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

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The Spectator

The future looks black
Andrew Kenny

Cape Town

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

Being naturally gullible and tired after a long night before, I read it in a
dreamlike state, feeling that I had been transported into a different
universe where the ordinary laws of African politics had broken down. In
this strange realm, African leaders put the welfare of the people ahead of
their own luxury and vainglory. Then I came to the last line of the article,
designed to make dimwits like me check the date, and was bumped back to

Part of this reality was the grisly farce of the Zimbabwean election, the
inevitable result and its equally inevitable endorsement by the South
African government. President Mugabe of Zimbabwe must be extremely grateful
to President Mbeki of South Africa, without whose constant support and
encouragement he would probably not have been able to sustain his tyranny.
The ANC shouted and screamed against apartheid South Africa and Ian Smith's
Rhodesia and called for sanctions against both. It denounces what it sees as
crimes of the Israeli government, such as the building of the wall to shut
out Palestine. But against the mass murder, torture, terror, gang rape and
deliberate starvation of the Zimbabwe people by Mugabe's dictatorship,
neither President Mbeki nor any other leading figure of the ANC in his
government has whispered one word of protest. Mbeki's policy of 'quiet
diplomacy' towards Zimbabwe has usually consisted of picking up a big
megaphone and bellowing the virtues of Robert Mugabe. The ANC's support for
Mugabe is total.

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

Expediency would be easy to understand. The curse of black Africans, in
Africa and abroad, is their unrequited obsession with the white man. Black
Africans try to reduce all human existence to a simple morality tale in
which the white man is the source of all evil and misfortune. They have
little interest in black people beyond their borders but enormous interest
in white people. If there is an atrocity in an African country, black people
outside that country will not care unless there are white people concerned,
either as instigators or as victims.

When Mugabe slaughtered 20,000 black people in southern Zimbabwe in 1983,
nobody outside Zimbabwe, including the ANC, paid it the slightest attention.
Nor did they care when, after 2000, he drove thousands of black farm workers
out of their livelihoods and committed countless atrocities against his
black population. But when he killed a dozen white farmers and pushed others
off their farms, it caused tremendous excitement. Mugabe became a hero in
the eyes of black activists in South Africa, the US and England. That he has
ruined Zimbabwe, a beautiful and naturally blessed country; that he has
turned it from a food exporter to a hungry food importer; that he has caused
80 per cent unemployment and 600 per cent inflation; that he has killed and
tortured tens of thousands of Africans; that he has crushed democracy; that
he has reduced life expectancy from 55 years in 1980 when he came to power
to 33 years now - none of this matters compared with his glorious triumph in
beating up a handful of white farmers.

Whenever there is a South African radio phone-in programme on Zimbabwe,
white South Africans and black Zimbabweans denounce Mugabe, and black South
Africans applaud him. Therefore, one theory goes, Mbeki cannot afford to
criticise Mugabe. This explains Mbeki's constant support for Mugabe, his
endorsement of the fraudulent presidential election in 2002, and his recent
statement - made after Mugabe had shut down independent newspapers, rigged
the voters' roll, terrorised opposition supporters and banned opposition
party meetings - that 'I have no reason to think that anybody in Zimbabwe
will militate against elections being free and fair.'
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Zim Online

Mugabe pushes to end isolation
Fri 8 April 2005

      HARARE - President Robert Mugabe, who is in Rome for the Pope's
funeral, is desperately trying to secure meetings with European leaders to
try and push for an end to his regime's isolation.

      But there was no indication by last night that any of the world
leaders attending would agree to meet Mugabe on the sidelines of Pope John
Paul II's funeral at the Vatican.

      Mugabe's officials where trying to organise meetings with former
leaders of mainly Eastern European countries who have since joined the
European Union in a desperate bid to try and lobby them against the
continued sanctions on him and his officials.

      The EU operates by consensus and Zimbabwe's foreign ministry sources
said Mugabe hoped to break that consensus by getting other European Union
countries not to agree to the continued sanctions against his government.

      "He hoped to woo a few EU countries that have recently joined the
organisation (EU) by explaining to them that all the problems in Zimbabwe
are all because of Britain's fault in not releasing money for land reform,"
said one source.

      "He wants to tell them that Blair has carried the same 'lying habits'
that created the chaos in Iraq to Zimbabwe."

      Some of these former communist eastern European countries admitted
into the EU were close supporters of Mugabe during the liberation struggle
and provided arms and ammunition to ZANU PF guerillas.

      Mugabe has repeatedly accused Blair of being solely responsible for EU
sanctions on Zimbabwe. He has accused the British Prime Minister of
surreptitiously lobbying Zimbabwe's "friends" like Italy and France to
impose sanctions.

      But his campaign to win these "friends" might falter as it seemed
likely that very few or none of the EU leaders would be willing to meet him.
Shaking Mugabe's hand by an EU leader has previously attracted widespread
disapproval in the European media.

