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

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From Mmegi (Botswana), 6 April

Zim criminals give police tough time

Ryder Gabathuse, Staff Writer

Francistown - The Botswana police are concerned about the continued involvement of Zimbabweans in criminal activities. Detective Superintendent Aldrin Ntshitang of Central Police in Francistown told Mmegi yesterday that there was no doubt that criminals emanating from neighbouring Zimbabwe were giving them a tough time. "We have had several cases of break-ins which are still pending before us and we have reason to believe that they involve Zimbabweans," said Ntshitang. He was however, elated that the Zimbabwe Republic Police were assisting the Botswana police. "We have had several cases in which our Zimbabwean counterparts have made recovery of goods in Zimbabwe that were stolen from this country and in turn we have led complainants across the border to identify stolen goods," he explained. Ntshitang told Mmegi that the latest case of office break-in and theft, which involved about four Zimbabweans, is a case in point. He said a local firm had on Monday this week reported a case of office break-in and theft in which goods valued at about P14,000 were stolen. The goods include a personal computer, a fax machine and a folder bag. The thugs are alleged to have gained entry into the building by forcing open the sliding door of the office of Supplies Lubricant in the Light Industrial Site.

As lady luck would have it, police mobile patrol nabbed two Zimbabweans along the Francistown-Matsiloje road and on searching the motor vehicle they were using, the items reported to have been stolen were found in their possession. "We arrested two Zimbabwean men after two of them escaped police arrest," said Ntshitang. The ages of the arrested suspects range between 23 and 24. The suspects have valid Zimbabwean passports and according to the police, they are regular visitors to the country as indicated by the immigration stamps on their passports. "We suspect that these men are regular criminals who have continuously evaded police arrest. We are lucky to have caught up with them, as our patrol team found them still arguing over something." Ntshitang indicated that it is normally hard to arrest Zimbabweans. The police stated that the duo who were arrested claimed they were not responsible for the theft of the stolen goods but that they were only transporting them. "The suspects are still in police custody pending further investigations. We have reasons to link these men to the office break-in case reported on Monday this week." Alternatively, the duo is likely to face a charge of possession of suspected stolen property if we fail to connect them to the case."

Ntshitang stressed that the police are in most cases able to recover goods stolen from properties broken into. "Where goods have immediately found their way across the border into neighbouring Zimbabwe, it isn’t always easy to recover them. For goods stolen and held locally, we always get a lead on their whereabouts." Ntshitang indicated that criminals from Zimbabwe are treated just like other criminals. "There is no special treatment reserved for Zimbabwean criminals and for the local ones. Our responsibility is to investigate and establish the truth about a given crime and we deal with each case based on its merit," Ntshitang declared. The Zimbabwean government owned Chronicle newspaper, recently called on their government and its Parliament to take action against Botswana for ill-treating Zimbabweans.

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From Business Day (SA), 6 April

Zimbabwe building society allowed to reopen

Harare Correspondent

Financial institution Intermarket Building Society, shut down during Zimbabwe's anticorruption crackdown over the past month, will reopen today for savings and mortgage business only, the central bank said. The Zimbabwe Reserve Bank, which closed three banks and a number of other financial services companies, said it would allow the building society to reopen in line with recommendations from curator Ngoni Kudenga. The central bank said Intermarket Building Society would have to stick to its core activities after reopening. The institutions that were shut down were accused of, among other things, straying into irregular speculative activities. This was said to have been partly responsible for the problems besetting the banking sector. Banks were accused of taking depositors' funds and investing them in the stock and property markets with disastrous consequences for their liquidity positions. The central bank said although Intermarket Building Society would reopen, money market deposits in the form of instruments such as negotiable certificates of deposits and savings certificates of deposits remained frozen until further notice. The building society was recently closed, together with Intermarket Discount House and Intermarket Banking Corporation, which are part of one of the largest locally owned companies, Intermarket Holdings. The founder and largest shareholder of Intermarket Holdings, Nicholas Vingirai, has reportedly fled Zimbabwe to avoid arrest for exporting foreign currency and unethical business practices.

