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

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Mugabe's mobs in new terror campaign
By David Blair Foreign Staff
(Filed: 05/04/2002)

MOBS loyal to President Robert Mugabe have launched a wave of attacks,
forcing tens of thousands of Zimbabweans to flee their homes since the
widely-condemned election last month.

The renewed terror campaign, which compares with the worst violence before
the poll, coincided with the opening of negotiations between senior figures
in the ruling Zanu-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC).

Envoys from South Africa and Nigeria have brokered the highly sensitive
talks and Western diplomats forecast that the MDC will come under severe
pressure to join a government of national unity that could strengthen Mr
Mugabe's grip on power.

Working from a network of 120 base camps spread across Zimbabwe, Zanu-PF
gangs have hunted down MDC supporters. In the three weeks since the election
human rights groups have recorded 13 murders and hundreds of cases of
torture, abduction, rape and assault.

Most offences have been committed by the 30,000 members of the National
Youth Service Force, a paramilitary outfit made up of unemployed teenagers.

Anyone who worked as an MDC polling agent or campaigned for Morgan
Tsvangirai, Mr Mugabe's defeated opponent, has been singled out.

Many have been unable to return to their homes since the announcement of Mr
Mugabe's victory, while the ranks of the displaced have been swelled by
black farm workers. Thousands have lost their jobs and homes following the
seizure of white-owned farms.

A spokesman for the Zimbabwe Crisis Group, a coalition of civic
organisations, estimated that 50,000 people had become refugees since the
election. He appealed for international assistance for the victims.

In Mashonaland East province alone the Commercial Farmers' Union said that
19 landowners had been "illegally evicted" and there had been 31 cases of
looting since the election.
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FinGaz - Comment

Enough madness

4/4/02 1:30:52 AM (GMT +2)

SCORES of innocent Zimbabweans are being brutally attacked for holding
different political beliefs virtually each day since the March 9-11
presidential vote and the madness is rising dangerously and spreading to yet
more areas.

In some areas, law-abiding citizens are reportedly being denied the chance
to buy desperately short maize unless they produce the membership card of
the ruling ZANU PF party.

In other areas, thousands have become refugees in their own "free" country,
forced to flee their homes and belongings by the marauding terrorists.

Some of the victims of the insidious war have paid the supreme price: their

As the witch-hunt is stepped up, we see no condemnation nor action from the
government to stop the terrorism but virtual warnings of further steps
against those who chose to back opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the
presidential ballot.

For ZANU PF and its leaders, it is as if it is business as usual.

Let it be said that Zimbabweans have shown extraordinary patience in the
face of naked provocation but their anguished silence should not be
construed to mean that they will continue to tolerate unmitigated madness
and chaos.

The witch-hunt is clearly aimed at obliterating Tsvangirai’s Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) from the face of the earth, but it will fail because
no one can ever extinguish the human being’s yearning for true freedom.

The MDC is not just a momentary fluke that will pass but a reality born out
of the government’s total and repeated failure to address the people’s dire

The sooner the government wakes up to this reality and co-exists with the
opposition party, the better for all Zimbabweans.

No amount of demonising the MDC or of accusing it of all manner of crimes,
real or imagined, will make the party vanish from the earth.

For the government, time is running out to put an end to the reign of
plunder and murder being waged by common criminals who have been given carte
blanche to cow the entire nation as a political survival tool.

Unless the government acts against the terrorism and does so rapidly and
visibly, Zimbabweans will draw their own conclusions and they will certainly
be forced to defend themselves.

In time, all these terror mobs and their sponsors will be held fully
accountable for their crimes against humanity and that time is not far away.

ZANU PF’s campaign of violence, lies and deceit is not sustainable and the
governing party must surely know that.

Sooner or later, the moment of reckoning will come. When that happens, let
us not hear pleas or cries that those responsible for so much human
suffering were not warned or aware of their dastardly crimes.

Peace-loving Zimbabweans and the entire civilised world cannot and will not
allow this travesty of justice and challenge to the world’s conscience to

It’s just a question of when this nonsense will be ended.
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Zim crisis is not about political differences

Eunice Mafundikwa
4/4/02 1:37:16 AM (GMT +2)

THE erosion of democracy in Zimbabwe has over the years resulted in a
depleted civil society. The Zimbabwe government has been progressively
destroying democratic institutions.

There is no longer a clear separation of power between the pillars of
democracy. This has clearly manifested itself in the sustained suppression
of competition for state power in the form of any opposition political

The oppressive rule of the Zimbabwe government has witnessed the enactment
of draconian laws to counter the vibrancy of civic society. Lately the
Electoral Amendment Regulations and the Public Order and Security Act were
meant to completely paralyse civic society members and relegate them to
spectators in any election.

A clear manifestation of the disempowerment of civil society has been the
hesitant and muted response of civil society to the outcome of the March
9-11 presidential election.

While the Zimbabwe Election Support Network condemned the election as being
marred with violence, among a host of other electoral misdeeds
unconscionable in a democracy, the organisation did not take its findings to
the logical conclusion of what the alternatives are when a democratic
process fails.

What we have not seen or heard in Zimbabwe is a united and determined voice
from Zimbabwean civil society.

The prevailing silence cannot be explained in any other way except to say
that the election outcome has left civil society numb, confused and, above
all, shocked. Worrisome is the surrendering of the responsibility to deal
with an illegitimate government to the international community.

In the political discourse at the international level, particularly at the
Commonwealth and regional consultations of heads of states, there seems to
be a misguided consensus that sees a solution to the present crisis as
dialogue between the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the
ruling ZANU PF.

The problem is beyond the two parties. It is the destruction of democratic
institutions that needs to be addressed and civil society is well placed to
address these issues.

This, therefore, means that civil society has to be inserted into this
equation for any transition to be successful. Locating the crisis as a
difference between two parties will not address the crucial issue of
destruction of the democratic institutions.

It is important to recognise that because of the high degree of
polarisation, there is a substantial number of Zimbabweans who are not
affiliated to either ZANU PF or the MDC.

This, therefore, calls for nurturing lobby groups of specific interests,
which both political parties have not given significant attention.

While there has been reference to issues of human rights when discussing the
Zimbabwean crisis, it also seems that this factor has not been a
consideration. In any given society human rights are a fundamental concept
to be protected irrespective of state resources or the political

Human rights are not simply well-sounding legal terms initiated by the West
as some African leaders have suggested. Human rights go to the root of
society, its identity, understanding, participation, and so forth.

Indeed human rights have not been a consideration of ZANU PF throughout its
22-year rule. It is the business of civil society to make it impossible for
political parties to push issues of human rights off the agenda.

The Zimbabwe crisis is a watershed moment for democracy in the region. The
present repressive climate makes healthy debate, analysis and reflection
impossible. It is times like these that civil society in the region is
called upon to play an important role in providing solidarity, resources and
skills to civil society organisations in Zimbabwe as they consolidate their
space and role in building a democracy.

It is imperative that in coalitions of this nature, it is Zimbabwean civil
society that must take the lead.

The present situation says it all; there is complete absence of commitment
to democratic principles. The pressure to build these institutions must come
from civil society.

