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

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From The Star (SA), 3 April

Tales of torture as Zim death toll rises

Harare - Zimbabwe's main opposition party said on Wednesday that one of its
officials died after torture, in a report that would take the death toll to
at least 10 since last month's disputed presidential election. The
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said that polling agent
Fanuel White had succumbed to injuries suffered when he was tortured and
assaulted by alleged ruling Zanu PF supporters. White was taken by a
security guard at his workplace, an agricultural parastatal in the
north-eastern Mushumbi Pools, and handed over to Zanu PF militias who
tortured him before releasing him. White died at a Harare clinic last
Thursday, the MDC said in a statement. The latest reported death brings to
43 the number of fatalities in political violence since the beginning of the
year. The MDC has refused to recognise the outcome of the March 9-11 polls
won by President Robert Mugabe, saying the vote was massively rigged and
thousands of its supporters suffered intimidation, torture, assault or
death. The party claims that the violence against its members and supporters
has not ceased even after the polling, but has even worsened in the form of
retribution against people known or suspected to support the opposition. "We
are concerned about the violence. The violence is worse than it was before
elections," said MDC secretary for economic affairs Eddie Cross.
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Zimbabwe rights group says 50,000 people displaced

HARARE, April 4 — A Zimbabwean human rights group said on Thursday that as
many as 50,000 people had fled their homes in fear of revenge attacks in the
wake of President Robert Mugabe's disputed victory last month.

        The Crisis in Zimbabwe group -- comprising labour, human rights and
other civic organisations -- said it had appealed to the international
community for humanitarian assistance to deal with the problem of displaced
       Organisation spokesman Andrew Nongogo told Reuters most of the people
who had fled their homes were supporters of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), whose leader Morgan Tsvangirai lost the
presidential poll to Mugabe.
       Mugabe's victory in the March 9-11 ballot has been rejected by
Western countries as fraudulent. Tsvangirai has called it ''daylight
       ''We have a looming problem...displaced farm workers and political
displacements. Now that ZANU-PF has won they do not feel safe returning to
their communities where some of them were polling agents,'' said Nongogo.
       ''About 50,000 people have been displaced and we continue to receive
reports from all over the country.''
       The group said most of the internal refugees people were from the
northern Mashonaland region, where there has been a high incidence of
political violence and white-owned farms have been invaded by pro-government
       Both the MDC and the Commercial Farmers Union reported a rise in
violence against the opposition after the election, which they said was
retribution for not supporting the ruling ZANU-PF party.

       Nongogo said his organisation was now looking to the international
community for urgent assistance to help deal with the crisis.
       ''We approached the International Committee of the Red Cross and they
made an undertaking to feed 2,000 people a month. Our initial request was
for tents, but I think they were uncomfortable with this because they would
need government approval,'' said Nongogo.
       Mugabe's government accuses some aid agencies of furthering the
political cause of the opposition under the guise of humanitarian work.
       ''We initially thought of approaching the UNHCR (United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees), but they do not deal with internal
displacements,'' Nongogo said.
       ''We are trying to look at U.N. mechanisms to assist through local
NGOs (non-government organisations) or put some sort of pressure on the
government to admit there are problems.''
       Some of the refugees were being assisted by the Amani Trust, a rights
group which helps victims of political violence.
       However, Nongogo said many displaced people were reluctant to seek
shelter at the trust, which has been accused by the government of having a
political agenda.
       ''With the food crisis it is impractical to ask them to go and stay
with relatives in town,'' he added.
       Zimbabwe is in the throes of a food shortage blamed on the
government's controversial land reforms and drought.
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Tears of joy as Hwange villagers get food aid

From Njabulo Ncube Bulawayo Bureau Chief
4/4/02 1:26:50 AM (GMT +2)

JAMBEZI, Hwange West — Jonah Sithole, 81, is too weak to talk and only
manages to squeak something inaudible when asked by officials here to
produce his identity card to prove his age.

With trembling fingers, he fishes out an identity card from a battered
leather wallet in his back pocket and hands it over to the official, who
takes a look and then bellows: "Next".

Sithole, speaking in a hushed and trembling voice, pleads with the youthful
official: "Please give me just a plateful. I have not eaten for months. I
will die."

Because of his advanced age and his emaciated look, the official allows him
to jump the long winding queue of other dirt-poor villagers at Nejambezi
Secondary School here, patiently waiting for food handouts under a World
Food Programme (WFP) scheme.



Hunger is written all over the faces of most of the villagers in the queue
and many say they have been at this rural government school, one of the five
food distribution centres in Hwange West, from as early as 4 am.

Some came on foot while others arrived in relative comfort in donkey and
ox-drawn carts, a popular mode of transport in this poor district of
Matabeleland North.

Sithole, defying his advanced age and hunger, erupts into a frenzy of joy
when he is handed about 13 kgs of mealie-meal, the staple diet of the
majority of Zimbabwe’s 13 million people.

"I will kill a chicken today," he boasts as he makes his way to the ox-drawn
scotchcart that will take him to his village.

Aaron Mpofu, a headman from Bepenyuba-mangwana who is also in the queue,
says an elderly man in his village died the previous month from hunger.

"We buried him there," Mpofu says, pointing to some distant hills across the



"When we say people are dying here, we mean it but you people from the
cities and towns do not believe us," added Mpofu, as the queue moved at a
snail’s pace.

Most villagers said they survived on watermelons, a drought-resistant crop
that seems to defy odds and thrives in these hard parched areas.

Norbert Dube, an official of ORAP — one of the five non-governmental
agencies helping to distribute WFP mealie-meal in drought-hit Matabeleland —
says Hwange is hardest hit.

"Three people have allegedly died of hunger here already," said Dube, who
was re-launching the official donor-supported food distribution programme in
the district.

"We were forced to abandon the exercise in February because some undeserving
cases were registered but now we have had to do it all over again to ensure
that there is no cheating," said Dube, who is the national coordinator of

At the end of the day, only about 7 000 villagers in Jambezi have managed to
receive some food out of the 40 000 registered as needing food aid.

"The figure goes up everyday. People are really hungry here. We are only
giving them mealie-meal and hopefully if funds permit we will be able to
give them some relish such as beans or matemba," Dube said.

Each registered villager receives 13.8 kgs per month of mealie-meal but this
is multiplied by the number of dependants in a family.