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From The Herald, 7 April

Fugitive Zanu PF directors sell assets

Herald Reporter

The three fugitive directors of Zanu-PF companies who fled to Britain last week have started selling their properties and assets in Zimbabwe, it has been learnt. The two Josh brothers - Jayant and Manharlal Chunibal - and Dipak Pandya left Harare hurriedly after the Zanu PF Politburo set up a committee to probe companies that are linked to or owned by the ruling party. The companies being probed include Zidco Holdings, M&S Syndicate, First Banking Corporation, Treger Holdings, Ottawa, Catercraft and Zidlee Enterprises. Well-placed sources said the three fugitive directors, who all hold British passports, had reportedly started selling their properties and assets in Zimbabwe in what observers say is the first sign that they do not intend to come back and were running away from what they feared to be the consequence of the law arising from the ongoing investigations. Business sources said that the trio had over the years accumulated numerous properties across the country, including mansions and office buildings, and held shares in a number of listed and non-listed companies, including those owned by or with links to Zanu PF. There were also reports that they had made attempts to withdraw large sums of money from various accounts that they controlled. Sources close to the probe said that there was prima facie evidence of misappropriation of funds from companies owned by or with links to Zanu PF by the trio. The investigating committee that was appointed by the Zanu PF Politburo on Wednesday last week is being led by the party’s secretary for finance, Cde David Karimanzira, who is also the Resident Minister and Governor for Mashonaland East, and includes retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru, former Minister of Finance and Economic Development Dr Simba Makoni, Matabeleland North Governor Cde Obert Mpofu and the party’s deputy secretary for transport and welfare, Cde Thoko Mathuthu. The investigations, which started last week, were looking into the companies’ financial operations, directorships and shareholding structures, business performance and benefits to the party and its membership over the last five years.

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From The Helen Suzman Foundation (SA), September 2000

Inside Zimbabwe Inc

You cannot appreciate why Mugabe and his henchmen are clinging so
tenaciously to power until you know how much they have to lose

Although corruption within the Zimbabwean government is notorious,
journalists have persistently failed to find proof of corruption in the case
of President Robert Mugabe himself. The only time that anything really juicy
emerged was during the US Senate hearings into the collapse of the Abu
Dhabi-based Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) in 1992.
According to the published testimony of BCCI officials the bank had secured
preferential banking rights in Zimbabwe by bribing Mugabe and Vice-President
Joshua Nkomo in 1980-81. One official, Nazir Chinoy, described how the
bank's emissary, Aluauddin Sheikh, "carried a bag with him . . . he went off
to see President Mugabe and when they talked they wanted me out of the
room". Chinoy and other officials said the bag had been full of cash and
that Sheikh left it with Mugabe. Another official, Akbar Bilgrami, testified
that "We paid Mugabe and Nkomo. I was at the Park Lane branch [in London].
BCCI was approached to look after the expenses of the delegates [at the
Lancaster gate talks on Zimbabwean independence], which were paid. In
addition, we paid £500,000 pounds from the Park Lane branch. Someone from Mr
Naqvi's office came to Park Lane and picked up the money. I don't think that
Ian Smith was getting paid by us." BCCI did indeed acquire special banking
rights in Zimbabwe that it retained until the bank's collapse.

To understand how politics and money work in Zimbabwe one has to begin with
the fact that Zanu PF is more than just a political party. It owns two
companies, the M & S Syndicate, set up even before independence in 1980, and
Zidco Holdings (of which M & S holds 55 per cent of the shares), set up
straight afterwards. Through these two companies the party has a vast range
of interests, including Treger Holdings, producers of building materials,
hardware etc; Ottawa, a property management company; Catercraft, which runs
the catering at Harare airport and also supplies all domestic and
international flights out of Harare; and Zidlee Enterprises, which controls
the duty free shops at Beit Bridge, Harare City and Harare Airport, also
supplying diplomats with a range of goods. Zidlee is believed to be
particularly useful to Zanu PF high-ups who want to move foreign exchange in
or out of the country. In effect Zidco allowed the party to take a share in
a whole range of enterprises set up in Zimbabwe. This also allowed key
members of the political elite access to its profits, though how much goes
to whom is not a public fact. Attempts at Zanu PF congresses to get the
party's treasurer, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to divulge the accounts of Zidco and
M & S have always failed; though he did reveal in 1992 that Zanu PF's assets
were then worth Z$486 million.

The key to Zidco is the Joshi family. The Joshis are part of the Asian
diaspora scattered across east and southern Africa, a community that, thanks
to the chronic insecurity it has had to face in recent years, now frequently
has a footing in Britain too. The Joshis, a family of Malawian Asians with a
house in Romford, Essex, have played a key role under the Mugabe regime.
Jayan Joshi, who was based in Britain in the 1970s, extended considerable
assistance to Zanu activists sent on scholarships to Britain from the
guerrilla camps in Mozambique. After independence Mugabe invited Jayan and
his brother Manoo to run Zidco. Through their offices Rambhai Patel, a
Kenyan Asian who now lives near Chislehurst in Kent, put up the equity
capital for Zidco, of which he still owns 45 per cent. Patel, now in his
80s, is a legend in the Asian community, having greatly increased the
fortune his merchant father left him. He is famous not just for his wealth
and business acumen but as an eminence grise. He is the owner of Unicorn
Export-Import, based in London, which owns his share of Zidco. In 1984 he
visited Zimbabwe and cemented his relationship with Mugabe by making a
$50,000 contribution to Zanu-PF funds. The Joshis retain strong personal
links to the Mugabes - Jayan's daughter Heena, for example, is a close
friend of the president's wife, Grace, and sits on the board of Grace's pet
charity, the Children's Rehabilitation Trust. Having played a key part in
the contract for the new Harare international airport Heena now has a
leading role in Oryx Diamonds.