Eunice Mafundikwa is a Zimbabwean journalist currently on a Transitional
Justice and Human Rights Fellowship Programme at University of Cape Town,
South Africa.

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Tourism sector hit by new turbulence

Staff Reporter
4/4/02 1:22:44 AM (GMT +2)

MORE than 10 countries have intensified warnings against travel to Zimbabwe
by their citizens until further notice as growing international pressure
mounts on the Harare authorities to improve the country’s human rights
record and solve a deepening political and economic crisis.

In a move expected to further dent the recovery prospects of Zimbabwe’s key
tourism sector, countries such as the United States, Britain, Canada,
Germany, Australia and Sweden have advised their citizens against all
holiday and non-essential travel to Zimbabwe until the political situation
in the country improves.

According to information released in Harare yesterday, other countries that
have also imposed bans on non-essential travel to Zimbabwe on their citizens
are Denmark, Finland, Italy and Belgium.

The US, which had initially told its citizens to avoid travelling to
Zimbabwe before March 31, this week extended the warning by a further four
months to July, pending an improvement in the political climate.

Britain, the target of vitriolic attacks by the Zimbabwean authorities in
the past few months, has told its citizens to exercise great care when
visiting Zimbabwe.

"The leaders of the ruling (ZANU PF) party regularly single out Britain for
fierce criticism, alleging British interference in Zimbabwe’s internal
affairs," the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in one of its
travel advisories.

"British travellers may therefore be exposed to particular risk."

Canada, one of the first countries to denounce last month’s disputed
re-election of President Robert Mugabe by severing all economic ties with
Harare, has ordered Canadians to avoid all travel to Zimbabwe unless they
have critical or compelling business and family matters to attend to.

"These travel warnings are further compounded by sanctions being instituted
by other countries," Mark Collins, a board member of the Zimbabwe Council
for Tourism (ZCT), told tourism operators at a meeting organised by ZCT in
Harare yesterday.

Several countries, including the US and the 15-nation European Union (EU),
have imposed smart sanctions against Mugabe and his ruling elite, accusing
them of gross human rights abuses and of plundering the resources of the
once-prosperous country.

The EU is expected to meet next week to consider widening the smart
sanctions against Mugabe and his officials.

The travel warnings are expected to hit the recovery of Zimbabwe’s tourism
sector, whose hard cash earnings have declined by more than 40 percent in
the past year due to a sharp drop in tourist arrivals.

The countries that have issued travel warnings are the major markets of
visitors to Zimbabwe and their actions could cut the number of tourists
coming into the country.

According to information released yesterday, occupancy at major Harare
hotels has declined from 61 percent in 1999 to about 40 percent last year
and is projected to tumble further to 37 percent in 2003.

Occupancy at hotels in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe’s premier tourist
destination, has also nosedived from about 66 percent three years ago to 34
percent in 2001 but is seen edging up to 39 percent by the end of 2003.

The tourism sector, which contributed about eight percent to Zimbabwe’s
annual gross domestic product at its peak four years ago, is one of the
industries widely expected to contribute to the recovery of the country’s
tottering economy.

Zim Independent

Air Zimbabwe hard-hit by decline in tourist arrivals
Godfrey Marawanyika

NATIONAL carrier Air Zimbabwe, which had weathered the decline in tourist
arrivals and remained competitive through charging airfares in local
currency, has succumbed to the decline and been forced to resort to a
14-seater instead of its normal 120-seater plane on the Harare-Victoria
Falls route.

So serious is the decline in arrivals that the airline was predicting the
trend might continue.

Warnings on travel to Zimbabwe by most European Union countries and the
United States to their nationals have contributed to the decline.

The reduction in numbers had affected business operations in Victoria Falls
and Hwange National Parks.

The decline in arrivals had forced Air Zimbabwe to charter a 14-seater plane
in place of the usual Boeing 737 which ferries at least 120 passengers.

Last month Air Zimbabwe thrice serviced the Victoria Falls route using the
smaller plane due to the reduction of paying passengers. At one stage it was
forced to cancel some flights altogether.

Air Zimbabwe spokesman David Mwenga confirmed they had been forced to
charter small craft last month to service some of their routes and said they
might continue doing so this month.

"We did charter a smaller craft last month due to the decline in numbers
because we did not have enough passengers to fill our normal aircraft," said

"It is very likely that even this week we might have to charter a smaller
plane as it would not be economical for us to fly a 737."

Fear of politically-motivated violence has seen most European Union
countries warning their citizens to avoid visiting Zimbabwe. The warnings,
issued in the run-up to the March 9/10 presidential election, still stand.
Australia and New Zealand have also issued similar warnings to their

Last month several people were injured in Victoria Falls as Zanu PF hoodlums
went on the rampage assaulting suspected opposition party supporters. Some
of the victims were admitted at Victoria Falls General Hospital.

The country's prime tourist attraction Hwange National Park and the Victoria
Falls are currently being sustained by small groups of tourists coming via
South Africa.

Mwenga said Air Zimbabwe had this week been forced to cancel the
Johannesburg/Victoria Falls flight due to low numbers. The passengers were
transferred into South African Airways.

Although the Zimbabwe Council for Tourism met this week to map the way
forward for resuscitating the once-thriving industry, players in the sector
have warned of a daunting task ahead.

The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority has predicted the tourism sector will only
improve from the current slump next year.

The ZTA has so far received a $260 million grant to spearhead an
international marketing drive by appointing tourism attaches to perceived
key markets around the world.

Most Victoria Falls hotel managers confirmed they were seriously affected by
the decline in arrivals.

"One of the lodges in Hwange with a 400-room occupancy had less than 10
guests during the second week of March, yet this is supposed to be our peak
period for international arrivals," said one Victoria Falls-based hotel

"We have been forced to ask some of our employees to go home until the
situation improves."

Zimbabwe has seen a marked decline in the tourism sector whose receipts fell
by 38% in 1999 in US$ terms, to US$124,7 million.

During the first half of last year the country realised US$43,40 million in
tourism receipts compared to US$75,80 million for the same period in 2000.

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Zim Independent

The rate at which authorities should devalue the dollar
By Nhlanhla Nyathi

THE crucial presidential elections, which had been dubbed a milestone in
Zimbabwe's political and economic climate have finally come and gone.
Politicians, who had shifted their focus 100% to wining the presidential
elections and to a certain extent, neglecting the state of the economy,
should now stop politicking and get down to rebuilding the battered economy.

Business people, who had also adopted a wait-and-see attitude should change
their strategy and engage in active business that will help resuscitate this
once-vibrant economy again. Coming out of this election, one of the key
fundamental issues which should be a priority for the government is the
re-pricing of the mis-aligned exchange rate relative to Zimbabwe's major
trading partners.

However, any proposed adjustment of the exchange rate can only have the
desired impact on the economy if it is partnered by the return of
multilateral organisations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to
support Zimbabwe's perennial balance of payments deficit. Before we engage
in this process, the question we should be asking ourselves as a nation is:
Given Zimbabwe's strained relationship with the US and the EU, stemming from
events leading up to the elections, will it be possible to convince the IMF
and other multilateral organisations to assist Zimbabwe at this point in

If it is possible, then steps to negotiate their return should be taken as
soon as possible. If not, then it is possible the government will maintain
the current over-valued fixed exchange rate.