James Ndlovu, 55 and from Chenjeri village nearby, blames the food shortages
in Jambezi and other areas on President Robert Mugabe’s misrule.

"The blame squarely falls on Mugabe and that is why we did not vote for him
here," says Ndlovu, even though several ZANU PF supporters in party T-shirts
are milling around.

"Those who voted for Mugabe voted for hunger. We know that this food is not
from him; it is from the United Nations and Britain and the United States,
the countries he always blames for our suffering."

The relief operation in Jambezi is part of a wide network by the WFP to
distribute 110 000 tonnes of food to more than half a million people in the
drought-ravaged southeastern and southwestern districts of Zimbabwe.

The food aid is also being distributed in Matabeleland South, Masvingo and
Zvishavane with the help of other non-governmental organi-sations such as
World Vision and Christian Care.

The WFP began to distribute relief food late in the area in February after
the government finally admitted that the country, traditionally
self-sufficient and an exporter of surplus food, faced a massive food

It soon became clear that the country’s grain reserves were empty because of
mismanagement, erratic rains and the disruptions to commercial farming
caused by government supporters who seized farms in the name of land hunger.

According to the United Nations Development Programme, Zimbabwe needs at
least US$83 million to prevent mass starvation.

The WFP says it has only received US$20 million from United States and
Britain out of the US$60 million it requested internationally for food aid
for Zimbabwe

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Press Gazette

Freed reporter back on harare beat

By Jean Morgan

Posted 04 April 2002 00:00 GMT

The Daily Telegraph’s Zimbabwe correspondent Peta Thorneycroft, cleared of
all charges and freed after being imprisoned for five nights under the
country’s new media laws, has returned to Harare to continue reporting.  But
her foreign editor Alec Russell has warned that other correspondents there,
and the local press, can expect more harassment. Russell told Press Gazette:
“Who knows what hoops the authorities are going to put up for the
journalists to go through. It is a sign of the government’s intent, bumbling
as the whole thing was, and a reminder of how tricky it is to be a
journalist in Zimbabwe. I suspect there are more problems to come, not
necessarily for Peta, but for the handful of other correspondents or more
likely for local journalists.”

Thorneycroft had been very resilient and brave while in prison, he said. She
has said she will now sue the police for wrongful arrest and imprisonment.

Her ordeal began when she was arrested in a cafe in Chimanimani.

The Daily Telegraph was in touch with the Foreign Office and the South
African Government to get help with the Zimbabwean Government to free her.
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The Age

Zimbabwe's war vets give ultimatums to white farmers: report
HARARE, April 4 AFP|Published: Thursday April 4, 10:03 PM

Zimbabwe's liberation war veterans have started issuing some white farmers
with ultimatums to vacate their properties, a state-run daily The Herald,
said today.

The paper quoted the war veterans association's secretary for projects as
saying the former fighters have decided to give deadlines to the farmers
whose land has been earmarked for compulsory acquisition by government,
because they "were refusing to reconcile with the government".

"We have realised that the white commercial farmers are using the farms left
with them to re-organise themselves against the ruling party and government
for negative publicity on Zimbabwe," Andrew Ndlovu, the war veterans
official, said.

No details of the eviction ultimatums are given, but the paper published a
picture of one farmer being served with an ultimatum by Ndlovu.

The Commercial Farmers Union said eviction orders to farmers were not a new

Some farmers have in recent weeks been ordered by settlers to vacate their
properties to make way for new black owners.

"Threats of eviction continue ... and there is an urgent need for additional
(police) support to stabilise the situation and prevent the campaign
continuing," said a recent statement from the CFU.

The CFU claimed that 19 farmers in one province, Mashonaland East, have been
"illegally evicted from their homes and there have been been 31 cases of
looting" in the period since the March 9-11 presidential election.

It said some of the evicted farmers have been unable to recover their
moveable assets such as livestock, machinery and household goods.

"On most of the farms where farmers have been evicted, the farm workers have
also been told to leave," said CFU.

In a regular farm invasions and security report, issued late last month, the
CFU said many farmers are given verbal warnings to leave their properties.

In many cases farmers are given anything from hours to several days to
vacate their farms.

Of those ordered to leave, some fearing for their security, have packed up
and gone to stay with friends or relatives in towns, while others have
defied the orders and stayed.

Zimbabwe has, under its controversial land reforms, listed for acquisition
95 per cent of all land owned by some 4,500 white commercial farmers in
Zimbabwe, according to CFU.

The government of President Robert Mugabe says the land exercise is aimed at
correcting colonial imbalances which left less than one percent of the
population owning about 30 per cent of the country's prime farmland.
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Zimbabwe civic groups to press ahead with protests

HARARE, April 4 — Zimbabwean civic groups vowed on Thursday to go ahead with
a planned weekend rally for a new constitution despite a police ban on the
nation-wide protest.
       State radio reported on Wednesday that police had banned the planned
demonstrations, saying the political situation in the troubled southern
African country was not conducive to protests.
       On Thursday the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a coalition
of student and church groups, political parties and human rights
organisations said its right to hold protests were enshrined in Zimbabwe's
present supreme law which guarantees freedom of expression and association.
       ''We are going ahead with the planned march which is guaranteed under
section 21 of the constitution although we know that the police will
probably try to stop us,'' NCA spokesman Maxwell Saungweme told Reuters.
       He said the civic groups would seek legal recourse if police tried to
prevent the march from going ahead.
       In a separate statement, the NCA said the reasons given by the police
for the ban, including an accusation that the civic organisation wanted to
''impose its constitution on the government'' were ''grossly unreasonable.''
       ''It is neither the duty nor responsibility of the police to advise
on the appropriateness of a cause for a demonstration,'' the NCA said.
       In February dozens of riot police armed with batons and guns broke up
an NCA-organised protest against the government's refusal to adopt a new
national constitution.
       The NCA says deeply rooted flaws in the current constitution -- which
critics says Mugabe has repeatedly used in the past to entrench his rule --
make it impossible to hold free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.
       The police, echoing the government's sentiments, has accused the NCA
of pursuing a political agenda and of being an extension of the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai has rejected the validity of his defeat by Mugabe at last month's
presidential poll.
       ''That (police charge) is a deliberate misinterpretation of the NCA
which is just pursuing the goals of a new constition after widespread
consultations from all stakeholders,'' Saungweme said on Thursday.
       In 2000 the NCA was instrumental in the rejection by the majority of
Zimbabweans of a proposed new constitution crafted by a government-appointed
comission which critics said left Mugabe's overwhelming presidential powers
       Under a harsh Public Order and Security Bill passed by Mugabe's
government last month, Zimbabweans need police permission to organise public
protests and gatherings. Penalties for illegal protests range from fines to
a year in prison.
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Cattle producers plot massive de-stocking

Staff Reporter
4/4/02 1:23:14 AM (GMT +2)

ZIMBABWE’S beleaguered cattle farmers will this year be forced to
drastically reduce their herd to survive a severe drought ravaging the
country, industry officials said this week.