Zidco's directors are the two Joshi brothers, and Emmerson Mnangagwa and
Sidney Sekeramayi - the two men who have controlled the Central Intelligence
Organisation ever since independence. Both are extremely close to Mugabe.
The president has tried to push Mnangagwa forward as his possible successor
but the former minister of justice is too unpopular for that to succeed.
Despite his defeat in the June election, Mugabe has made Mnangagwa speaker
of parliament with a brief to keep the Movement for Democratic Change under
control. Sekeremayi, clung on to his seat in the June election by just 63
votes, a result which the MDC is challenging in the courts. Mugabe has
abolished his ministry of security abolished and moved him into the
presidential office instead, thus increasing the president's personal
control over the CIO. Thus Mnangagwa and Sekeramayi not only know, both
literally and figuratively, where all the political bodies are buried but
are also privy to all the party's financial secrets - which they control.
Mnangagwa was chairman of M & S for many years and a director of Woolworth
Trading until the end of 1990. He is also a director of Oporto Investments,
Galant Distribution, Galhold Investments, Treasure Holdings and National
Blankets. Mnangagwa is also chairman of Fibrolite, a joint venture with a
Portuguese businessman, Armando Godinko. Fibrolite exports over US$1 million
of asbestos a year. The interaction between Mnangagwa's political, financial
and intelligence roles - CIO operatives still call him "the son of God"
because of his close ties to Mugabe - was revealed in 1995. Godinko's son,
Luis, the owner of the Mirage nightclub, was arrested for the abduction and
rape of a 17-year-old girl. When the immigration authorities sought to
cancel Luis's residence permit Mnangagwa got the CIO to swear that Luis was
one of their key operatives and a vital source of information, so that the
charges were dropped in the national interest. The principal immigration
officer, Elias Mbedze, did not have such a high opinion of Luis, calling him
"a dangerous guy" and "a graduate in crime" - Luis was at the time appealing
against a conviction for bribing a police officer.

Mnangagwa has also played a key role in the expansion of Zanu PF's financial
interests into the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In May 1999 he admitted
that he had introduced a Chinese arms company, two transport companies, a
banking group and a power company to Laurent Kabila and that they had all
established businesses there. One of Zidco's subsidiaries, the First Bank
Corporation, then set up in Kinshasa. In addition two other business
associates of Mnangagwa went into business ferrying arms and supplies
between Zimbabwe and the DRC, Billy Rautenbach's Wheels of Africa company
and the head of the Zimbabwean army, General Vitalis Zvinavashe, with his
company, Zvinavashe Transport. Mnangagwa then helped to broker an arms deal
for Kabila of 21,000 AK-47s and US$53 million of heavy arms, all from China.
Mnangagwa also works closely with John Bredenkamp, who boasts of being the
biggest single supplier of arms to the Congo. In late 1998 Zimbabwean forces
in the DRC suffered heavy casualties and lost several helicopter gunships.
Mugabe sent Mnangagwa and Sekeramayi to the DRC to assess the situation -
thus provoking the near resignation of the defence minister, Moven Mahachi,
who found that they actually had far greater control over the army than he
did. For the army top brass report directly to Mnangagwa, who is so heavily
involved that he actually sustained a hand wound at the war front. Mugabe
has instructed him to oversee his Congo military operations, giving him
unparalleled military clout - which he has used to help Billy Rautenbach
gain a long list of mining concessions in the Congo.

The press reported that Rautenbach has rewarded various Congolese and
Zimbabwean politicians with large ex gratia payments for favours received,
though this did not prevent the DRC's minister of mines from cancelling all
deals with him in March 1999 and effectively throwing him out of the DRC. No
such accidents happen to Mnangagwa. When Roger Boka's United Merchant Bank
went bust in 1998, it was found to have lent Mnangagwa large sums. Despite
that he seems to have some difficulty in paying his rates: in June 1999
Harare city council revealed that Mnangagwa was Z$410,231 in arrears on his
rate payments. Zimbabwe's involvement in the DRC goes back much further than
the current war. When Zimbabwean troops were pulled out of Mozambique in
1988, South African businessmen - to Harare's fury - were quick to scoop up
the most lucrative deals there in the wake of the civil war. Mugabe vowed
this would not happen twice. In 1996 Mugabe gave Kabila US$5 million to
finance his rebellion against Mobutu. Just before Kinshasa fell to Kabila,
Zimbabwe Defence Industries (owned by the government) concluded a US$53m
deal to supply Kabila with everything from food to uniforms and mortar
bombs. ZDI was then used to spearhead Zimbabwe's economic penetration of the
DRC. The company is extremely secretive but in 1993, the last year when it
gave out such information, its directors included Zvinavashe and another
Mugabe intimate, Perence Shiri, the former head of the terrifying 5 Brigade.