Problems with the exchange rate surfaced in 1994 when authorities adopted a
managed float exchange rate system. Inflationary conditions, which later
followed soon after the adoption of this system, did not warrant the
exchange rate to remain floating between the initially promulgated levels of
8,387-9,311 against the US dollar. Consequently, the Zimdollar had become
well overvalued by August 1995.

However, the negative effect of the overvalued currency was not felt until
November 1997 when the gross foreign exchange reserves which were used by
the Reserve Bank to defend the currency, became depleted considerably and
the central bank could no longer continue to defend the overvalued currency.

Following the failure by the central bank to defend the Zimdollar, in 1998,
a fixed exchange rate was adopted despite an over-bearing inflationary
environment. Between February 1997 and August 2000 the local unit was fixed
at $38 to the US dollar and thereafter at $55 until now. Inflationary
conditions and other parity indicators have made it quite evident that the
local unit is overvalued at these levels.

This assertion has been further strengthened by the emergence of a thriving
parallel market, trading well in excess of the official exchange rate.

The parallel market

The parallel market emerged in 2000 when the fixed exchange rate remained
unchanged at $55 against the US dollar despite an over-bearing inflationary
environment. Demand for foreign currency far out-stripped supply, leading to
the development of an alternative market offering rates well in excess of
the official rate.

Potential buyers of foreign currency who had no access to sources at the
official rate had no choice but to trade in this market. Similarly, sellers
of foreign currency preferred to trade in the same market purely to take
advantage of the lucrative rates. Consequently, due to these supply and
demand patterns which could not be satisfied through the official channels,
a thriving market now termed the parallel or black market, emerged.

The dominance of the parallel market has been fuelled further by the
participation of a number of corporate entities and bona fide banking

The rates ruling in the parallel market depend heavily on the same supply
and demand characteristics governing a free market, as well as on the
premiums charged by black market dealers to compensate for additional risks
taken in facilitating trade in an illegal market. Specifically, in Zimbabwe,
black market dealers face penalties in excess of $1 million per transaction
if apprehended by the authorities and these risks have to be offset against
clients in the black market through excessive premiums over the hypothetical
equilibrium exchange rate. As a result, the black market rate tends to
grossly undervalue the Zimdollar. The existence of these penalties and the
fact that some transactions go through at the official rate means that the
parallel market rate is not influenced by exactly the same set of supply and
demand forces as that which influence the free market rate.

Therefore, the parallel market rate in itself cannot be regarded as
indicative of the true equilibrium rate that would prevail in the absence of
controls. Normally, for an over-valued currency such as the Zimdollar, the
hypothetical equilibrium rate lies somewhere in-between the official and
parallel market rate.

The usefulness of the parallel market rate is that it is a good indicator of
where the official rate is likely to go if the monetary authorities give in
to market pressures. For example, the fact that there is a positive
correlation of 0,96 between the black market rate and consumer price index
shows that, similar to the free market rate, the parallel market rate is
partly driven by changes in the purchasing power of a currency. Figure 1
shows the relationship between the parallel market rate for the US dollar
and the consumer price index (CPI) from year 2000 to January 2002 on a
monthly basis.

However, although the official rate can be expected to move toward the
parallel market rate, it is not expected to coincide with that rate because
of the bias induced by government sanctions and specific risks associated
with dealing in the black market.

Equilibrium rate

The hypothetical equilibrium exchange rate for the Zimdollar can be
determined by analysing a set of economic parity conditions that should
exist between nations globally. The basic premise of the equilibrium
exchange rate is based on the law of one price or that exchange adjusted
prices for identical tradable goods and financial assets should have the
same prices, inclusive of transaction costs, worldwide. If this dictum is
not upheld, the state of equilibrium is upset and adjustments will take
effect through the exchange rate via international arbitrageurs who work on
the concept of "buy low, sell high". Parity conditions that should exist
between nations are as follows:

Inflation rates (purchasing power parity).

Nominal interest rates (interest rate parity).

Real interest rates (Fisher effect).

For Zimbabwe's case, purchasing power parity (PPP) theory is the most
credible for determining the hypothetical equilibrium exchange rate. The
Fisher effect and interest rate parity theory would not work due to a
deliberate manipulation of interest rates by the Reserve Bank that were
meant to benefit the government and the productive sector.

The equilibrium exchange rate under purchasing power parity.

The PPP theory rests on the assumption that free trade will equalise the
price of any good in all countries. The relative version of PPP, uses the
CPI as a measurement of inflation between trading nations based on a
specified base year. However, the theory does not acknowledge the existence
of government erected barriers, product differentiation, transportation
costs and relative weights placed in the CPI basket which could be different
between nations. For purposes of this illustration, the hypothetical
equilibrium exchange rate for the Zimdollar to the US dollar will be
calculated from PPP theory. Data used to calculate the equilibrium exchange
rate is based on information sources from the Central Statistical Office and
the US Embassy. As shown below, the equilibrium exchange rate is based on
figures for 1995 for the following reasons:

The Z$/USD exchange rate in 1995 was allowed to float to market changes;
therefore, it is a better estimate of the equilibrium exchange rate.

The CPI index for Zimbabwe is calculated on the basis of 1995 as the base

The CPI for United States has been adjusted from the original (1982=100)
base year to (1995=100) base year by subtracting the cumulative index from
1982 to 1995.

Based on PPP, the equilibrium exchange rate should be at $112 against the US
dollar. At the current level of $55 to the US dollar, the Zimdollar is
grossly overvalued by 105%. This rate is also lower than that of the black
market rate of $320 to the US dollar by 183% primarily because of excessive
premiums charged for risks taken by traders in facilitating trade on an
illegal market. As a result, exports have become less competitive overseas
while imports are more price competitive relative to domestic products. The
resulting deficit in the nation's balance of trade has put considerable
downward pressure on the spot exchange rate. This downward pressure can only
disappear when Zimbabwe's currency has depreciated relative to its foreign
competitors' currencies by the inflation differential as indicated above.
Only then, will the activity of the black market cease to be prominent.

- Nhlanhla Nyathi is an investment analyst with a local financial services
firm and holds a Bachelor Of Commerce Honours Degree in Finance from Nust.
He is also a stage one candidate in the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
programme. Contact numbers - 091272116 or (04) 791444/48.

Zim Independent

Inflation set to reach 150%
Loughty Dube

THE economy and the inflation rate will not improve in the coming six months
but will worsen unless government brings about radical and immediate
national policy changes.

A leading Bulawayo-based economist, Eric Bloch, told the Zimbabwe
Independent that an about-turn in the country's economic fortunes was
impossible in the near future and warned the economy would decline further
if government continued with its scorched-earth policies.

"The economy will continue to decline further in the coming six months and
inflation is set to worsen during that period until and unless government
introduces fundamental national policies that address the economic issues,"
Bloch said. "If that is not done soon the economy will suffer more ruin."