      No single appointment had been confirmed at the time of going to Press
yesterday though officials refused to disclose the exact countries they had

      Still Mugabe would share the podium with his arch critics - Blair and
American President George Bush, who are all attending the funeral.

      More than 150 presidents, prime ministers, queens, kings and other
influential people are expected at the funeral.

      Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi refused to meet Mugabe during
his last visit to Rome more than two years ago to attend a United Nations
meeting. Mugabe had asked for a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the
UN's World Food Programme conference, which he was allowed to attend because
the sanctions are waived for UN meetings.

      The EU imposed travel sanctions on Mugabe, his wife and top cronies
over his human rights abuses and violent seizure of white owned farmland for
redistribution to landless blacks. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

MDC to take seats in Parliament
Fri 8 April 2005
  HARARE - The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will not boycott
Parliament to protest the rigging of last week's elections, party secretary
general Welshman Ncube said last night.

      Ncube rejected suggestions by irate MDC supporters that the MDC should
boycott Parliament and resort to extra parliamentary methods to push for
democratic reforms in Zimbabwe.

      "Boycotting is a none option and there is unanimity on that in the
national executive committee," said Ncube refuting information that the MDC
was deeply divided on the matter.

      Still some MDC officials maintain there is division on the matter
within the party because the MDC cannot insist that the elections were
rigged and at the same time want to benefit from the proceeds of the same
electoral fraud.

      But Ncube said only one national executive committee member had come
up with a suggestion to boycott Parliament while the rest had opposed it.

      "The guy who came forward with the boycott option was asked to justify
what that step would achieve but came up with no effective reasons. It was
therefore agreed that we would take our seats in parliament," said Ncube.

      "So there is no more debate on that issue and the decision is that we
will go to Parliament unless something happens and the national executive
committee reconsiders the decision," said Ncube.

      Ncube nevertheless emphasised that his party's decision to take seats
in Parliament did not mean it would not resort to extra-parliamentary
methods to push for reforms that would guarantee democratic elections.

      He would not disclose details but conceded that it was difficult for
the opposition or anyone other than ZANU PF to win elections under the
current electoral framework dominated by Mugabe and his cronies.

      Ncube said the importance of going to Parliament would be that the MDC
would use the seats it won to highlight Mugabe's abuses. He said there was
nothing to be gained from surrendering all the seats to Mugabe and saying to
him, "you can have all of them in addition to those you stole". - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Zimbabwe to divert Z$5 trillion to buy emergency food
Fri 8 April 2005
  HARARE - Crisis-ridden Zimbabwe will divert Z$5 trillion or 18.2 percent
of the total capital expenditure budget to buy emergency food to avert mass
starvation in the country.

      Ruling ZANU PF party information secretary Nathan Shamuyarira
yesterday told ZimOnline that poor rains had forced the ruling party and the
government to re-look programmes to resuscitate Zimbabwe's collapsing
economy and divert funds earmarked for infrastructural development to buying
food instead.

      Shamuyarira said: "As the president has said no one will starve, we
have decided to divert the funds earmarked for capital expenditure to feed
the nation.

      "The drought has been a major setback to our turn-around strategies
and we are in a predicament where we are forced to use resources for
infrastructure development to ensure food security. We will make sure no one
will starve"

      But critics say erratic rains notwithstanding, President Robert Mugabe's
chaotic and often violent seizure of farm land and irrigation equipment from
white farmers for redistribution to landless blacks is to blame for the
about 60 percent drop in farm production in the last three years.

      Most of the former white-owned commercial farms that were able to
produce some food through irrigation were now lying fallow either because
Mugabe's cronies who took them are not interested in growing crops or
because black peasants resettled on the farms do not have skills or
financial resources to maintain production, critics say.

      Most shops in Harare and other major centres were this week without
the staple mealie-meal (ground from maize), sugar, cooking oil and soap
while bread was showing signs of running short with reports that millers
were running out of wheat.

      An estimated 4 million Zimbabweans or about a quarter of the country's
12.5 million people face starvation. Fuel, in perennial shortage since 2000,
was also getting scarcer with several garages in the country's southern
regions reporting that they had no stock or were selling the little diesel
and petrol they had left.

      Harare-based economic analyst John Robertson said diverting money from
the capital expenditure account would compromise quality of government
service but would still not help much in getting food or basic commodities
into the country as what was need was hard cash to pay foreign suppliers.

      Robertson said: "It will result in the delay in completing capital
projects that means we will wait longer for the improvement of services in
government . . . they must deal with the scarcity of foreign currency which
has been caused by the collapse of the tobacco industry, shrinkage in beef
and timber exports."

      Mugabe, in an interview with the South African Broadcasting
Corporation soon after his ZANU PF party controversially won last Thursday's
parliamentary election, admitted Zimbabwe was facing food problems but said
his government had the means to ensure the country was fed. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Bitter ZANU PF candidate plunges suburb into darkness
Fri 8 April 2005
  BULAWAYO - A losing ZANU PF candidate has ordered the removal of an
electricity transformer from Emganwini high density suburb in Bulawayo as
punishment to the residents for failing to elect her into Parliament in last
week's polls.