Gradually the efforts of Shiri, Zvinavashe and Mnangagwa have led to the
network of Zimbabwe's military interests in the DRC. Zvinavashe and his
brother are also directors of Osleg (Operation Sovereign legitimacy) which,
following the Chinese model, is seen as the economic wing of the Zimbabwean
armed forces. Osleg wanted, above all, to get its hands on the mining
concessions that Kabila had promised. The first such venture was with
Comiex-Congo, producing a new joint company, Cosleg. There followed a joint
venture with the Omani-owned Oryx Natural Resources to form Oryx-Zimcon. In
January 2000 Oryx Natural Resources bought Petra diamonds and rechristened
it Oryx Diamonds - in which Zidco holds 237,000 shares. Despite the rows
which have enveloped Oryx Diamonds since - its flotation on the London stock
exchange was blocked and its director, Moses Anafu, forced to resign from
the Commonwealth Observer Group sent to monitor Zimbabwe's election in
June - all these interests are intact. All the indications are that
Zimbabwe's political and military elites continue to draw large profits from
their incursion into the DRC. It is just as well for Zidco has fallen on
evil days within Zimbabwe - as any enterprise must given the parlous state
of the economy. Jayan Joshi now spends much of his days playing solitaire on
his computer for, thanks to the disastrous policies of his long-time
associate, Robert Mugabe, there is precious little else for him to do.

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Parents Protest Against Hike in Fees

The Herald (Harare)

April 7, 2004
Posted to the web April 7, 2004


SCORES of irate parents walked out of a parents-teachers association meeting
at Chishawasha Mission School on Sunday afternoon and threatened to withdraw
their children if the school goes ahead and effects a 360 percent boarding
fees increase next term.

The school authorities were proposing to increase the boarding fees from
$414 000 to $1,5 million a term.

But the parents walked out of the meeting, saying the increase was
unjustified because of deteriorating standards at the Catholic Church-run

Catholic Church administrator Fr Kizito Mhembere could not comment on the
issue yesterday, saying he had not yet been briefed about the issue to make
an informed comment.

He, however, referred The Herald to a Fr Lukio who he said was responsible
for the church's education affairs. But Fr Lukio said he too was not yet
clear as to what exactly took place at the school although the matter was
being investigated.

The Chishawasha protest over increases in boarding fees comes in the wake of
protests by parents with children at Eaglesvale in Harare, Peterhouse
College in Marondera and Barwick School in Concession.

At least 33 headmasters of private schools have been arrested and charged
with increasing levies without the approval of the Ministry of Education,
Sport and Culture.

"How can someone even think of increasing fees when standards here are so
miserable," complained a parent who was taking home her child who had lost
half the uniform items she bought for him at the beginning of the first term
at Chishawasha School.

"How is it possible that every kid here seems to have lost something without
trace. If you ask those who have been responsible for the welfare of the
kids they casually tell you to try and find the items on your own, somewhere
in the school yard," she fumed.

It was a hive of activity at the school on Sunday as parents criss-crossed
the school premises looking for lost uniform items with very little success.

Some parents were horrified to find a number of their children's clothing
items developing moulds in a heap in one corner of the school dormitory.

The Herald understands that one of the two laundry machines at the school is
functioning after the other one developed a mechanical problem a few months
ago, a situation which has resulted in pupils having to do their laundry.

Disgruntled parents said they have endured years of fee increases with no
corresponding improvement in standards and attempts to push for redress have
proved fruitless.

During the meeting school authorities painstakingly tried to calm down
tempers while attempting to justify the latest increase, saying it would
enable them to employ more staff to look after children.

But parents argued that there was no point in increasing the staff
complement when those already employed were doing virtually nothing.

The school employs about 20 workers to look after about 500 children.

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Minister to Meet Zimbabwe Mining Federation Factions

The Herald (Harare)

April 7, 2004
Posted to the web April 7, 2004


MINES and Mining Development Minister, Ambassador Amos Midzi is soon
expected to meet members of the Zimbabwe Mining Federation, which has been
rocked by a serious power struggle.

The meeting, which is expected to be held this week comes at a time when two
factions - one led by former interim president Mr Nixon Misi and another by
Mr George Kaonza - are vying to assume control of the influential body.

The meeting was initially expected to have been held last week, but was
postponed under unclear circumstances.

Intense lobbying is said to have already started as the leaders of the two
factions lobby for support within the federation.

Incumbent president of the association who was ousted in a "coup" three
weeks ago, Mr Nixon Misi, confirmed that a meeting had already been set with
Ambassador Midzi.

"We are going to hold a meeting with the minister (Ambassador Amos Midzi) on
April 15.