He said the country's inflation rate would rise to an all-time high of 150%
by the end of the year from the current 116,3% at which it is currently

"If the government does nothing to change the course of the economy
urgently, then inflation will be hovering around 150% by the end of the
year," he said.

The increased shortage of foreign currency, spiralling inflation and a
pronounced shortage of basic items on the market, Bloch said, were worsening
the country's economic woes.

Zimbabwe's economic environment remained volatile last year as a result of
government-sanctioned farm invasions, failure to attract investment, a
general decline in business confidence and the exponential rise in

Government's ineffective monetary and fiscal policies have resulted in the
deterioration of the macro-economic climate since 1997.

Zimbabwe's domestic debt is currently $226,93 billion whilst the foreign
debt is over US$720 million.

Bloch said it was vital for government to restore the rule of law before
embarking on a comprehensive national reform policy.

He said government should embark on a restructuring of the land programme,
pursue market-related policies instead of regulating the market and devalue
the dollar to restore export markets.

"Government should embark on a restructuring of the land programme where
there will be no further redistribution but a programme that will not
destroy the viability of the agricultural sector," said Bloch.

Zimbabwe is currently facing its worst drought since 1992.

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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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Media Update # 2002/9
March 25th - March 31st 2002

1.  Summary
2.  Food security and economic recovery
3.  Post election developments
4.  Post election violence
5.  Media issues- post election govt. blitz on journalists
6.  From our subscribers


Three issues dominated the media in the week under review: food
security, the economy and the legitimacy of the presidential
election. How the media dealt with these issues was predictable;
the government-controlled print and electronic media sought to
promote government's land reforms as the engine of economic
recovery and to ensuring national food security in the future.
By contrast, the private Press reported the continuing shrinkage of
the country's economy and provided some analysis of the likely
economic effects of Zimbabwe's political isolation following the
controversial poll results. This community of papers also reported
the growing body of evidence to support claims that the election
was rigged and the on-going public debate that there should be an
election re-run.
The private press also reported on what is now evidently a
nationwide campaign of violent retribution against those who were
perceived to have supported the opposition MDC during the election.
The national public media ignored all these important
developments, although they reported government's intolerant
response to calls for fresh elections. Notably, all sections of the
Press failed to report Saturday morning's riots in Bulawayo's
Sizinda suburb. And none of the media corrected the false and
inaccurate information broadcast by ZBC of the arrest and five-day
detention of a Zimbabwean journalist over the Easter holiday.


The public media failed to inform their audiences about the stark
realities of Zimbabwe's precarious food status or its worsening
economic crisis, preferring instead, to maintain its narrow focus on
shallow stories promoting the achievements of the country's
controversial fast-track land reforms.
ZBC made spirited attempts to create the impression that
government is formulating a workable agri-based economic
recovery plan in spite of the country's international isolation. ZTV
(26/03, 8pm) and 3FM (26/03, 6am) reported that government was
formulating an "agriculture-based" economic recovery programme
that is expected to create more than one million jobs.
The programme, according to ZBC reporter Faith Zaba, is set to
address low export earnings, foreign currency shortages and food
security. Explaining the programme she said: "Government has
already embarked on a fast-track land reform programme.
Already, there are 210 000 new farmers resettled under Model
A1 which involves the decongestion of communal areas and
another 54 000 small-to-medium scale commercial farmers
under Model A2. This is in addition to 71 000 resettled
between 1980 and 2000. The ultimate goal is to create between
1 and 2 million jobs."
The report was an attempt to put a positive economic face to
government's controversial land reforms. ZBC provided no critical
analysis of its own unsupported claims. Apart from quoting figures
for those said to have been resettled, there was no meaningful
detail on the new programme. It was not clear how the 1 to 2
million jobs would be created, nor did the reporter even explain the
achievements of the farmers resettled between 1980 and 2000 as a
yardstick to give some substance to the figures and the practicality
of the programme.
The public broadcaster avoided saying that Zimbabwe's economy
has always been agro-based with commercial farming as its
But the story in the The Herald (28/3), added the voice of authority
missing from ZBC's report.
The article, State revises land budget upwards: Infrastructure to
chew up US$1.8bn, quoted Agriculture Minister, Joseph Made,
providing impressive statistics about the effects of the reforms,
including the claim that between 1.5 and three million new jobs
would be created in the agricultural sector. However, the paper
failed to pin him down on how he had arrived at such a figure, or
indeed, on the vagueness of it.  Nor did it question him on the
number of workers already employed by what he said were 500 000
families settled under the Model A1 scheme or the 100 000
families settled under Model A2.
Made is on record admitting that government does not have the $3
billion needed to finance the resettlement programme.
Like ZBC's report, the print version made no attempt to explain the
programme beyond quoting Made promising vaguely that
government would "mobilise its own resources through the sell
(sic) of crops and forward contracts as we look to the East and
the Asian markets".
The wildly differing figures over the numbers of those resettled
quoted by ZBC (using the word 'farmers' as a yardstick) and The
Herald (using 'families' as the measure) would also have confused
state media audiences. Can the state media please tell the nation
what the official figures are for those resettled under the fast-track
land reform programme - using the same measure?
Another article in the same edition of The Herald, Agrarian reform
set to succeed, was equally superficial, subjectively concluding
that everybody would make a successful farmer once given a piece
of land. It claimed, without providing any evidence, that "thousands
of commercial farmers (are) all raring to make a mark.and
turn around.their economy." adding: "The capability and
zeal of the new farmers to produce enough and even a surplus
for export cannot be doubted."
The Daily News story, Government publishes shocking land
acquisition list (27/3) dismissed the myth that government was
only targeting under-utilised farms or white commercial farmers
with more than one farm. Rather, government's new list of
acquisitions included conservancies, church properties, major
agricultural estates, and even a University of Zimbabwe research
farm, Thornpark.
The paper however, editorialised its story by speculating why the
government had taken these properties.
The private Press carried more than 14 stories on the country's
economic situation and the coverage was generally thorough and
straightforward, ranging from informative hard news stories, follow-
ups to analyses of political and economic developments, patterns
and trends. More importantly, the stories embraced a spectrum of
issues that have or are likely to influence economic development,
such as Zimbabwe's continued international isolation, state-
sanctioned lawlessness, the shortage of foreign currency and new
government policies.
ZBC's television and radio stations painted a grim picture of the
food situation in the country. 3FM (25/03, 6am) quoted Agriculture
Minister Joseph Made saying government had declared the drought
a "national disaster". At the same time however, the public
broadcaster sought to demonstrate that government was working
hard to ease the crisis. The overall impression was that the drought
was solely responsible for food shortages without considering other
factors, such as the invasion of commercial farms and the
subsequent paralysis affecting their production.
Radio Zimbabwe (27/03, 1pm) and ZTV (27/03, 8pm), quoted
Finance Minister Simba Makoni saying government was reviewing
the 2002 budget "to take money from some expenditure lines to
put into food. ." because the country needed between 1,5 and
2,2 million tonnes of maize for the period up to May next year. But
the minister was not asked to explain where the cuts would be
made or how this would affect government development plans. Nor
was he asked to give a time frame for implementing the plan in view
of the fact that people are already starving. The Herald's story the
next day was equally uninformative and also blamed the drought.
Despite a report that day in The Zimbabwe Independent quoting
agricultural experts dismissing government plans to grow winter
maize as "harebrained", ZTV and 3FM (28/03, 8pm) carried a
follow-up story reporting that "stakeholders" in Masvingo were
planning to convert part of the irrigated Lowveld sugar estates into
winter maize fields as a temporary measure to avert food
shortages. Dr Simbarashe Mbengegwi was quoted as saying the
plan is "to grow maize either twice or thrice a year so that in
the end we will be harvesting maize every month". ZBC
presented the report as if the idea was a foregone conclusion when
in fact it is still a request to the sugar estates' management, which
is still under consideration. The reporter did not even ask whether
such an unlikely scheme was possible, how much could be grown
and at what cost, or what impact this might have on sugar