      Sithembiso Nyoni who contested and lost the Bulawayo South
constituency to the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)'s
David Coltart, allegedly ordered the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
(ZESA) to remove the transformer, plunging the suburb into darkness.

      Nyoni who had helped instal the transformer in a bid to curry favour
with the residents ahead of the election as part of her "development drive"
in the constituency, ordered the removal of the transformer on Sunday to
"fix" the residents for failing to vote her into parliament.

      Nyoni polled a paltry 3 777 votes against Coltart's 12 120 votes in
the election. Bulawayo, a bastion of the MDC, overwhelmingly voted for the
opposition party in the disputed poll.

      Speaking to ZimOnline yesterday, Nyoni confirmed the latest turn of
events, but denied that she had ordered ZESA to remove the transformer as
punishment to the residents.

      She insisted that ZESA had removed the newly installed transformer for
safe-keeping from thieves who had stolen it last Sunday.

      "It's true that ZESA employees took away the transformer from
Emganwini for safe-keeping. I was advised that some thieves stole the
transformer on Sunday night leaving the local residents in darkness.

      "However, the transformer was recovered by ZESA and they are holding
onto it for safe-keeping. However to assume that I had ordered or instructed
ZESA to remove it after losing the election is just too naughty," said

      The police in Nkulumane said no reports of theft of the transformer
had been reported to them. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

SA to discuss 'certain' concerns with Harare over poll
Fri 8 April 2005
  CAPE TOWN - The South African government has said it will discuss "certain
concerns" with Zimbabwe over its handling of a disputed parliamentary
election last week.

      South Africa's observer mission, like most hand-picked observer
missions from Africa, gave the election a clean bill of health saying the
poll, reflected the will of the Zimbabwean people.

      ZANU PF won 78 seats against the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) which secured 41 seats with the other seat going to
former government propaganda chief Jonathan Moyo.

      But yesterday, South Africa's foreign affairs director general Ayanda
Ntsaluba told journalists that Pretoria will soon engage its troubled
northern neighbour to discuss certain "concerns" over the election. He did
not elaborate what these concerns were.

      "In the days to come, those concerns will be discussed with the
government of Zimbabwe," Ntsaluba said.
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Zim Online

Dutch NGO fights to protect activists
Fri 8 April 2005
  JOHANNESBURG - A respected Dutch non governmental organisation, the
Netherlands Institute for Southern Africa (NIZA), has launched a campaign to
try and protect two prominent Zimbabwean civic leaders from being eliminated
by President Robert Mugabe's government.

      NIZA has started circulating a petition to highlight the plight of
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman Lovemore Madhuku and
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Lovemore Matombo.

      Sympathisers are being urged to sign the petition due to be submitted
to the Zimbabwe government on April 18. The petition can be downloaded and
signed at

      Madhuku welcomed the NIZA initiative yesterday saying it would go a
long way towards protecting him and Matombo.

      "It (the NIZA initiative) adds some protection against abuse of power
by this regime. The only deterrent to its excesses is international
pressure. So this is a welcome move," says Madhuku, who has been arrested,
tortured and beaten by police several times.

      NIZA said: "Mugabe won the elections by a landslide. The MDC appears
powerless. Fears are that the regime wants to eliminate political
activists," said NIZA in remarks accompanying the petition.

      "We received word that the Zimbabwean secret police, the CIO (secret
services), plans to get rid of human rights activist Lovemore Madhuku and
union leader Lovemore Matombo."

      "Madhuku was one of the few Zimbabweans who openly opposed President
Mugabe's regime," said NIZA.

      "In Zimbabwe that is highly dangerous. Augustine Chihuri, the Police
Commissioner, recently threatened Lovemore openly. We fear for his life."

      Matombo was equally fighting for human rights, especially those of
workers in Zimbabwe.

      "Last month he survived an attempt on his life, but there is evidence
that suggests another attempt is in the making. Furthermore, Matombo's
family was threatened repeatedly," said NIZA.

      It added: "Lovemore Madhuku and Lovemore Matombo need protection from
The international community NOW. Therefore, sign the petition! On April 18
we deliver the petition - together with an appeal to President Mugabe - to
the Zimbabwean ambassador in Brussels."

      The petition states that concerned citizens in Europe and millions of
Zimbabweans - inside and outside the country - are seriously concerned about
the safety of Madhuku and Matombo and their families.

      Last month, Matombo survived an attempt to shoot him at a ZCTU
Executive Committee meeting.

      "The perpetrator was identified but has not been arrested. A member of
Matombo's family has also been threatened," the petition adds.

      "Both Lovemores are being threatened verbally and physically and with
legal action. In the period following the parliamentary elections these
threats are especially intimidating and must be taken very seriously."