"Before then we are going to meet as members of the federation to strategise
the best way forward in view of the ongoing developments," he said.

Efforts to get a comment from Mr Kaonza proved fruitless last week although
members aligned with his faction said they would also be attending the
meeting with Ambassador Midzi.

Mining sources said both factions have agreed to respect the outcome of the

"If the Minister calls for an election, we would abide by that decision. If
the Minister orders the dissolution of the federation, we will also abide by
that decision,' said a member of the federation.

It is hoped that a timely intervention by Ambassador Midzi is likely to save
the organisation which has turned into a battleground as members fought for
control of the 10-month-old association.

However, a delay may further damage the organisation, which was formed
barely 10 months ago to look into the activities of the small-scale miners.

As it stands now, it is not yet clear which faction is in charge as both
parties still claimed to be in control.

Power struggles emerged within ZMF three weeks ago after the organisation's
general council met and passed a vote of no confidence in Mr Misi and his

This did not go down well with the ousted executive as it challenged the
legality of the move arguing that what was done was ultra vires the
federation's constitution.

They argued that when the national council met, they did not constitute a
quorum and could thus not pass the vote of no confidence.

On the other hand, the national council defend the decision arguing that
everything was above board since letters had been sent to all advising them
of the meeting.
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Enough is Enough
We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!

Sokwanele comment
07 April 2004
That the ruling ZANU PF party won the crucial by-election in Zengeza occasioned no surprise at all to those who had witnessed the violence, intimidation, vote-buying and other serious irregularities that occurred in the constituency, both in the run-up the election and while it was in progress.   “The results of the Zengeza by-election do not surprise us in view of the gross intimidation, violence and the callous murder of our member”, commented the MDC spokesman, Paul Themba Nyathi.   The murder he was referring to involved the shooting of a youth at the home of the opposition MDC candidate, James Makore. Another youth was shot in the leg and ten others were injured in the same incident during an armed attack by ruling party supporters.
Against such a background of bloody violence the reference by many reporters to the need to “level the playing fields” between the ruling party and the opposition is surely a misnomer.  Playing fields suggest a game in progress, and that between players who accept that the game is to proceed according to certain well defined rules.  What we have in Zimbabwe today should rather be called be called the killing fields.
The violence, the vote-buying, the heavy intimidation (even by the police and other so-called law enforcement agents) and the gross irregularities that accompanied the electoral process have been chronicled elsewhere.  State agents did their best to limit the observance of the process by any independent agents, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN)  only being allowed to deploy half the independent poll observers they wanted.  Nevertheless enough was seen by those who are non-partisan to establish the fact that the electoral process was hopelessly flawed – many would say, rotten to the core.  Dr Reginald Matchaba-Hove, the head of  ZESN,  said that observers had reported irregularities and intimidation across the district.  Of particular concern was the fact that law enforcement agents were mentioned among the perpetrators of violence.  And in a press release that is unusually sharp and specific on details, the United States Department of State commented “We condemn the violence, intimidation and irregularities that occurred prior to and during the March 27-28 Zengeza parliamentary by-election.  The election’s improprieties preclude it from being deemed free and fair”. The statement continues “The by-election should have been a routine and peaceful expression of a local constituency’s political will.  Instead, it became another symbol of the ruling party’s pursuit of electoral victories at the expense of the peaceful expression of democratic rights in Zimbabwe”.
Given that the by-election took place against this violent and threatening background and that the official result cannot be taken in any way to represent the wishes of the electorate, nevertheless it is still worth considering the voting figures carefully because they tell an interesting story.  In the General Election of 2000 the MDC romped home to victory in this constituency with almost three times the number of votes cast for ZANU PF   The figures were 14,814 for the MDC candidate (who has since fled to the UK fearing for his life) and 5,330 for the ruling party.  In the recent by-election the official figures give the MDC 6,706 votes against 8,447 for ZANU PF.   For MDC a majority of 9,484 has become a deficit of 1,741.   Both the votes cast for each party and the aggregate of votes are significant.
First, the aggregate of votes for both parties.  In the 2000 poll it was 20,144 ballots.   In the 2004 poll, 15,153.  In other words a quarter less voters cast their ballot in this poll than in the previous one.  According to a statement issued on ZBC, 32 per cent of registered voters voted in the recent by-election, against 46 per cent in the General election of 2000.  Whichever way one looks at the figures there has been a sharp drop in the number, and percentage, of voters turning out to vote, and this in a by-election which was of crucial importance to both parties.  The obvious question is why voters are staying away from the poll in increasing numbers when the stakes have actually been increased.  Many answers are possible of course – and we cannot interrogate those who chose not to vote – but surely the most obvious and likely answer is fear, and not just a general fear of a difficult situation, but specifically fear of the consequences of daring to vote for the opposition.  Those who were minded to vote for the ruling party had little or nothing to fear; indeed every inducement.  But those who wished to vote for the MDC had a barrage of obstacles to overcome, and it is fair to say that only the most resolute and courageous would have made it all the way to the polling stations to cast their ballots as their consciences led them.   Hence the dramatic fall in the number of votes cast for the MDC  (8,108) accompanied by the very much smaller increase in the number voting for ZANU PF  (3,117). It is speculative of course but nonetheless a reasonable conclusion to draw that the missing voters in the 2004 poll were mostly MDC supporters – and the reason for their conspicuous absence is not far to seek.  Fear of the consequences over-rode their desire to vote for the party that was attracting a huge degree of violence.
But if this so it is all the more remarkable that, against all these odds, 6,706 voters still had the determination and the courage to vote for the MDC candidate.  Given the violence that was being meted out to the opposition on a daily basis, the massive intimidation that was taking place due to the menacing presence of the youth militia, police and security forces throughout the constituency, and the blatant vote-buying that was going on – not to mention the huge irregularities in the electoral process itself – given all this, the fact that 6,706 voters still dared to vote for the opposition is nothing less than a miracle.  And this is surely the true measure of Zimbabweans’ grit, and a clear sign to those who would ride roughshod over the will of the people, that the present brutal dictatorship will not last forever.  Democracy will come to this land eventually through the sheer determination of the people, and their willingness to suffer if necessary in the process.
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The Herald