Among the most significant developments of the week was the
release of a preliminary report by the opposition MDC providing
further evidence of massive electoral irregularities during the
presidential election as reported in The Financial Gazette (28/3).
While the public media have consistently suppressed growing
public criticism of the election, the private Press continues to
report this, as it has civic society's plans to publicly protest
against the result (The Daily News 25/3) and to query the
legitimacy of Mugabe's Cabinet (Daily News 28/3). This growing
chorus of dissent has provoked responses from government
reported in the state media that would barely make sense to those
who had not seen the reports in the private Press. In one of these
reports which clearly demonstrates the ruling party's concern for its
candidate's legitimacy, ZBC television and radio (27/03, 8pm)
covered the party's Politburo meeting at which the issue of re-
running the elections was considered, among other topics.
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo was quoted on ZTV saying that
the "whispers and small talk" about an election re-run from within
and outside Zimbabwe was out of the question because the
president had been elected democratically and the will of the
people had been expressed peacefully.
He said: "ZANU PF, as resolved by the Politburo.will not
tolerate this small talk and these whispers from anyone. We
will simply.not tolerate this."
In response to the planned NCA demonstration for a new
constitution, Moyo said ". It is not possible for a donor-funded
outfit led by ex-convicts to mount a mass stay-away."
ZBC (all stations 31/03, 8pm) also covered President Mugabe's
victory celebration in Zvimba where he too vehemently rejected the
idea of an election re-run.
Challenging civic organizations' call for another election Mr.
Mugabe declared: "We are the government. What can they
do?.This is a post-election period and no nonsense will be
tolerated. Anyone who wants to rebel and cause lawlessness
we will deal with them firmly. We will thoroughly deal with
them. We will not negotiate with them anymore. That's gone.
It's finished. We are in a new.chapter and there will be firm
government. Very firm."
ZBC did not seek to analyze this poorly veiled threat to unleash the
security forces on anyone who questioned the legitimacy of the
While the Financial Gazette and The Daily News (29/3) reported
the expansion of the US government's ban on Zimbabweans
travelling to America, The Herald (29/3) provided Minister Moyo
with front-page space to attack the publication of this news in the
private Press and The Financial Gazette in particular, as "a gross
violation of human rights".
The paper quoted Moyo accusing the "opposition press" of
publishing stories about "the so-called expanded blacklist" of
Zimbabweans under "trivial sanctions" and described the US
government action as smacking of "disgusting racism unworthy
of a country that wants to be seen as the only remaining
It was not surprising that the paper omitted to include in this piece
of propaganda the reasons for the US action.
The public media also continued to attempt to undermine the MDC
with a false, unsubstantiated story claiming that Tsvangirai was
losing his grip as pressure mounted within the party for a Congress
to select a new leader (The Herald 26/3) and others related to the
same issue.
All the media reported the new MDC council in Harare trying and
failing to offload the ZANU PF flotsam most recently employed by
the previous administrators. The Herald and The Daily News (29/3)
both reported Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo
reversing the council's decision to sack 300 workers still on
probation. They also noted that Chombo had declared that council
could not make any decisions relating to labour and financial
issues without first obtaining government approval, thus effectively
emasculating the council in its first week of operation. But The
Herald (and ZBC) made no effort to analyse this blatantly
authoritarian government directive.


ZBC television and radio, (31/03, 8pm) reported two incidents of
post-election violence - one in Bulawayo and the other in Harare.
Radio Zimbabwe and 3FM (6am 31/3) only reported the Harare
incident. The radio reports did not name the perpetrators but said
the victim was a ZANU PF supporter and that the police were
treating the case as politically motivated.
However, ZTV did identify "MDC youths" as being responsible in
both incidents and reported that 13 of them had been arrested, two
in Harare and 11 in Bulawayo. In the Bulawayo incident ZTV
reported that ZANU PF youths had "retaliated and destroyed" a
Durawall and property at a house in Sizinda suburb where "they
thought" gunshots from alleged MDC youths had come from. But
the TV report only mentioned the arrest of what it called MDC
youths and made no mention of the ZANU PF supporters who had
actually caused the damage.
Other media, including the British Broadcasting Corporation (and
later the private Press) reported that ZANU PF youths had initiated
the violence by attacking residents' homes in the early hours of
Saturday morning. This provoked retaliation from the residents
themselves, who were said to have tried to attack a ZANU PF
youth base in the suburb where the youths responsible for the
damage had taken shelter. According to the BBC (30/3), running
battles ensued when the riot police were called in to prevent the
None of this though, came out in the ZTV report, which relied on
selective police information and the initial misrepresentation that
ruling party youths had 'retaliated' against unexplained gunshots.
No evidence was given to link these to the MDC and ZTV evidently
didn't want to ask the police for an explanation. Its failure to do so
or to ask why there had been no arrests of those responsible for
damaging property suggests that ZBC is covering up the partiality
of the police in dealing with such incidents of violence.
Short Wave Radio Africa (SWRA) reported 10 incidents of post-
election violence in the monitored bulletins. Of these, Zanu Ndonga
supporters in Chipinge were said to have been responsible for one
incident, another by soldiers in Redcliff, Kwekwe, and the rest from
different parts of the country in which ZANU PF supporters were
said to have been responsible.
The station also reported that three MDC supporters were reported
killed as part of ZANU PF's retribution for their support of the
opposition. Most of the incidents were not verified by alternative
sources, and although ZBC did report two deaths, it was more
reticent about attributing their political affiliation - a sure sign they
were MDC supporters. SWRA pointed out that the police were
complicit in some of the incidents of violence by their refusal to
investigate and/or arrest the perpetrators.
The private Press too, continued to provide some idea of the
nationwide extent of the violent post-election retribution campaign
being conducted against those who were suspected to have voted
for the opposition MDC or who supported that party. The private
press published 31 stories of politically motivated violence in which
29 incidents were reported, one of which was the murder of an
MDC polling agent, Donald Jeranyama, in Ruda, Honde Valley,
allegedly by members of the army and police force. This was the
only death reported by the print media in the week. However, The
Zimbabwe Independent (28/3) and The Financial Gazette added to
The Daily News reports of extensive violence nation-wide with their
own reports; 42 People Killed Since January and ZANU PF
reprisals displace 18000 MDC supporters (The Independent), and
Violence Rises as Witch-Hunt for MDC Supporters is Intensified
(The Financial Gazette). News too, began to emerge of a new wave
of violence and intimidation on commercial farms.
In contrast, the public press carried nine stories and recorded 11
incidents of political violence. It is notable however, that most of
these were follow-ups or on-going court cases of crimes committed
before the election. The public media is ignoring most post-election
The private press named ZANU PF, war veterans or state security
agents as the main perpetrators of the violence. They relied on the
victims of political violence themselves, members of the MDC and
civic organisations as their primary source of information.


