates, ourselves included. The worse thing would be for the
process of constitution making to be taken over by one group in the country.
It must be a work of 'all the people.'
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