Cattle Producers Association (CPA) chief executive Paul d’ Hotman said the
dry spell, which has already wiped out most food crops countrywide, had
begun to hit grazing pastures hard.

"The ongoing dry spell is starting to reach serious levels in certain
areas," he told the Financial Gazette.

Farmers had already lost large tracts of pastureland to ruling ZANU PF party
supporters who seized these with the support of the government, which
defended the illegal land grab as a demonstration of support for its land

Some of the farm invaders have burnt whole tracts of grazing land.

The CPA said the prolonged dry spell meant that grazing pastures were drying
out fast and producers now faced the threat of veldt fires which could also
destroy the remaining pasture land.

D’Hotman urged farmers, who have been working to rebuild the national herd
decimated by a severe drought 10 years ago, to de-stock but still hold on to
their breeding stock.

"The CPA maintains its stance that producers, where possible, should hold on
to their nucleus breeding stock. Those producers who do will be well placed
when the long- awaited recovery phase commences," he said.

D’Hotman noted that the closure of the abattoirs of the government-run meat
processing Cold Storage Company (CSC) last year had only worsened the plight
of the cattle farmers.

Farmers had been forced to sell their cattle to private abattoirs that pay
much less than the CSC. The CSC itself, reeling under a $4 billion debt, has
failed to pay producers on time for cattle brought to its remaining
abattoirs for slaughter.

And as if things were not bad enough for farmers, the Ministry of
Agriculture and Rural Resettlement last month suspended the exportation of
live cattle, one of the most lucrative money-spinners for cattle producers.

"Options for producers are rather limited, with the CSC virtually out of the
market as a result of payment problems resurfacing," one senior farming
executive said.

The CPA, which represents more than 2 000 large-scale cattle producers, says
its members are keeping about 1.25 million cattle.

The small-scale producers and communal farmers are believed to hold an
estimated three million cattle but these producers only contribute 40
percent of cattle slaughtered each year either for the domestic or export

Massive de-stocking would severely hurt Zimbabwe’s lucrative beef exports to
the European Union, already suspended last August following an outbreak of
foot-and- mouth disease in Zimbabwe.

De-stocking would see a glut of beef on the domestic market but this would
be followed by severe shortages later in the year.

It takes farmers more than three years to rebuild the national herd.
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Mugabe exit to top talks

By Sydney Masamvu Political Editor
4/4/02 1:55:28 AM (GMT +2)

PLANNED talks between the ruling ZANU PF party and the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) will ultimately pave the way for President
Robert Mugabe’s exit from power before the end of his controversial new
six-year term.

The two parties though still differ greatly on the modalities and the time
frame for Mugabe’s premature departure, it was established this week.

Among the governing party’s bargaining chips that it intends to put on the
table at the talks which were due to start late yesterday is the shortening
of Mugabe’s new term by at least three years, highly placed sources said.

ZANU PF wants to amend the constitution to allow the life of parliament,
whose tenure is currently five years, to run concurrently with that of the
presidency which is six years.

What that means is that Mugabe’s current six-year term, expected to end in
2008, would be halved and end in 2005 when the term of the present
parliament expires.

The proposal, if accepted by the MDC, would restore legitimacy to Mugabe’s
government that has been widely condemned by Zimbabweans and the
international community as having stolen last month’s bitterly contested
presidential ballot.

The governing party is also proposing that the transitional period be used
to form an independent electoral supervisory commission and to make other
electoral amendments acceptable to the opposition.

Zimbabwe’s current electoral supervisory bodies have been blamed for
favouring ZANU PF and for employing numerous tricks that allowed ZANU PF to
steal the vote for Mugabe.

Ruling party insiders this week said they were in favour of breaking the
political impasse caused by the disputed March 9-11 presidential poll by
amending some sections of the constitution.

But opposition sources countered by saying that the MDC would stick to its
demands for a fresh presidential election supervised by the United Nations
and nothing else.

Official sources said ZANU PF’s proposals dovetailed with Mugabe’s overall
plan to hand over power to his favoured man, Emmerson Mnangagwa, the head of
the party’s team to the talks.

Mugabe’s choice of Mnangagwa to head the crucial talks with the MDC, over
more senior party leaders, was also seen as an anointment of the Speaker of
Parliament as his eventual successor in ZANU PF and government, the sources

Other members of the ZANU PF team to the talks include Frederick Shava, ZANU
PF’s director of administration who is Mnangagwa’s right-hand man.

Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s former intelligence boss, is also being tipped for a
vice president’s post in a new Cabinet the ZANU PF leader might announce
before the end of the month.

Some of the proposals being put forward by ZANU PF include amendments
contained in the draft constitution rejected by the majority of Zimbabweans
in a referendum in February 2 000.

"As our bargaining gesture, we will accommodate proposals aimed at amending
the constitution because the sticking problems which are arising were
contained in the draft constitution which the MDC campaigned against," a
member of ZANU PF’s supreme Politburo told the Financial Gazette.

As part of its strategy to bring the MDC on board, ZANU PF would in time
drop treason charges levelled against MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his
secretary-general Welshman Ncube if the talks made headway, the sources

Mugabe allies such as South Africa’s ruling African National Congress have
urged him to drop the treason charges against the MDC leaders as the first
step towards reconciling Zimbabweans and ending the current economic and
political crisis.

Analysts though say the talks, due to open in Harare last night and possibly
move out of the capital later, could bog down on the modalities of Mugabe’s

This is because the MDC insists that it is only willing to participate in a
transitional government that works towards the staging of a new ballot
before the end of the year, but ZANU PF is opposed to this suggestion.