Press freedom baggage of uni-polarism: Moyo

Herald Reporter
THE major challenge facing the country in the information sector is its
different views on the role of the Press and Press freedom, the Minister of
Information and Publicity in the Office of the President and Cabinet,
Professor Jonathan Moyo, said yesterday.

He told diplomats at a luncheon in Harare that Zimbabwe had become an
international story since the year 2000 because of its divergent views on
the role of the Press and Press freedom.

Prof Moyo said Zimbabwe does not agree to ideologies of Press freedom as a
critical human right that is at par with other human rights such as freedom
of expression.

He said freedom of expression was different from Press freedom in that
everyone is born with the right to freedom of expression.

Press freedom, said Prof Moyo, was a baggage of uni-polarism and only came
about after the end of the Cold War.

"Uni-polarism is certain to end because it is not sustainable just like what
happened to socialism after the collapse of Eastern Europe," he said.

Prof Moyo said that the Press was made up of institutions created by
different people who use those institutions to achieve their own objectives.

He said that it was for this reason that it was critical to ensure that the
country owned the means of disseminating information in order to preserve
its sovereignty, as information is a critical tool in achieving this goal.

"We believe that information is a strategic issue which is critical in
maintaining a country's sovereignty and you cannot claim to be sovereign if
you do not own the means to disseminating information.

"This is why we removed CNN from ZBC when we came in, in the year 2000 and
we will never have it again as long as we are still around," he said.

He said it was also for the same reason that other African countries such as
Nigeria have issued decrees banning the live transmission of foreign news.

He said the country had done a good job in telling its own story in the face
of an onslaught of negative publicity and also putting in place measures and
regulations aimed at regulating the Press such as the Media and Information
Commission, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe and the Access to
Information and the Protection of Privacy Act.

"We want to use the media to put across our national views and not those of
the United States or Britain or the Voice of America. We wish to put across
our views as the Voice of Zimbabwe," he said.

Prof Moyo said during the past four years the land issue has taken centre
stage and it has become clear that there would be no going back on the

The role of the Press, Prof Moyo said, was now to inform the new farmers on
the utilisation of the land that they have been given and the distribution
of resources needed for that purpose.

"We believe that the farmers understand that the process of fully utilising
the land will take sometime because it also took sometime for the white
former farmers to utilise the land and even then they left vast tracts of
land unutilised," he said.
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Zimbabwe in crisis summit
Heath Streak
A crisis meeting of senior Zimbabwe Test cricketers has been called to discuss the sacking of their captain and leading all-rounder Heath Streak.

Zimbabwe Cricket Union chief executive Vince Hogg, who has held talks for two days with Streak, will be present.

The meeting's location in Harare is being kept secret. Hogg will be told where it is minutes before it starts.

Hogg said: "It is all very tense and volatile. I am very concerned about it. We are in a crisis situation."

Around 10 of Zimbabwe's contracted players are expected to attend.

It was Streak's demand for changes to the national team selection panel that triggered the crisis, according to reports.

He is said to have requested the removal of two blacks who had not played first class cricket, prompting allegations of racism against him.

I am sure that we can reach a satisfactory conclusion
Peter Chingoka
ZCU chairman

The ZCU board accepted his resignation after receiving his letter. But Heath's father Dennis insisted his son had not resigned.

ZCU chairman Peter Chingoka said: "There are two main issues before the players - the Streak situation and our integration policy."

Chingoka denied there was a quota system in place to promote more young black players.