The Daily News editor-in-chief, Geoff Nyarota, and the local
correspondent for the British Daily Telegraph newspaper, Peta
Thornycroft, were the latest victims of a post-election government
blitz on journalists using new draconian laws fashioned to stifle
First to be threatened with legal action under the notorious Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) was Nyarota.
The Daily News (27/3) and The Herald of the same day published
stories on Minister Moyo threatening to invoke section 80 (1)(a)(b)
of AIPPA to deal with Nyarota for allegedly a falsehood, namely
that the joint African Caribbean Pacific-European Union
Parliamentary Assembly had called for a re-run of the presidential
election at its meeting in Cape Town.
Although there did seem to have been some procedural flaws
during the voting at the meeting, there was no evidence, according
to both The Daily News and The Herald that any group had
subsequently failed to pass a resolution acknowledging the need to
have a fresh election in the country.
Thornycroft was reported by both The Daily News and The Herald
(29/3) to have been charged for publishing "false information" under
the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) after she was arrested
while investigating reports of a campaign of retribution against
members of the MDC in Chimanimani. While both papers alleged
that Thornycroft had been charged and released, MMPZ notes that
neither had happened and that she remained in custody until
Sunday evening.
In fact, while government used repressive legislation to curb
journalistic freedom, the public press was bolstering such
persecution through propagandist material denigrating the
operations of the private press (The Sunday Mail 31/3).
The paper also liberally awarded acres of spaces to New African
editor, Baffour Ankomah, to expound on the role of African
journalists, which included a defence of AIPPA "because even
Britain has stringent laws which govern the operations of the
media". But both stories fail to analyze how the public press has
been reporting news

The week also saw all of ZBC's stations reporting government
efforts to undermine the credibility of the private media for the
manner in which they covered the election. Describing the private
press as "anti-government" newspapers, Radio Zimbabwe
(25/03, 1pm) quoted unnamed analysts who said if the papers "did
not report negatively on Zimbabwe they would have nothing
to report on".
ZTV chief correspondent Rueben Barwe (8pm) also presented a
report on the role of the media in nation-building since
independence. However, the report was a blatantly biased criticism
of the private media, which he said was "predictable" because of
"Mugabe bashing". He went on to cite headlines, especially in
The Financial Gazette and The Daily News as examples of the
papers' unpatriotic stance. By contrast, he described The Herald
as having been "very consistent in its defence of the
sovereignty of this country, its history, struggles and
aspirations". Rather than discredit the private press Barwe's story
demonstrated the blatant partiality of the public broadcaster in
favour of government.
ZTV (25/03, 7am and 8pm), Radio Zimbabwe (28/03, 8pm) and
3FM (28/03, 1pm) also quoted ZANU PF apologist Baffour
Ankomah, in an attempt to justify the draconian Access to
Information Act. Ankomah argued that there was nothing wrong in
The Herald parroting the government line because that is what the
BBC does. In his superfluous analysis of the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act he was also quoted as saying that
apart from the clause on accreditation of journalists "I can't see
anything wrong with it..."
ZBC television and all radio stations (26/03, 8pm also used the
findings of the so-called Media Ethics Committee led by Dr
Tafataona Mahoso to discredit the private press albeit indirectly.
The findings of the committee did not really have much to do with
media ethics. It's findings were that ". the media should build
upon the experience of liberation movements who used all
available media to win their liberation struggle, . that the
media in the country has not been successful in inculcating
and sustaining a strong sense of history and patriotism .and
that white-owned and white-sponsored media remains anti-
African, anti-government and euro-centric." Whatever that
meant it did not seem to have anything to do with media ethics, but
was more related to reinforcing ZANU PF's view of the private press
as "liars" (Mr. Mugabe) and unpatriotic.


I WONDERED IF YOU WERE AWARE of this media watch
internet site This is their comment on
Nick Cohen of the Observer and indeed Mainstream journalism in

"... the rule for mainstream journalism. Serious debate is not
welcome in the mainstream; dissent is
treated with derision and contempt, or ignored. There is no sense
that ideas are to be proposed and challenged, debated and
discussed - we the public are supposed simply to listen to your
wise words and shut up. To dare to do anything else is deemed
outrageous by journalists who seem to view themselves as
celebrities to be feted, rather than public servants doing a job that
+demands+ vigorous challenge if it is to be done well."
I can't imagine what their view would be about our own media
coverage- either 'independent' or 'public'. Keep up the good work

reveal the real statistics of the media coverage of the elections,
which was very biased in favour of the ruling party. ZBC acted
unprofessionally and it only take a blind and deaf man to believe
all those lies they wanted us to believe. The reporters are not even
ashamed of saying such nonsense after ZANU PF has made such
a merce in our country. I wish all Zimbabweans and the whole world
could have a glance on the report you inserted and I kindly ask if
you could also insert it in the other papers apart from the Mirror
from where I saw it. Zimbabwe must be a free state and I wonder if
the people like Judith Makwanya and Ruben Barwe really believe a
true democracy because I am even ashamed to call them ZBC
reporters. They are ZANU PF reporters and hence they should rent
or pay for every flighting of their reports.
Once again, thank you guys.

THANK YOU VERY much for the updates. They are quite helpful
and l am looking forward to receiving more.
Nare, L (Miss)
Media and Communications Student, University of Zimbabwe

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U.S. Warns Its Citizens Not to Travel to Zimbabwe


Xinhuanet 2002-04-04 16:09:35

   HARARE, April 4 (Xinhuanet) -- The United States is urging its
citizens not to travel to Zimbabwe until what they perceive as
violence abates, according to local newspaper the Herald on
   Spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Harare Bruce Wharton
confirmed that the U.S. State Department had issued the notice
because "there has been retaliatory violence in the wake of the
Zimbabwe African National Union -- Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF)
   But he did not explain how the American citizens, if any, had
been affected by the so-called violence.
   "We are a responsible country and we are being prudent in
forewarning our citizens. These warnings come on a regular basis
and the latest one was reviewed from January 1 to March 31. We are
thinking about the safety of our people," Wharton said.
   The United Sates has imposed travel restrictions on President
Robert Mugabe and members of his government.
   Individuals deemed to benefit from ZANU-PF have also been
included on the list of restricted persons.
   The Zimbabwean government has denounced the U.S. sanctions,
saying the "alleged widening of a United States sanctions list
targeting individual black Zimbabweans is a gross violation of
human rights and smacks of disgusting racism unworthy of a country
that wants to be seen as the only remaining superpower in the post-
cold war."  Enditem
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Zim named in US trade barrier report

Staff Reporter
4/4/02 1:25:05 AM (GMT +2)

ZIMBABWE is one of 52 countries named by the United States government this
week for maintaining trade barriers against American exports.