      It urged the Zimbabwean government to guarantee the safety of Madhuku
and Matombo and their families, and to ensure that the government, the youth
militias, the police and other security apparatus cease to threaten them. -

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Zim Online

US Senator in blistering attack on Mugabe
Fri 8 April 2005
  JOHANNESBURG - Senator Russell Feingold, one of Zimbabwe's most vocal
critics in the United States Congress, has challenged President Bush to draw
up a post-election strategy for Zimbabwe to support civil society, and
encourage respect for civil and political rights.

      In a speech on the Senate floor yesterday, Feingold launched a
blistering attack against President Mugabe for stealing last week's
parliamentary elections. He also criticised African leaders who keep on
backing Mugabe despite his human rights abuses.

      He said it was not a surprise that the ruling ZANU PF party won the
elections. In addition to reported irregularities on voting day itself, the
ruling party had waged a campaign of intimidation, coercion, and
institutional manipulation well in advance of the balloting in order to
ensure victory, said Feingold.

      He said the Bush administration needed to continue planning for the

      "Once Zimbabwe's corrupt leadership finally released its grasp on
power, the country will require substantial international assistance to turn
around its devastating economic decline and to rebuild institutions, such as
the once-independent judiciary, so that the rule of law can be effectively
restored," said Feingold.

      He added: "As we prepare ourselves to be good partners to the people
of Zimbabwe when change finally does come, we must also take a hard look at
the disappointing passivity of leaders in many southern African states who
have failed to speak and act in support of basic human rights and the rule
of law in their own neighborhood.

      "South Africa, with its painful history, its tremendous promise, and
its special moral authority, might have been a powerful protector of the
rights of the people of Zimbabwe. Instead, South Africa's leadership has
chosen, time and again, to sweep repression and abuse in Zimbabwe under the
rug and to lend support to a bullying President who would rather destroy his
own country than accept the rule of law and let real power rest with the
Zimbabwean people." - ZimOnline.

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Trudy Stevenson"
Sent: Friday, April 08, 2005 5:02 PM
Subject: What the Pope told Mugabe

Below is the full text from the message Pope John Paul II sent to Robert Mugabe via the Ambassador of Zimbabwe to the Holy See when he presented his credentials on 15 May 2003.

Behind the coded language of diplomacy, especially the ecclesiastical diplomacy of the Roman Catholic Church, is a strikingly forthright message.
Here are some extracts:

"The key questions no longer concern territorial sovereignty - borders and
jurisdiction over certain land areas - even if in some parts of the world
this remains a problem. By and large, the threats to stability and peace in
the world today are extreme poverty, social inequalities, political
corruption and abuse of authority, ethnic tensions, the absence of
democracy, the failure to respect human rights."

"Utmost vigilance is therefore called for in safeguarding the rights and
protecting the welfare of all citizens. Public authorities must refrain from
exercising partiality, preferential treatment or selective justice in favour
of certain individuals or groups; this ultimately undermines the credibility
of those charged with governing."

"There are first of all matters of justice to be considered, with due weight
being given to the various claims of land ownership, the right to land use
and the common good. Moreover, if land redistribution is to offer a
practical and sustainable response to serious economic and social problems
in a given country, the process must continue to develop over time and must
ensure that the necessary infrastructures are in place. Finally, and no less
important, 'indispensable for the success of an agrarian reform is that it
should be in full accord with national policies and those of international

"Feelings of disenfranchisement or of being unjustly treated only serve to
foment tension and discord. Justice must be made available to all if the
injuries of the past are to be left behind and a brighter future built.
Insofar as the authentic common good prevails, the fundamental causes of
civil strife will disappear"
Below is the full text:






15 MAY 2003

Mr Ambassador,

I offer you a warm welcome to the Vatican as I accept the letters by which you are accredited Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Zimbabwe to the Holy See. I am pleased to receive the greetings and good wishes which you bring from the President, Government and people of your nation, and I ask you kindly to convey to them my own prayerful good wishes. Although many years have passed since my visit to your country, I still have fond memories of the days I happily spent among your fellow Zimbabweans, experiencing their warmth and hospitality, sharing their joys and aspirations. On the occasion of that visit I spoke of Africa as a "continent of hope and promise for the future of mankind" (Speech at Arrival Ceremony in Harare, 10 September 1988, 1): it is my fervent desire that, in this new millennium, that hope and promise will become a reality for the people of Zimbabwe and for all the peoples of Africa.

Your kind tribute to Archbishop Patrick Chakaipa, who passed away only last month, are very much appreciated, and I am grateful also for your recognition of the significant contribution made by the institutions of the Catholic Church to Zimbabwean society at large, particularly in the fields of education, health care and social services. Indeed, the Church sees her apostolate in these areas as an essential element of her religious mission, and she is ever eager to carry out this work in harmony with others who are active in the same fields. Cooperation between Church and State is of great importance in advancing the intellectual and moral training of citizens, who will then be better equipped to build a truly just and stable society. This is part of the contribution that the Church seeks to make to the human development of individuals and peoples, especially those who are most in need.