He added: "I cannot discuss the board's position over Streak as of today, but I am sure that we can reach a satisfactory conclusion."

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Democracy dividend and Zimbabwean farmers

By Bolaji Abdullahi
Wednesday, April 07, 2004

The modest convoy of vehicles snaked through the patchy roads, provoking whales of dust as mighty as the dreams and the hopes that had inspired the trip itself. Last week, the Kwara State Government hosted a group of farmers from Zimbabwe. This was not the first time farmers from the Southern African region would be visiting Kwara. Last week’s visit was however, a major effort in pushing forward a bold initiative that has attracted a deserved wide attention across the country since it was first brokered last year. This time, we moved from the round table to the field.

The previous night, a strategic thinking group, led by the Governor, Dr. Bukola Saraki, himself had brainstormed late into the night, combing through the entire fields of ideas and processes surrounding the project like landmine experts: Possibilities clashed with fears. Dangers wrestled with hopes. Benefits battled risks. Policies contested with politics. In the end, we came out with the only one consensus that really matters at this point: this is a project we have to push through in the interest of the people of Kwara State and Nigeria at large. Ours is not a resource rich state. But we are aware of our great potentials. And perhaps, the most important of these potentials is our geographical location.

As the gateway between the north and the south of the country, we are strategically positioned to provide access to the vast market potentials on both sides. In addition to this, Kwara state has a vast landmass that has been proven to be one of the most suitable for all kinds of crop production, especially soya beans, cashew nut and rice. We also have immense potentials for animals and livestock production. All of these are very valuable assets that could combine to provide the basis for the development of major agro-allied industries in the state.

As a government with a core responsibility to tackle the overwhelming problems of poverty caused largely by unemployment, it was clear to us from the onset that we have to device innovative strategies that would convert these huge potentials into real assets for our people. Challenged by declining resources and allocations at all levels of government, there is no doubt that this is the way to go if a State like ours must survive the crushing burden of widespread poverty.

 As we moved from the expansive sugar plantation of Bacita to the massive rice fields of Patigi, I could not help but marvel at how beautiful and richly endowed this country is. However, I could not help but shudder at what was yet another confirmation that Nigeria is performing lamentably below capacity. Someone once quipped that the land in Nigeria is so rich and fertile that if you pushed your fingers into the soil at night, they would have germinated at dawn. Yet this country spent an average of 1billion USD on importation of rice alone in a year and another 500million USD to import milk, especially from Ireland.

Only few years ago, Nigeria was planning to import beans from Burkina Faso. Maybe public outrage made the government to abandon the proposal. The point is that because we have had our yams so benevolently palm oiled by the gods for so long, and like spoilt children, we have lost zeal and the will to strive and struggle. The result of course is that our country, approaching half a century as a sovereign entity, has remained permanently potential. Perhaps, one of the boldest and construct economic reforms policy of the Obasanjo administration is the ban placed on importation of food and other items that can be produced locally. However, this salutory policy has not been met with commensurate efforts to subtitute these imports with local production that would not only meet the country’s need for food security but also launch our country onto the global market as major exporter of agricultural produce. Farming is still predonminantly at the peasant and subsistence level.

Inspite of the numerous agricultural institutes and centres across the country, it is obvious that we still lack the requisite technology and technical expertise for large-scale, export-oriented agriculture. Our best agricultural yields are hardly more than 1.5 tonne per hectare, whereas in Southern Africa, the average yield is about 10 tonnes for the same space of farmland. In fact, talking to the farmers from Zimbabwe, it is clear that we are not in the competition at all. A single of these farmers does more than 20, 000 tonnes in a single planting cycle, and because theirs is irrigation backed, he could do up to 60, 000 tonnes for a farming year. I could recall that even for a state-backed programme like the Kwara State’’s ‘‘Back-To-Farm’’ launched at the on-set of this administration, our best efforts only managed an average of 60 for the whole planting year. Before the crisis in Zimbabwe, agricultural export accounted for 50 per cent of the GDP of that country, making it the ““food basket”” of Africa with an average production of 1.8 million tonnes of maize annually. A single diary farmer in Zimbabwe was producing an average of 50 tonnes of milk per day while all we do in this country was to import highly subsidised milk that no one would consume in the producing countries anyway.

 Since the crisis in Zimbabwe started, 75 of the farmers have moved across the border to Zambia, where they have significantly affected the economy of that country. It is indeed a grand irony that for the first time ever, Zambia will be exporting food to Zimbabwe, a country that it used to depend on for its food. It is clear to the government in Kwara State therefore that something very innovative and revoultionary has to happen if we must deliver development and reduce poverty through the only real potential that we have, agriculture. And we are glad that the Federal Government has bought into this vision and is ready to drive it forward, not only in Kwara but also in other few selected states. Like President Obasanjo said when we visited, we would encourage the farmers to come, not because we would like to take away from Zimbabwe what it good for Zimbabwe, but because we would like to keep in Africa what is good for Africa. I am also aware of the sentimental arguments about African solidarity.