The southern African country is cited in the 2002 National Trade Estimate
Report on Foreign Trade Barriers released by the United States Trade
Representative on Tuesday, together with 51 other countries as well as the
Arab League and the European Union.

Barriers mentioned by the report include import policies, service and
investment barriers as well as the slow pace of privatisation and the
Zimbabwean government’s land reforms under which commercial farms have been
invaded by ruling ZANU PF supporters or seized by the state.

"Zimbabwe is currently engaged in an aggressive, chaotic land occupation and
resettlement programme that has economic consequences that are yet to be
fully understood," the report said.

"For example, for the first time since the 1991/1992 drought, the country is
experiencing shortages of maize, at least partly due to the land invasions,
and the prospects for the next growing season are dire for both food crops
and export crops."

Lack of transparency in the implementation of the land reforms has
discouraged donor assistance for the programme, the report noted, adding
that Zimbabwe’s political crisis was the country’s major investment barrier.

The report noted political violence and intimidation perpetrated by ZANU PF
supporters against the opposition in the period before last month’s
presidential election and which led to the poll being branded a fraud and

"Until the political crisis is resolved and the economy starts to recover,
foreign direct investment likely will continue to decline."

Zimbabwe was the United States’ 147th largest export market in 2001, with US
exports to Zimbabwe falling 41 percent to US$31 million ($1.7 billion) and
imports decreasing 19 percent to US$91 million ($5 billion).

"The political crisis surrounding the 2002 presidential election in
Zimbabwe, combined with a sharp economic decline, has severely impacted
investment and trade," the report said.

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NGOs seek help as political refugees swell to 50 000

By Nqobile Nyathi Assistant Editor
4/4/02 1:20:52 AM (GMT +2)

ZIMBABWEAN non-governmental organi-sations (NGOs) have approached
international humanitarian agencies for help in dealing with more than 50
000 internal refugees displaced by worsening political violence, but
analysts yesterday said comprehensive aid might not materialise unless the
government acknowledges the growing refugee problem.

Andrew Nongogo, spokesman for Crisis in Zimbabwe, a coalition of civil
society groups, said his organisation was not ready to divulge the names of
the international agencies involved because the negotiations were only just

An official at a Harare-based NGO, who attended discussions held yesterday
with one of the agencies, said there were also fears that negotiations might
be sabotaged by the government, whose supporters are blamed for the violence
that has displaced a large number of people from their homes.

"We are in negotiations and we will also write to the UNHCR (United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees) and the UN," Nongogo told the Financial

"This is an effort by a conglomerate of coalitions. There is an agreement by
the major coalitions that something needs to be done and we are having a
coordinated effort so that we don’t have little groups making separate

Solutions suggested to international agencies include the establishment of a
tented "city" in Harare, where most displaced people have fled to, and the
provision of food and other necessities.

NGOs yesterday made submissions detailing the extent of the internal refugee
problem and the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis brewing in Zimbabwe,
where over 70 000 were estimated to have fled their homes between January
2001 and February 2002 because of violence blamed on ruling ZANU PF

The number of internal refugees has swelled in the aftermath of last month’s
disputed presidential poll, which has been followed by a campaign of
retribution by ZANU PF militia against members and perceived supporters of
the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"There have been massive numbers of displaced people in the wake of the
election," Amani Trust, an NGO assisting victims of political violence, said
in a report detailing violence during last month’s presidential election.

"Some estimates place the number at between 10 000 and 30 000 people
nationwide — people who have fled from rural areas of persecution to the
cities, mainly Harare. Those on the run are those accused of having voted
from the MDC."

Nongogo, who said the numbers of internal refugees were increasing daily,
put the figure at over 50 000. But the Commercial Farmers’ Union says at
least 53 000 farm workers have been displaced in Mashonaland West alone,
which analysts say indicates that current statistics are underestimates.

"The extent of the problem is huge," an official at a Harare-based aid
agency said. "But there’s not much the international community can do
without a mandate from the government. Only then can the kind of assistance
needed be put in place."

The analysts said the government would first have to acknowledge that
Zimbabwe faced an escalating internal refugee problem before international
agencies could come forward with comprehensive assistance packages.

The government does not acknowledge the widespread violence forcing people
from their homes, dismissing it as a ploy for international sympathy by the
MDC after losing the presidential election.

"For any of these (international) organisations to play a part, they are
going to have to approach the government and, with the government saying
there is no problem, they can’t move," Nongogo said.

"We will have to figure out a way we can pressure the government to
acknowledge that there is a problem."

NGO officials said they would otherwise have to continue trying to cope with
a problem that is already straining their resources and which has been
worsened by food shortages and the spectre of mass starvation.

In an update on poll-related violence, Amani Trust said there had already
been unconfirmed reports of two deaths from starvation in Tsholotsho in

"We as NGOs are going to have to look at funding and come up with
programmes, but it’s extremely difficult to manage that number of people,"
an NGO official said.

"A refugee is a very psychologically disturbed person who has enormous
needs. The size of the problem is beyond the scope of most local
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Civic chiefs wine and dine as members protest

Staff Reporter
4/4/02 1:20:02 AM (GMT +2)

SEVERAL of Zimbabwe’s civic leaders will be holding a post-election bash in
the resort town of Kariba while thousands of Zimbabweans take part in a
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) mass protest against the government’s
alleged rigging of last month’s presidential election.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), an affiliate of the NCA, has
organised an evaluation workshop in Kariba from today that is likely to
clash with a planned mass protest in the streets of Harare on Saturday.

The Kariba meeting ends on Saturday and participants are only expected back
in Harare on Sunday, well after the NCA protest march.

Sources in the civic society this week urged the ZESN to postpone the Kariba
meeting to participate in the mass march because its absence could give an
impression that there was friction between the two organisations.

Other sources said the voluntary electoral supervisory body’s plans to go to
the resort town during the march would create suspicions that it did not
attach much importance to the street protests planned to address the same
issues that might come up in Kariba.

ZESN chairman Reginald Matchaba-Hove however said his director Rindai
Chipfunde had assured him that there had been wide consultation with
affiliates before the dates for the Kariba workshop were agreed.

"I only read about the NCA march in the papers. In any case, this (Kariba)
meeting should have taken place at the end of March," said Matchaba Hove.

"I’m told there was also a lot of pressure from the donors for the meeting
to be held at a particular time, with the money for the meeting being spent
by a particular time," he said, adding that there was no bad blood between
the ZESN and the NCA.

The NCA march was announced two weeks ago while sources in the ZESN say they
received communication of the Kariba meeting on March 22, days after the NCA
march had been planned.

The ZESN has more than 30 civic group affiliates, some of which are also
members of the NCA while the NCA has 61 groups and 65 000 individual

NCA head Lovemore Madhuku said the weekend march is going ahead and that he
expected a very large turnout.

"Even though the police have already started announcing through the radio
that marches are banned, we will go ahead," he said.

"Under the Public Order and Security Act, all we need to do is inform them
of our intention to march but we don’t need permission because that’s
unconstitutional," added Madhuku, a constitutional law expert.