It is this same commitment that motivates the Holy See in its diplomatic activity. In working with other members of the international community, the Holy See strives to foster peace and harmony among peoples, looking always to the common good and the integral development of individuals and nations. The task of diplomacy nowadays is increasingly determined by the challenges of globalization and the new threats to world peace which this entails. The key questions no longer concern territorial sovereignty — borders and jurisdiction over certain land areas — even if in some parts of the world this remains a problem. By and large, the threats to stability and peace in the world today are extreme poverty, social inequalities, political corruption and abuse of authority, ethnic tensions, the absence of democracy, the failure to respect human rights. These are some of the situations which diplomacy is called to address.

There is no country in the world which does not face one or more of these problems. For this reason, the values of democracy, good government, human rights, dialogue and peace must be close to the heart of leaders and peoples. The more these values form a fundamental part of a nation’s ethos, the greater will be that nation’s capacity to build a future worthy of the human dignity of its citizens. Moreover, the globalization of these values represents the globalization of solidarity, which aims to ensure that economic and social benefits are enjoyed by all on a planetary scale. This is a sure way of working for peace in today’s world. Conversely, when these values are neglected or, worse, actively violated, no programme of economic or social reform will enjoy long-term success. Instead, social and political violence will eventually increase, the gap between rich and poor will grow ever wider, and government leadership itself will be unable to create an environment that fosters truth, justice, love and freedom.

Utmost vigilance is therefore called for in safeguarding the rights and protecting the welfare of all citizens. Public authorities must refrain from exercising partiality, preferential treatment or selective justice in favour of certain individuals or groups; this ultimately undermines the credibility of those charged with governing. In his famous Encyclical Letter Pacem in Terris, my predecessor Blessed Pope John XXIII, quoting Pope Leo XIII, summed up the situation thus: "The civil power must not serve the advantage of any one individual or of some few persons, inasmuch as it was established for the common good of all" (par. 56). In fact, when everyone is treated on an equal basis — a sine qua non for a society firmly based on the rule of law — the value, gifts and talents of each member are more easily recognized and can be more effectively tapped for building up the community. As traditional wisdom handed down in an African proverb has put it: Gunwe rimwe haritswanyi inda (many hands make work lighter).

Making reference to your Government’s land reform programme, Your Excellency has remarked that this is a vehicle for improving the people’s standard of living, achieving equity and establishing social justice. In many countries, such agrarian reform is necessary, as noted in the document "Towards a Better Distribution of Land" published in 1997 by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, but it is also a complex and delicate process. In fact, as this same document points out, it is an error to think that any real benefit or success will come simply by expropriating large landholdings, dividing them into smaller production units and distributing them to others (cf. No. 45). There are first of all matters of justice to be considered, with due weight being given to the various claims of land ownership, the right to land use and the common good. Moreover, if land redistribution is to offer a practical and sustainable response to serious economic and social problems in a given country, the process must continue to develop over time and must ensure that the necessary infrastructures are in place. Finally, and no less important, "indispensable for the success of an agrarian reform is that it should be in full accord with national policies and those of international bodies" (ibid.).

Feelings of disenfranchisement or of being unjustly treated only serve to foment tension and discord. Justice must be made available to all if the injuries of the past are to be left behind and a brighter future built. Insofar as the authentic common good prevails, the fundamental causes of civil strife will disappear. The Catholic Church pledges her full support for all efforts to construct a culture of dialogue rather than confrontation, of reconciliation rather than conflict. This in fact is an integral part of her mission to advance the authentic good of all peoples and of the whole person.

Mr Ambassador, as you enter the family of diplomats accredited to the Holy See, I assure you of the ready assistance of the various offices and agencies of the Roman Curia. I am confident that your mission will strengthen the bonds of understanding and friendship between us. Upon yourself and the beloved people of Zimbabwe I cordially invoke the abundant blessings of Almighty God.



 S.E. il Signor Kelebert Nkomani

Ambasciatore dello Zimbabwe presso la Santa Sede

È nato a Bulalimamangwe il 1° giugno 1949.

È sposato ed ha tre figli.

Laureato in Economia nel 1979, ha conseguito nel 1981 un Master (Università di Bombay). Ha intrapreso la carriera diplomatica nel 1981, ricoprendo i seguenti incarichi: Funzionario del Ministero dell’Industria e della Tecnologia (1981-1984); Assistente del Ministero dell’Industria e della Tecnologia (1984-1989); Sotto-Segretario del Ministero del Commercio (1989-1992); Ministro per l’Industria ed il Commercio (1992 - agosto 1999).

Dal 1999 è Ambasciatore in Belgio, ove risiede. È anche accreditato in Olanda, Lussemburgo e presso l’Unione Europea.