I think however, that this solidarity would be best expressed if we encourage the farmers to remain wherever else on the continent, rather than allow them to go and then use scarce resources to import food from the Neitherlands or Australia. If African sovereignty is what is at stake, I think true decolonisation would be best pursued if we create conditions that could make us self-reliant, especially on food security. Mozambique and Zambia were intimately connected to the struggle for the independence of Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe fought for his country’’s independence from Mozambique, while Joshua Nkomo was fighting from Zambia. Yet, these were the first two countries to welcome the farmers after the crisis in Zimbabwe, not because they wanted to sabotage history, but because they realised that poverty and hunger are harshly colour blind. One issue that has dominated almost all the discussions on the coming of Zimabwean farmers is the land question. With what is going on in Zimbabwe, this is hardly evitable. Land is a very emotional issue everywhere, but maybe especially so in Africa.

The entire narrative of colonisation and decolonisation of the African space is in many ways, essentially about land. So, no matter how lucrative this opportunity promises to be, this is one fundamental issue that cannot be overlooked. However, I must say that much of what I have heard as arguments regarding the issue of land and the coming of Zimbabwean farmers have been more emotionally effusive than rationally grounded. What we have seen is a verbatim substitution of two very distinctive situations in a way that gives very little regard to historical specificity, and the contentious questions of citizenship and identity in that Southern Africa country. Nobody is about to seize any lands here. Our politics and history is not condusive to such occupation.

The laws of process and outcomes do not support it. Quite significantly, it is clear that land, being an essential factor of production, is only valuable for what it does. The choice before us in this case is therefore very clear: we either continue to hoard the lands for their sentimental value or we push them forward for use by those who have the requisite expertise to make them work for us. At the moment we seem not to know what to do with the vast lands that abound across the country. Others do. When we found oil in the Niger Delta, we did not wait until we have the expertise to drill. We invited foreigners to do that for us. We neither sold the land nor the oil to them. Many years after, we have our own people who can do it as competently. Politics of access and distribution aside, the pact has led to a “win-win” situation between Nigeria and the foreign oil companies. The same goes for the initiative we are currently pushing with the Zimbawean farmers.

 We have the land, they don’’t. They have the expertise we don’’t. Together we can work out arrangements that would ensure that everyone profits in the end. Some newspapers have reported that President Olusegun Obasanjo has already offered the white farmers 99-year leasehold on land.

 Nothing could be more mischievously false. I was present at that session, and the President did not say anything of sort. The issue of land, like all other issues around the initiatives have not been decided, negotiations are still going on, but we believe that in the end we would arrive at agreements that would favour all stakeholders. More importantly for us however, is the fact that right from the very beginning, it is clear to the government in Kwara that the poverty reduction and empowerment content of this programme is as important as the concern for economic growth. This is why right from the very beginning the Government of Kwara State understands the need to bring in the local communities around the proposed farm locations. This way, commercial farming and communal farming can grow hand in hand, with the former lifting the latter. If the international community is really interested in reducing large scale poverty in Nigeria, here is the chance. Everyone or institution who has any idea or value to add to this project is welcome. Collectively, we have the chance now to make history. We must let this go.

Bolaji Abdullahi is Special Assistant to the Governor of Kwara State.

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'Mercenaries told investigators everything'

April 07 2004 at 05:48PM

Harare - A group of 15 alleged mercenaries detained in Equatorial Guinea had planned to wipe out the entire family of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, his interior minister Manuel Nguema Mba said during a trip to Harare on Wednesday.

Mba, who is visiting Harare where another group of 70 alleged mercenaries linked to the supposed plot are being detained, said the South African accused of leading the group in Malabo, Nick du Toit, had told Equatorial Guinean investigators "everything".

"He (du Toit) told us everything that was planned. He said the objective was to kill the entire family of President Obiang Nguema and bring (opposition leader) Severo Moto from Spain," ZIANA news agency quoted Mba as saying.

Zimbabwean and Equatorial Guinean authorities believe that 70 alleged mercenaries detained last month in Harare were on their way to join the group in Equatorial Guinea in a bid to oust Obiang Nguema.

Due to appear in a Harare prison court on April 13
Mba said he had met the alleged mercenaries being held in Harare's Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison on Tuesday, but they apparently refused to speak to him.

"The entire group decided they could not say anything without their lawyer," Mba said.

The 70 - 67 who were on a Boeing 727 that was impounded at Harare International Airport and three who came to meet them - have been charged with crimes including possession of dangerous weapons and breaching Zimbabwe's firearms, immigration and aviation laws.

They are due to appear in a Harare prison court on April 13.

The detainees have denied the charges, saying they were hired in South Africa to be security guards at a diamond mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). - Sapa-AFP

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