However, should the MDC accept ZANU PF’s proposals, it is hoped in
government circles that Zimbabwe would be able to shed its image of a pariah
state and once again attract badly needed aid and investment.

The southern African country, reeling from a devastating drought and
mounting poverty, needs about US$450 million to avert mass starvation before
the next harvest in March next year.

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Daily News

Mugabe’s fast-track to self-destruction

4/4/02 4:37:49 AM (GMT +2)

Rejected by the Commonwealth and abandoned by his peers, despised in his
capital and banned from most of the developed world, it is just possible
that President Mugabe, may now be starting to realise the price of victory
in last month’s disputed presidential poll.

For two years, critics of the ageing strongman have warned that his bloody
and lawless tactics would create a crisis that even he could not control.

Now, with Western donors uniting with Zimbabwe’s civil society to condemn
the election, it seems he has wasted his political capital on buying a paper

It is not hard to see Mugabe’s life as an Elizabethan tragedy, and indeed
the former schoolteacher still delights in quoting Shakespeare in his
increasingly infrequent public appearances.

Here is a man of parts, a brave resistance leader and a preacher of love and
reconciliation, brought low by his inability to give up the power his gifts
have brought him. Now he sits brooding in State House, alone but for an
assortment of paid thugs and sycophants, while beyond the wall gather
forces, which, through the veil of his vanity, he can only dimly comprehend.

Mugabe feared becoming King Lear, who benignly abdicated power only to be
betrayed and ruined by his heirs. Instead, Mugabe is turning into Macbeth, a
brave man corrupted by power and pride, battling his fate to the bitter end.

All this might be quite entertaining if it were only fiction. Sadly for the
people of Zimbabwe, and southern Africa in general, the tragedy of Mugabe is
being played out in real life.

While the 78-year-old President and his ruling party cling desperately to
power, the forces that will eventually destroy them are already at work on
the 12 million-plus unfortunate people they control. Despite the undoubted
blow Mugabe has received from the international community, these forces are
not diplomatic, and certainly not military.

They are economic, and they are already biting the people hard.

All over Zimbabwe basic foodstuffs are severely rationed. In some areas,
particularly those that did not vote for Mugabe, people are beginning to

John Robertson, an independent Harare economist and critic of Mugabe’s
regime, says Zimbabwe urgently needs more than a million tonnes of maize,
400 000 tonnes of wheat and US$2 billion (about Z$110 billion) in donations.
But with donors alienated by Mugabe’s racist anti-Western rhetoric, and his
government’s corrupt, lawless and wilfully inept handling of the economy,
there is no chance of that happening any time soon.

“Nobody is going to talk to us while we have Mugabe in charge but we need
help desperately,” says Robertson. “I’ve given many lectures saying that aid
is a bad thing, how it soon becomes addictive, but we are in the position of
a country that has been at war with a very fierce enemy for a long time. We
need aid in the same way that somebody who has fallen off a ship in the
middle of the ocean needs a life belt.”

He musters grim figures to back up his case. First, drought and
State-sponsored attacks on white-owned commercial farms have hammered
Zimbabwe’s staple maize and wheat crops.

Harassed, assaulted, driven off their land, and sometimes murdered by gangs
of pro-Mugabe “liberation war veterans”, many white farmers have been unable
to borrow working capital.

The government’s “fast track” policy of handing out seized land to blacks
means white farmers no longer have bankable title to their land.
According to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the
commercial maize crop could be down as much as 90 percent this year.

The small farms run by blacks that produce most of the annual maize crop,
usually about a million tonnes, do not have the capital for irrigation or
fertiliser, and drought is likely to halve their production.

The result is a looming humanitarian catastrophe.

Worse again, there are not enough trains and trucks to transport the
required volume of maize into the region. “We can’t move fast enough to
avoid hunger now,” says Robertson.

The second problem is that Zimbabwe’s economy is in deep trouble. Staples
such as wheat and maize are only secondary crops for most white commercial

The country’s biggest earner is tobacco, with exports worth US$600 million
(about Z$33 billion) in a good year. Now that, too, has been dramatically

Manufacturing exports have been affected by the foreign exchange crisis and
the fact is that much Zimbabwean industry is based on the shattered
commercial agriculture sector.

Mugabe is effectively robbing the country’s savings. “The borrowed money is
being used for consumption, not investment. It simply can’t go on,” says

Yet go on it surely will, says John Makumbe, an academic and chairman of the
Zimbabwe branch of the anti-corruption pressure group Transparency

“Mugabe is going to continue printing money and borrowing money locally, so
financial houses are going to totter to the brink of collapse. Companies are
already closing and I think the exodus of skilled work will intensify and
escalate,” he says. “There are likely to be more street demonstrations than
we’ve seen for some time. I think if there is no agreement with the MDC, you
are going to see a lot of public resistance of various forms, which will be
easily provoked into violence by the State, so it can then crack down on the

He believes there is little that the outside world can or will do.

“Only a UN-supervised election would do, which Mugabe would resist with
thevigour of a maniac. I think he would even mobilise militarily against

Makumbe believes that ultimately Zimbabweans will have to save themselves,
either by mass resistance or by means of a power shift within the ruling
Zanu PF.

“There is utter hatred for Mugabe right now throughout the country. Anything
can spark a revolt and believe me, a lot of his comrades in Zanu PF are fed
up with him and embarrassed by him. If the MDC plays its cards well and
resists and says we will not be compromised on change, the people will be
with them completely.”

(C) The Age

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Daily News

Should Harare be held to ransom by a minority?

4/4/02 4:37:15 AM (GMT +2)

Certain remarks recently attributed to President Mugabe smack of the
disdain, contempt and disrespect the government now regards as normal when
dealing with Zimbabweans who reside in the urban areas, especially in the
capital city of Harare.

In utterances at a party organised for members of his clan at Kutama on
Sunday to celebrate his controversial victory in the presidential election,
Mugabe was evidently angry at being blatantly rejected in the urban areas.

The behaviour of Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public
Works and National Housing, shows that the government is determined, without
shame or rationality, to frustrate the will of millions of urban-based

Chombo overturned an earlier directive from his predecessor John Nkomo
ordering the Harare City Council to reduce its expenditure considerably by
abolishing non-essential municipal posts and laying off excess staff.