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The Herald

Retailers, manufacturers enemies of inflation battle

I WALKED into a Harare retail shop last Friday (around 4pm) to purchase a $5
000 beverage and I did.

The following morning (at nearly 9am) I got into the same supermarket to buy
exactly the same drink, although this time I wanted three of them, but I
walked out empty-handed.

I failed to buy the commodity not because the supermarket had run out of
stock, neither had it anything to do with some sudden change of heart on my

But it had everything to do with a change of heart on the part of the
supermarket, and the impromptu upward shift in the price of the beverage by
some 80 percent. And take note, the price hike was effected on old stock.

I did not want to believe what I witnessed at this shop was true so I
proceeded to another supermarket within the central business district. The
situation was not any better.

Immediately, it dawned on me that prices, not only of that particular
beverage, had started to creep up, but also it was an industry-wide
development that saw prices of most basics shoot through the roof.

In the aftermath of last Thursday*s election, and the subsequent result,
which was in the ruling party*s favour, consumers were left uncertain if
retailers and manufacturers had connived to send prices haywire.

Retailers argue they did not hike the prices willy-nilly, but it was a
serial development emanating from northward price movements from producers.

But what they did not explain is whether the price increases were a reaction
to the election result or otherwise because economists feel that was the

It would appear that both retailers and manufacturers have been disgruntled
by some developments in the country*s political or economic arena, but one
certainty is that they have become enemies of Zimbabwe*s inflation battle.

Gains achieved on the inflation front to date could be reversed due to such
inflationary pressures being exerted by the increases. Price stability in
any economy is essential to maintain the rate inflation on the low side.

The Reserve Bank has been urging retailers to wear a human face and avoid
rampant price hikes, which in nature are inflationary.

However, the increase in prices of most basic commodities by retailers last
week flies in the face of the RBZ*s advocacy, and even national efforts to
tame inflation.

The market is also unsure if Zimbabwe is returning to the 2003 situation
where most basic commodities disappeared from supermarket shelves because,
already, goods have started taking this route.

The Ministry of Industry and International Trade has also been found wanting
in the latest wave of price hikes.

By instructing retailers to revert to old prices, the ministry is merely
trying to lock the stable door long after the horse has bolted to safety.

In the manner of the proverbial pre-emptive strike, the ministry should have
put in place the necessary legislative framework to prevent price increases
on basic commodities at the drop of a hat.

And perhaps, this could have curtailed the rampant and unplanned increases
by retailers because, as it is, retailers could be having perfectly valid
reasons for their actions.

But whatever shortcomings on the part of the ministry, or the chicanery of
retailers, the recent price increases are a worrisome development which
could consign Zimbabwe*s war on inflation into the dustbin.
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United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has accused the U.N. Human
Rights Commission of failing to uphold human rights and said a new,
permanent body is needed. Speaking in Geneva, Switzerland, Annan said the
commission was undermining the credibility of the entire U.N.

Human rights groups say the body's member nations are too concerned with
protecting their national interests.

Current commission members include Sudan, Zimbabwe, China, Russia and Saudi
Arabia - all accused of rights abuses.

"We have reached a point at which the commission's declining credibility has
cast a shadow on the reputation of the United Nations system," Annan said as
he addressed the commission's annual six-week session at its Swiss
headquarters. "Unless we re-make our human rights machinery, we may be
unable to renew public confidence in the United Nations itself," he said.

As part of his program of U.N. reforms, Annan wants to create a smaller
Human Rights Council, whose members must uphold the highest human rights
standards, adding the U.N. needs the new council if it is to prevent
appalling suffering occurring around the world.

He said the council must be more accountable and more representative. It
would, he explained, allow for a more comprehensive and objective approach,
which, in turn, would produce more effective assistance.

"The main intergovernmental body concerned with human rights should have a
status, authority and capability," Annan said, according to BBC News.

The U.N. Human Rights Commission was launched in 1946 to uphold human rights
worldwide, and has 53 members. Libya chaired the commission in 2003, despite
opposition from the U.S. and human rights groups.

In his annual address last year, Annan warned that the conflict in Sudan's
province of Darfur bore worrying similarities to the Rwandan genocide.

The commission had before it strong evidence of atrocities being committed
in Darfur and of the Sudanese government's involvement in them, but no
resolution was passed condemning Sudan. Instead, Sudan was elected to the
commission for another year.

There is talk of a resolution this year, but the countries drafting it
include Sudan and Zimbabwe, also in the spotlight for human rights
violations. Activists also want the commission to condemn the U.S. for its
treatment of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Intellpuke: "Annan is correct, the U.N. Human Rights Commission has harmed
the international body's credibility in the area of human rights. Having
major human rights violators, such as Sudan and Libya, on the commission
sent signals around the world that the commission was nothing more than a
paper tiger, and I'm being very kind in putting it that way.
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The Star

      Computer check would have revealed 'ghosts'

      South African observers blew their chance in Zimbabwe
      April 8, 2005

        By Peter Fabricius

      Isn't it time labour minister Membathisi Mdladlana was taken off the
Zimbabwe beat? Maybe his manner is useful as an ice-breaker in negotiations
with local workers. But it is disastrous when dealing with the sensitivities
of foreign relations. This man is not a diplomat. To put him into that
minefield of foreign relations which is Zimbabwe just asks for trouble.