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Fear of purge grips govt corridors

Staff Reporter
4/4/02 1:19:28 AM (GMT +2)

FEAR has gripped Zimbabwe’s public service after reports that the governing
ZANU PF party has launched a witch-hunt to flush out civil servants
suspected of supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

President Robert Mugabe has warned that he intends to purge government ranks
of suspected supporters of Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader whom he
defeated in a close election last month which most Zimbabwean and
international observers say was rigged.

Mugabe told dignitaries at his swearing-in ceremony at State House last
month that he would rid his new administration of lazy civil servants and
those perceived to be opposed to ZANU PF’s policies.

Some senior civil servants told the Financial Gazette this week that they
suspected ZANU PF had already launched a witch-hunt in key ministries such
as Foreign Affairs, Defence, Home Affairs and Economic Development to
identify and punish those suspected of having supported Tsvangirai or are
thought to be sympathetic to the MDC.

One middle-level official said those targeted were expected to be thrown out
soon as part of wide-ranging efforts to trim the bloated civil service and
cut runaway government spending.

Many civil servants were so scared of the impending purge that they had
cancelled annual leave applications to stay at their desks to defend
themselves should they be accused of failing to support government policy,
official sources said.

The sources said among those targeted for the chop are many middle-ranking
police officers, diplomats that were seen to waver during the election and
planning officers who might have in the past voiced concern about some of
the government’s policies.

Analysts say Mugabe’s threat to fire MDC supporters from the government
flies in the face of his supposedly reconciliatory speech made after his
controversial win when he invited the opposition to talks to revive the
economy and end the current political crisis.

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Church must back prayer with political action

by Hayes Mabweazara
4/4/02 1:36:11 AM (GMT +2)

THAT Zimbabwe is writhing in agony, given the volatile political situation
in the country today, is indisputable.

No doubt the outcome of the presidential election has left many Zimbabweans
shocked, and it is foreseeable that the socio-political turmoil that
characterised the pre-election period will worsen in the months to come.

It is against such a background that the clergy should play a pivotal role
in restoring order in the country.

Ministers of religion should not just sit and pretend as if all is well when
Zimbabwe is degenerating into a shambles. The quiet diplomacy traditionally
associated with the clergy is not only obsolete but can also be destructive
in the modern age.

No one on this earth can claim to be apolitical; we all live politics.
Church ministers are no excerption; they preach and associate with a
congregation whose involvement in the politics of the day is direct and
visible to anyone. Ironically, some of the people responsible for the
suffering of Zimbabweans are born-again Christians.

It is no use for church ministers to sit and watch while God’s people bleed
to death in this severely economically and politically wounded country.

Of note is the fact that civic organisations in Zimbabwe have been silenced
and hardly have any voice on key issues affecting the nation. If priests and
pastors are "chosen" religious leaders who speak to God on behalf of his
people, then it is only logical that their voice should be well above that
of the common people.

The position that has been held by the Roman Catholic Church since time
immemorial is worth emulating. Yes, churches have different philosophies and
doctrinal stances, but there is a common denominator which is well
acknowledged even by hard-core atheists — respect for human life.

The criticisms levelled against Archbishop Pius Ncube of the Roman Catholic
Church by the state media because of his pastoral activities is telling.
Even some "highly regarded" statesman has openly called him names. This is
because he stands for the truth that is inclined to the will of God.

At a national pastors’ conference held in Gweru in mid-February, Ncube made
a statement that I feel should inspire church leaders. He unwaveringly said:
" I am not living on an ivory tower — I get first-hand experience of the
difficulties in Zimbabwe. Pastors ought to encourage people in this
depressed society. Pastors are sent by God to defend people."

Ncube made reference to the Old Testament prophets who rebuked kings when
they went wrong. King Saul was rebuked by Samuel, King Jeroboam was
condemned for abusing his power by the prophet Nathan — the list is long.

The point is that no man born of a woman is infallible; we all stand to be
corrected when we go wrong.

The church cannot merely be a gathering for prayer; it should be a church of
action and the clergy should play a pro-active role which is not aligned to
violence and general suffering of the populace.

Assuming a neutral stance as advised at the national pastors’ conference
does not entail indifference to the key issues affecting people.
Unfortunately this is a stance that has been adopted by most church

" Stern-faced ministers stand on pulpits every Sunday to heap loads of blame
on people for their thieving, house-breaking, stabbing, murdering, adultery,
etc. No one attempts to relate all these vices to poverty, unemployment,
over-crowding and, above all, the draconian leadership that is ‘blind’ to
the suffering of the common man." (Steve Biko: 1971).

It is necessary for ministers of religion to analyse situations a little bit
deeper than the surface suggests.

Against the background of a silenced civic society, it is imperative for men
of God to speak out. There is absolutely nothing wrong in telling the truth
for what it is. There is nothing wrong in advising a fellow countryman to
have respect for human life.

Perpetrators of any form of violence need to be assisted, to be reminded of
the key commandment that says " love your neighbour as you love yourself".

A language which does not show respect for humanity does not acknowledge God
and is not expected of anyone. Men of God must not allow the devil to take
centre stage in the hearts of our leaders. Unless church leaders assume a
firm role with regards to the "bread-and-butter issues of the day", the
future is too bleak to contemplate.

Ministers of religion who choose to be indifferent assist in perpetuating
the current crisis in Zimbabwe by omitting to condemn evil. One is shocked
by the appalling irrelevance of interpretation given to scriptures. This,
undoubtedly, is the worst sin of some church ministers.

The church should be more concerned than anyone else about the current
problems bedevilling Zimbabwe. This is so not only because most churchgoers
are politically active in one sense or another, but also because they are
the silent victims of the hostile socio-political situation in the country.

Time has come for churches to move away from quiet diplomacy. "Prayer alone"
is a futile undertaking; it is time that practical action should accompany
the word.

It is disturbing to note that there are some members of the clergy who
underestimate the dignity and responsibility associated with their office to
the extent that they allow themselves to be waylaid by the "system".

In a country teeming with injustice and with a leadership fanatically
committed to the practice of oppression, intolerance and blatant cruelty,
church ministers surely cannot be expected to have the guts to support the

Some church ministers severely condemn activism associated with the struggle
for the good of humanity as unholy and secular and therefore mis-placed in
Christian faith. Under such influences, church members develop into virtual
neurotics and abuse of power by the leadership becomes to them a temporal
phase that will culminate in their joy in heaven. Hoping for a better future
in heaven surely does not entail being passive, subservient and excessively
meek in the face of evil.

Pastoral challenges in Zimbabwe today are quite immense — well beyond the
beliefs of most church leaders. It is high time that ministers of religion
broke out of the cocoon of indifference engulfing the pastoral domain. Fear,
which breeds a culture of silence" and has turned the church into "a turn
the other cheek" institution, should be discarded.

Through divine intervention and our own practical efforts, Zimbabwe can make
a difference. It has to be borne in mind, however, as was suggested by Biko,
that "God is not in the habit of coming down from heaven to solve people’s
problems on earth".

Hayes Mabwe-azara is an independent Zimbabwean political commentator based
in Harare.

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