The council took the first step to cut costs, on behalf of the city’s 825
000 voters, by announcing that it planned to audit its staff complement.

Through a normal council resolution, Elias Mudzuri, the executive mayor,
decided to suspend about 300 workers hastily employed by the illegal
Chanakira Commission just before the presidential election.
Chombo would not have any of this.

“The rescission of the resolution is taken with firm conviction that the
interests of the public were not taken into consideration,” he said.

What this means is that the interests of close to a million registered
voters must be sacrificed to please a mere 300 people, mainly Zanu PF
supporters randomly employed in non-essential jobs.

Part of the Chanakira Commission’s brief was to cut Harare’s salary bill to
about 28 percent of the council’s monthly expenditure.

Like Chombo, Tobaiwa Mudede, the Registrar-General, has joined Mugabe in
displaying the growing official disaffection with Harare.

Mudede’s mischief first came to light last year when he virtually had to be
dragged to court in order for him to conduct municipal elections in the
city. He ignored court orders and managed to get away with it because of
official government blessings.

Mudede threw an array of impediments in the way of residents wishing to

He demanded a stack of unnecessary documents as qualifications for voter
registration. But the residents persevered and remained resolute.

He further reduced the number of polling stations in Harare and Chitungwiza
from 240 in June 2000 to 167 last month, despite the demand for more outlets
to clear a large turnout of voters electing councillors, the executive mayor
and the president simultaneously.

Through another court order, the opposition MDC forced a third day of

Again, Mudede took his time to comply with the order, resulting in thousands
of residents being denied their basic right to vote.

While voting ended on 11 March, Mudede only published the winners’ names on
19 March, eight days later.

Even then, our defiant Registrar-General, in clear violation of the
Electoral Act, merely gave us the figures showing the total votes for each
new councillor and the new executive mayors.

Information on the votes won by the losing candidates, as well as the number
of spoilt papers and other related details have been withheld to this day.

The results belong to the people, not to Mudede. They must be published in

As the capital city, Harare is the seat of government.

The city provides a window through which investors, tourists and other
visitors have their first glimpse of the country, often leading to spin-offs
that benefit the nation.

Mugabe, Mudede, Chombo, and Jonathan Moyo must not be allowed to reduce such
a metropolis to a peripheral settlement where residents are seen as trivial
and not worthy of any respect.

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Daily News

Ethnic groups face resistance

4/4/02 7:19:57 AM (GMT +2)

By Foster Dongozi Features Writer

EFFORTS by minority ethnic groups in Zimbabwe, such as Kalanga, Tonga,
Sotho, Venda, Shangani and Nambya to have books and other forms of
literature published in their languages have long faced resistance from

The companies have claimed publishing books in minority languages was not
commercially viable as only a few copies would be bought, thus failing to
justify the investment.

As a way of overcoming the hurdle of persuading publishers otherwise, the
affected communities have sought the assistance of donors and communities in
neighbouring countries to get their literary works published.

In most instances, such languages are only spoken at home while Shona and
Ndebele, regarded by others as the “colonial” languages of Zimbabwe, are
spoken and taught in schools.

Although the government has declared that such languages be taught in areas
where they are predominantly spoken, lack of literature and inadequate
resources from the government, will make it difficult for the minority
languages to be taught.

According to Isaac Mumpande, the author of the first book published in
Tonga, the affected communities will lose their cultural identity if they
are not allowed to preserve their way of life in the written form.

“For example, Tonga is spoken in districts like Hwange, Binga, Gokwe and

“In the case of Binga district, isiNdebele is taught at school ahead of the
Tonga language.

“The same case prevails in areas like Gokwe and Kariba, where Tonga children
speak the language at home but learn Shona when they go to school.”

The chairman of the Zimbabwe Indigenous Languages Promotion Association,
Saul Ndlovu, said minority languages faced demise as repeated efforts to
have manuscripts published had continuously faltered, while the failure to
have them taught in their own areas was not reviewed seriously.

“Previously, such languages were taught up to Grade Three but it was not
mandatory, as the decision on whether or not to teach the languages was up
to the headmasters.

“Now that it is a requirement that such languages be taught at schools, the
problem is that there isn’t adequate literature and personnel for the proper
implementation of that language policy.

“It is totally unacceptable that a child at whose home Nambya, Tonga, Sotho,
Kalanga and Venda are spoken, is required to learn a language alien to their
home environment and later forced to use that language to write letters to
his/her parents who would need someone else to translate the letter for
them,” Ndlovu said.

He said as a result, minority languages were threatened with extinction
because they were being marginalised partly through the education system,
while it was almost impossible to have literature printed by publishing
houses in the country.

Ndlovu said in 1986, communities which speak Venda, Tonga and Kalanga formed
the Vetoka Association, which he led with the late Million Malaba.

“Our aim was to produce literature in our languages but we failed to achieve
our goals because publishing houses refused to accept our manuscripts and
partly because I was sent to work in Swaziland while Malaba became ill and

The Zimbabwe Indigenous Languages Promotion Association (Zilpa), which hopes
to pursue the same agenda, was formed last year, with the assistance of
Silveira House, a developmental wing of the Catholic Church.

Already, Zilpa has, through Silveira House, managed to have the first book
published in Tonga, Tusimpi (Proverbs) through money donated by the World

Ndlovu said Mukani Cultural Organisation from Botswana, had offered its
printing facilities for books in Kalanga.

Sub-committees have been set up in some areas of the country to produce
manuscripts in Kalanga for printing in Botswana.

There is a large Kalanga community in northern Botswana.

Ndlovu himself is working on a manuscript in Kalanga, called Zwidiyo
zwetjiKalanga, (Lessons in Kalanga).

The Catholic Church had assisted the Nambya-speaking community with the
publication of the First Testament in that language as well as a dictionary.

The deputy president of Zilpa, Dickson Mundia, who is from Binga, said:
“Zilpa’s aim is to promote these languages so that they are taught in areas
where they are predominantly spoken.”

He said the failure to have books published in the minority languages would
see the death of those languages and affect people’s culture.
“The idea of promoting people’s languages is a crucial one in any society
that aims at preserving its cultures.

“Language and culture are inseparable as both complement the maintenance of
the other. Language being a vehicle of culture means that culture cannot
flourish in the absence of language, especially in the written form,” Mundia

Mundia said languages which existed only in the spoken form could easily
disappear as there would be no reference points.