      Mdladlana has long been President Thabo Mbeki's unofficial envoy to
Zimbabwe. Why, it is hard to say, when one looks at his performance as head
of the South Africa government election observer mission to last Thursday's

      With what seems to be an unerring nose for the nearest cow patty,
Mdladlana put his foot in it immediately after arriving in Harare.

      Summing up a highly complex situation, he said he saw no reason why
the election should not run smoothly.

      Even his own ANC colleagues reprimanded him for that. Then he
fortuitously disappeared out of the country, apparently for a labour
conference. But he was back in time to put his big foot in it once again,
after the elections.

      At a press conference to announce his mission's interim assessment of
the elections, he was asked about the so-called ghost voters - the millions
of dead or emigrated people which the Zimbabwe opposition alleges are still
on the voters roll. Mustering all of his renowned wit, Mdladlana said he had
heard about the existence of ghosts, but did not believe in them.

      When incredulous journalists tasked him about this glib response, he
retorted: "Have you seen them? Why do you expect me to see them when they
are dead?"

      In those opening and closing remarks, Mdladlana epitomised what the
Zimbabwe opposition so resents about South Africa's policy towards Zimbabwe:
a prejudgment that all is rosy, and a refusal to take seriously their
complaints that President Robert Mugabe is cheating.

      One presumes that Mdladlana, even though he acts the clown, is not as
stupid as his contemptuous dismissal of the ghost voters suggests.

      The ghost voters are an extremely important issue. As this column
described last week, they may well provide the key to how Mugabe rigged the
election, if indeed he did. These fictitious voters provided the voters in
whose names ballot boxes could be stuffed in the rural areas.

      If the Zimbabwe government did not intend to use the ghost voters in
this way, why did it not provide the opposition with an updated electronic
version of the voters' roll so it could computer check for ghost voters?

      That is how you could have seen the ghost voters, Mr Mdladlana.

      Another visible sign of the possible role of the ghost voters in this
election was the 32 constituencies where significant discrepancies
apparently occurred between the vote count which the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission announced at the end of balloting on Thursday ... and the vote
count when the results were announced.

      In one constituency south of Harare, the discrepancy was about 10 000

      These may well have been some of those ghost voters which Mdladlana
contemptuously dismissed as apparitions.

      The SADC mission headed by his cabinet colleague, Phumzile
Mlambo-Ngcuka, appeared to do better as it promised "seriously" to
investigate the large discrepancies between votes announced by the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission on polling day and those it announced with the results.
That promise implied a serious undertaking - leaving people from the mission
behind in Zimbabwe to get the electronic voters' roll from authorities and
check for the existence of ghost voters - and whether they voted.

      But Mlambo-Ngcuka then told journalists at the weekend that the
mission's mandate had expired and it would be up to the Zimbabwe Electoral
Court to investigate the discrepancies. In other words the case is closed.
That was the South African observers' one chance to actually make a
difference, and they blew it.

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Business Day

Endorsing poll 'morally questionable' - SACC
Jonathan Katzenellenbogen

International Affairs Editor

THE South African Council of Churches (SACC) and a group of civic
organisations have said the thumbs-up given by government's observer group
to the Zimbabwe elections is "morally questionable".

A combined statement said the group took exception to government's
pronouncement that due to the peaceful climate that prevailed during the
voting, the elections were necessarily free and fair.

Molefe Tsele, SACC general secretary, said yesterday that the statement by
the South African government observers came across, "almost as if the
perpetrator (of the violence ahead of the elections) was being congratulated
and rewarded".

The grouping, which also includes the Southern African Catholic Bishops
Conference, the Institute for Democracy of SA, and the Institute for Justice
and Reconciliation, sent a team of 15 to observe the election, but Tsele was
barred from entering Zimbabwe.

On current evidence the poll could not be found to be free and fair without
qualification, it said.

The public questioning of Pretoria's assessment of the elections comes days
after both the US embassy in Harare and the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change raised the possibility of a manipulated count.

This finding by the SACC puts it at odds with its counterpart in Zimbabwe,
the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, which said earlier this week it found the
poll free and fair.

Christian churches are divided in Zimbabwe on their support for President
Robert Mugabe.
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Business Day

ANC blasts opposition MPs over mission to Zimbabwe
Wyndham Hartley

Parliamentary Editor

CAPE TOWN - The African National Congress (ANC) has taken aim at the
opposition MPs critical of the parliamentary observer mission to Zimbabwe,
and wants them to pay back the costs of the visit.