“Literature, the written form of language, is central to language and
cultural promotion. When a language exists in written form, it becomes a
permanent reference for future generations.” he said.

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Daily News

Chombo flexes muscle

4/4/02 7:37:17 AM (GMT +2)

Luke Tamborinyoka Municipal Reporter

AS the stand-off continues at Town House, it emerged yesterday that
Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National
Construction, has delivered two more directives to Elias Mudzuri, the new
executive mayor of Harare, and his MDC-dominated council.

The two directives, delivered on Tuesday, follow hard on the heels of
another directive issued last week which nullified the new council’s
decision to reverse all promotions and recruitments of mainly Zanu PF
supporters over the last six months.

In one of the directives delivered on Tuesday, Chombo said Mudzuri would
only attend Cabinet Action Committees by special invitation.

While it could not be established why Chombo had banned mayors from
attending such meetings, it is understood Mudzuri had only attended one such

Chombo invoked his powers in terms of the Urban Councils Act, that all
resolutions to do with personnel and financial matters be brought to him

“I hereby direct, in terms of Section 313 (1) of the Urban Councils Act
chapter 29: 15 and in the interest of the public and the nation, that all
future resolutions touching on Personnel and Financial matters be forwarded
to me for my scrutiny before they can be implemented,” the directive reads
in part.

The section gives the minister powers to give any council a directive
regarding policy.

Mudzuri refused to comment on the resolutions while Chombo could not be

But council officials said the three directives, which were issued on two
successive days, were meant to show that while the MDC may have won the
council elections, the Zanu PF government was effectively in charge.

“It is a show of strength by the government that the MDC may have won in
council elections but Zanu PF can always use the law to subvert the
decisions of the opposition-dominated council,” a senior official said.

He said the instruction that all personnel matters should be referred to the
minister was meant to render the new council ineffective.

“The minister never used to invoke all these clauses in the Urban Councils
Act and the council would make all decisions concerning recruitment.

“The new directive makes the minister a Human Resources director and a City
Treasurer at the same time,” the official said.

Last week, MDC and Zanu PF clashed at Town House and had to be dispersed by
the riot police. Zanu PF supporters had besieged Town House to protest the
new council’s decision to terminate the contracts of 1 235 people recruited
by the government-appointed Commission just before they vacated office.

Earlier, two war veterans had stormed the mayoral parlour and asked Mudzuri
to rescind his decision, which they said was targeted at war veterans within
the council.

Mudzuri denied this charge.

On the same afternoon, Chombo issued his first directive asking the
MDC-dominated council to rescind their decision, which would have seen many
Zanu PF supporters losing their jobs.

Daily News

Chombo acts to save Zanu PF supporters’ jobs

4/4/02 7:22:35 AM (GMT +2)

By Luke Tamborinyoka Municipal Reporter

THE decision by Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public
Works and National Housing, to rescind a council resolution freezing all
appointments and promotions made in the last six months was meant to save
the jobs of 1 235 mostly Zanu PF supporters.

The council’s abortive move has resulted in the first showdown between
Chombo and the MDC-dominated Harare City Council chamber.

It has since emerged that the controversial appointments, made between
September last year and 10 March this year, were done at a time the
cash-strapped council was supposed to reduce the workforce in line with a
government directive.

Chombo did not answer his cellphone yesterday, but information obtained by
The Daily News shows that over the last six months, the Commission replaced
by the council engaged 1 235 people, mainly Zanu PF supporters.

The post of public relations manager, to which a known Zanu PF activist,
Leslie Gwindi, was appointed, had been abolished by the same Commission.

Gwindi was at one time tipped for the governorship of Mashonaland Central

Another beneficiary of the rushed appointments is Joseph Chinotimba, a
former patrolman who is among three people who were clandestinely promoted
to the rank of chief inspector.

Contacted for comment on Tuesday, the Harare executive mayor, Elias Mudzuri,
said council would soon meet to take a decision following Chombo’s quashing
of the council resolution.

“It is unfortunate the minister took the decision. Our decision was not
meant to victimise anybody, but to carry out an audit which would explain
the sudden influx of employees at a time when the Commission was supposed to
slash its salary bill,” he said. “We are a labour-based party and the whole
thing is not targeted at individuals because we do not know those
individuals in person.”

Mudzuri said the council resolution was only meant to slash the salary bill
in line with the government’s directive and carry out an evaluation of the

“We want everyone to understand that we have a mandate to run Harare from
the people of this city and whatever we are doing is meant to serve their

He said he was aware of meetings among some municipal employees plotting to
have him and his council out within six months.

“I came here to do a job, but others came here to set booby-traps and make
sure the will of the residents does not prevail,” said Mudzuri.

“We are all answerable to the ratepayers as they are our employer.”
Sources within the council said 610 people were recruited internally while
another 625 were employed from outside council, mainly as general workers.

The highest number of recruits was in the Department of Works where a total
of 696 people were recruited in the run-up to the presidential election.

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Daily News

Meeting delayed

4/4/02 7:35:52 AM (GMT +2)

By Sandra Nyaira Political Editor

CONFUSION surrounded the talks between Zanu PF and the opposition MDC
yesterday with the meeting being delayed due to the late arrival of the
Nigerian mission led by prominent West African diplomat, Adebayo Adedeji.

However, as these developments aimed at finding a solution to Zimbabwe’s
deepening political impasse were taking place, President Mugabe took off
yesterday for a meeting in Lusaka aimed at finding a
solution to the long-running political crisis in the Democratic Republic of
the Congo.

The Nigerian delegation was initially scheduled to arrive in the afternoon
in time to allow the talks to start around 4pm but by 6pm Adedeji was still
to arrive in Zimbabwe.

The private talks are being held at the behest of the South African and
Nigerian governments to discuss the way out of the chaos created by
President Mugabe’s disputed victory in the presidential election.

The talks were supposed to start in Harare any time last night with the
arrival of Adedeji.

There was also a possibility of the talks being postponed to today.
Reuters reported last night that the MDC’s economic affairs secretary, Eddie
Cross, had told them the talks had gotten off to a slow start.

“The talks have started . . . I don’t think you will hear anything for some
days. They are discussing what to talk about,” said Cross.

“The gulf between the two parties is so wide that it will take some days to
agree on what they are going to talk about. Unless Mbeki and Obasanjo bring
pressure to bear, there will not be much progress.”

The talks had been initiated by South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki and his
colleague, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, who were part of the troika which
recommended Zimbabwe’s suspension from the Commonwealth last month after
Mugabe’s disputed victory.

The period running up to the crucial poll was marred by State-sponsored
violence that saw more than 100 people being killed in cold blood.

MDC spokesman, Learnmore Jongwe, said the talks were definitely set for

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Daily News

MDC supporters living in fear following abduction threats

4/4/02 5:23:07 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters in Sunningdale, Harare, are
living in fear following several abduction threats.

They are being accused by Zanu PF of campaigning for the MDC during the
recent presidential election.

Kumbirai Muchechetere, the MDC’s information and publicity secretary for
Ward 10 on Tuesday said that party members were living in fear, following
death threats by Zanu PF supporters led by war veterans identified as Marwa
and Mutetwa.

Muchechetere said they had information that the Zanu PF leadership wanted
their supporters to bring Seven Nehumambi, Right Time Masango, Bark
Chikukwa, James Nyamunda, the Ward 10 organising secretary, Mucheza, and
Master Nebvuma to them before the presidential election was held.

He said the six had been approached almost on a daily basis by the war
veterans and ordered to join Zanu PF at once.

Zanu PF supporters launched a violent campaign to force MDC supporters to
renounce their party in favour of the ruling party ahead of the 9 -11 March
presidential election.

They proceeded to set up bases countrywide from where they carried out their
violent campaign activities.

“One of the war veterans who identified himself as Timothy from Sunningdale,
told us they will deal with us,” said Muchechetere.

“He accused us of refusing to join Zanu PF.

“We will resist any attempts by the Zanu PF supporters to capture or abduct
any of our supporters.

“They have made it clear they want to capture six of our members. We are
ready for that,” said Muchechetere.

Joseph Chinotimba, the war veterans’ chairman for Harare province was
scheduled to meet with party supporters at Maruza Shopping Centre on

The meeting was, among other issues, aimed at arranging President Mugabe’s
election victory celebrations and how to deal with the MDC supporters for
their role during the recent elections.

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Daily News

Chiredzi Zanu PF official, war veterans clash over land

4/4/02 5:22:34 AM (GMT +2)

From our Correspondent in Masvingo

Isaac Rukatya, a Chiredzi businessman and Zanu PF provincial executive
member, has clashed with war veterans in the district over land.

He allegedly purchased nine plots at Chipiwa resettlement area in
Mkwasine, against the policy of the ruling party.

Rukatya has since instituted legal proceedings to have the sitting tenants
removed from the properties.

War veterans led by Simeon Magumire argued that Rukatya acquired some of the
plots through fraudulent means and that it was against Zanu PF policy for
one to have so many plots.

Rukatya, the Zanu PF’s Masvingo provincial secretary for transport and
welfare has denied any wrong-doing arguing that he only managed to raise the
required money.

The plots were allocated to the people in 1989 by the Mkwasine Estate for
blacks to enter into the lucrative sugarcane production business.

The estate surrendered the plots to government which later allocated them to
current plot holders.

Some plot owners who felt they were unjustifiably being dispossessed of
their plots by Rukatya have refused to leave them arguing that the
politician used his political influence to snatch the plots from them.

Rukatya allegedly bought the plots without the consent of all the tenants.

Some of the plot holders were shocked to receive eviction notices from the

Among those who are resisting eviction are Innocent Mavune, Pai Bhila and
Antony Mavhunduse.

Relations between Rukatya and the war veterans reached boiling point when a
group of war veterans and plot owners led by Magumire barred him from
conducting any activity on some of the plots.

Magumire and the war veterans have threatened to forcibly repossess the
plots from the businessman.

In his affidavit filed at the Chiredzi Magistrates’ Courts, in which he was
applying for a peace order against Magumire, Rukatya said: “The war veterans
 led by Magumire came to my plot and stopped my workers from working on the

“They threatened them with death and assaults if they ignored the advice.
The war veterans argued that I improperly acquired several plots which is
against the spirit of Zanu PF.

“They further stated that they had an audience with Vice-President Joseph
Msika to the effect that the plots should be returned to their original

“The war veterans are taking advantage of the current wave of lawlessness in
the country to the detriment of law-abiding citizens.”

Contacted for comment Rukatya’s lawyer Douglas Mwonzora said there was
nothing sinister about his client purchasing the nine plots.
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Daily News

Police release MDC councillor without charge five days later

4/4/02 5:22:01 AM (GMT +2)

Chief Reporter

PETER Karimakwenda, the MDC councillor for ward 39 in Dzivarasekwa and five
party activists were yesterday released without any charges after spending
five days in police custody for allegedly leading party youths to stone a
bus carrying Zanu PF supporters.

Karimakwenda, 60, and five other MDC youths were arrested last week and
spent the Easter holiday in custody at Harare Central Police Station.

Edwin Mushoriwa, the MDC Member of Parliament for Dzivarasekwa yesterday
said the six activists were arrested for allegedly contravening the
notorious Public Order and Security Act and were released without charge.

“The police told our members that they are investigating the matter. There
were no charges preferred against them,” Mushoriwa said.

Mushoriwa said they were arrested by the police at Mawadze shopping centre
last Thursday.

“I deny that Karimakwenda and our youths committed any crime. He is a
responsible parent who does not subscribe to unlawful activities,” Mushoriwa

He said that there were disturbances among Zanu PF supporters who were not
happy about their party’s failure to pay them for their role in campaigning
for President Mugabe.

“Some Zanu PF supporters who were operating some bases in the area had their
own differences after they were not paid their money.

They started fighting each other but surprisingly, the police arrested our

A Commonwealth report has blasted the police for failing to uphold the rule
of law

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Daily News

Zanu PF purges civil service in Bindura

4/4/02 5:19:55 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

Zanu PF supporters and war veterans in Bindura on Monday last week embarked
on a purge of suspected opposition MDC supporters in the civil service in
the aftermath of the presidential election.

People in the town said the group, who are camped at the Tendayi Community
Centre in Chipadze suburb, had lists of MDC supporters or suspected
supporters and used these to “dismiss” the civil servants from their jobs.

The group was reportedly stopped by the police when they were on their way
to the Bindura Magistrates’ Court.

A man who refused to be named for fear of victimisation said: “The police
told them what they were doing was illegal, but beyond talking to them they
did nothing. The group threatened to continue with the evictions.”

However, the Zanu PF heavyweights in the province intervened last Monday and
stopped the evictions.

Last Tuesday, Chen Chimutengwende, the Zanu PF Mashonaland Central
provincial chairman, said: “It was just a misunderstanding between the two
groups of people. There are some people who have disagreements elsewhere and
decide to settle them at a different place. This is what happened. We
settled the matter on the same day.”

Chimutengwende confirmed that Elliot Manyika, the Member of Parliament for
Bindura and Minister of Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation,
Joyce Mujuru, the MP for Mt Darwin and Minister of Rural Resources and Water
Development, and Edward Chindori-Chininga, the MP for Guruve South and
Minister of Mines and Energy, were at the meeting.

The so-called dismissals are viewed by some people in the town as an
interpretation of a statement by President Mugabe during his inauguration
speech last week, understood to mean that MDC supporters or those perceived
to be supporters of the opposition party would be summarily dismissed from
the civil service.
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Daily News

NCA vows to protest

4/4/02 7:35:14 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

A DEFIANT National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) yesterday said its planned
peaceful demonstrations would go ahead this weekend despite the police
threat to stop them.

Dr Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA chairman, said the police would not succeed in
preventing his civic organisation from demonstrating.

“Only an act of God will stop us from demonstrating. We are aware that the
police will try to stop us, but we do not need the police to give us

The police yesterday said they would not permit the NCA to go ahead with its
marches on Saturday in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Masvingo and Mutare.

The police spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena, in justifying prohibition of the
demonstrations was quoted on radio as saying they would lead to violence
because of what he said is the association of the NCA with the opposition

Madhuku dismissed Bvudzijena’s allegations of the linkage as “nonsensical”.

He said the fact that some top officials of the MDC were once part of the
NCA did not mean the two were aligned.

The NCA is protesting against President Mugabe’s refusal to accept a
national constitution which it has drafted.
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African envoys in talks with Zimbabwe parties

HARARE, April 4 — Nigerian and South African envoys started separate talks
with President Robert Mugabe's ruling party and the main opposition to map
out the agenda for talks between the two rivals, state radio reported on
        The consultations follow Mugabe's controversial victory in March
9-11 presidential elections, which Western countries and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have rejected as fraudulent.
       MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, free on bail on charges of plotting to
kill Mugabe, has described the election as ''daylight robbery'' and said he
will discuss nothing but fresh elections with Mugabe.
       Mugabe has ruled out a re-run of the polls.
       ''Consultations were held today separately between the ruling ZANU-PF
and the MDC in Harare with facilitators from Nigeria and South Africa,'' the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation said.
       It said the consultations were meant to decide on the venue, date and
agenda for a formal meeting between the two parties.
       Formal talks were expected to start once the leader of the ruling
party's team, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, returned to Zimbabwe from
an overseas trip.
       Chinamasa said on state television he expected talks between the two
parties to start early next week after his return at the weekend.
       South African mediator Kgalema Motlanthe declined to give details of
Thursday's meetings.
       ''We have been sworn to silence. We are not speaking to the media
until both parties have come up with some sort of agreement,'' he told
       Nigeria's High Commission in Harare also declined to comment.
       In remarks broadcast on television, MDC Secretary-General Welshman
Ncube, who is leading the opposition team, said his party was fulfilling an
undertaking made to the Presidents of South African and Nigeria last month
to pursue dialogue.
       ''We are giving them a chance to have that dialogue. Our view is that
you will not be able to have successful talks until you have the climate for
successful talks,'' Ncube said. He was not immediately available for further
       Nigeria and South Africa have led efforts to launch dialogue between
the former British colony's bitterly divided parties and are pushing for a
government of national unity.
       Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth for a year on March 19
after the 54-nation group's election observers accused Mugabe of electoral
       Zimbabwe's government dismisses the charges, saying they are being
pushed by Western powers keen to see Mugabe ousted over his seizure of
white-owned farms for landless blacks.

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From SABC News, 4 April

US to deliver food aid for hungry Zimbabweans

The United States government says it is poised to deliver the first
consignment of a 34 430 tonne contribution of maize meal to help feed
thousands of Zimbabweans facing severe food shortages. "The United States is
providing 8 470 metric tons of fortified maize meal and the associated
transport and handling costs," the US embassy in Harare says in a statement.
"The food is now on its way to Zimbabwe from Tanzania." The embassy says the
first consignment of the maize, part of the US contribution to the United
Nations World Food Programme (WFP) emergency project for Zimbabwe will be
delivered in Bindura, 88km northeast of Harare tomorrow. "Current US
government plans also provide for an additional $7 million worth of
assistance for the UN food programme over the coming months. This assistance
will provide for an additional 11 650 tonnes of food, including transport
and handling costs," the statement adds. The US is also finalising an
agreement with aid agency World Vision International to provide 14 310
tonnes of maize meal and other food commodities for some 75 000 people in
Zimbabwe's Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the coming year. "The
total US contribution is expected to be 34 430 tonnes. This amount will meet
the needs of approximately 170 000 vulnerable people in rural Zimbabwe
during the next 12 months," the embassy says.

Earlier a southern African food security unit said regional countries
including Zimbabwe face widespread hunger as food imports were arriving too
slowly in areas hit by drought. The Southern African Development Community's
(SADC) Early Warning Unit said in its latest quarterly update that only 36%
of planned regional imports had been received, exacerbating already
dwindling food supplies in land-locked Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Slow
deliveries were mostly due to poor infrastructure, derailments of freight
trains and congestion of routes arising from competing demands on freight
services from here (South Africa). Zimbabwe is normally self sufficient in
food but drought and the invasions of white-owned farms since February 2000
by militants loyal to veteran President Robert Mugabe have slashed maize
output. With output from the 2001/02 crop season seen at 1 million tonnes of
maize at best, against domestic demand of 1,8 million tonnes, industry
officials says imports of up to 600 000 tonnes of the staple grain are
needed. Last week the WFP said it urgently needed $69 million for 145 866
tonnes of food to ward off an imminent break in food supplies for people in
Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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