ANC chief whip Mbulelo Goniwe, who was in almost constant conflict with
Democratic Alliance MP Roy Jankielsohn during the mission, said that the
opposition MPs who had "absconded" from the mission should compensate
Parliament and that disciplinary steps be taken against them.

The first MP to leave the mission was Independent Democrat Vincent Gore. He
was followed by Jankielsohn, who left two days before the end of the

Goniwe said that all the MPs on the mission had agreed to a code of conduct,
and this meant that only the leader of the delegation would issue press
statement or give interviews. He said Jankielsohn had "violated" the code
with "unverifiable and unsubstantiated statements" that were designed to
undermine the observer mission.

Goniwe said that the censure of Jankielsohn for making public statements
"has nothing to do with freedom of speech".

He said it had to do with obeying the rules laid down by the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) guidelines for observers.

While it might appear that there was tampering with the freedom of speech,
it was more about the mandate of the mission, he said.

The guidelines for observer missions, however, insist that all members have
"unhindered and free access" to the media.

Jankielsohn pointed out that Goniwe was in violation of the code.

"There were no agreed to guidelines prior to our departure for Zimbabwe. The
only rules that applied were those that were made up by Goniwe," Jankielsohn

"I do not intend to repay any money to Parliament since I completed my
mission to observe the elections and then informed my team leader and the
administrative officer that I would be returning after the elections.

"There was no official programme communicated to me on any meetings that
would take place after the elections," he said.
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Washington Times

Charade democracy

By Austin Bay
Austin Bay

Zimbabwe's dictator Robert Mugabe combines the worst aspects of Cold War and
War on Terror tyranny.
    Think of Mr. Mugabe as an African Slobodan Milosevic. When the Cold War
closed down, Mr. Milosevic morphed from Yugoslav communist to Serb fascist.
As time passed in southern Africa, shape-shifting Mr. Mugabe adjusted his
schtick, moving from Marx-spouting revolutionary to kleptocrat tribal
dictator. Both thugs are ethnic cleansers and cynical thieves who murder
rivals, silence the press and brutally intimidate domestic opposition.
    There is a major difference: Mr. Milosevic is under arrest. Mr. Mugabe
continues destroying a once wealthy nation, while hiding behind a slick
public-relations campaign that co-opts and corrupts classic "human rights"
    Mr. Mugabe can give Mr. Milosevic -- and, for that matter, Russia's
Vladimir Putin -- lessons in rigging elections. On March 31, Mr. Mugabe
stole his third election in five years, making him the world's current
leader in charade democracy.
    Mr. Mugabe and his thugs tried to steal the last one quietly. As
elections neared, Mr. Mugabe began denying foreign reporters entry visas. He
imposed a law that made "unauthorized demonstrations" a felony punishable by
up to 20 years in jail -- a law aimed at his democratic opponents in the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). And then there's the food weapon. Mr.
Mugabe's government controls Zimbabwe's food supplies. Cooperate, and you
get your loaf of bread. Oppose Mr. Mugabe, and you are denied food.
    Ah, but those pesky priests who won't shut up. Mr. Mugabe has had to
threaten church leaders he deems responsible for "encouraging" street
protests. Catholic Bishop Pius Ncube -- a major domestic critic of Mr.
Mugabe and his dictatorship -- has been a special target.
    Bishop Ncube predicted last week's election would be rigged, and he was
right. The "final tally" gave Mr. Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) 74 seats and the MDC 40. There's no question
Mr. Mugabe committed mass fraud -- and the MDC has refused to accept the
    Mr. Mugabe may get away with it, breaking the democratic pulse surging
through Afghanistan, Ukraine, Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon, and testing the
Bush administration's "pro-democracy" doctrine. The man is ruthless, and in
the past ruthlessness has worked. Though Mr. Mugabe's ethnic cleansing of
the Mdebele in 1980 brought extensive criticism, criticism never became
international opposition to his regime. Whenever international outrage
builds, Mr. Mugabe trots out two themes that have been political trumps for
too many African tyrants, "combating colonialism" and "fighting racism."
This mantra stymies a fossil segment of the "human rights left" -- a crowd
that railed against Mr. Milosevic.
    Mr. Mugabe also appears to have another hole card -- South Africa's
Thabo Mbeki has not played pro-democracy Poland to the Zimbabwe democrats'
would-be Ukraine. In fact, Mr. Mbeki looks increasingly weak, ineffectual
and churlish -- a man who knows he stands in Nelson Mandela's shadow and
resents it. Mr. Mbeki declared Zimbabwe's elections "free and fair" before
the vote. A few commentators conclude Mr. Mbeki and Mr. Mugabe are acting
out a senescent form of "freedom fighter" solidarity, and it may be just
that, another mid-20th-century political relic thwarting 21st-century
democratic change.
    Still, international criticism is mounting -- if Kyrgyzstan can rally
for freedom, why not Zimbabwe?
    What can be done to support the democrats? Any effective military action
or political-economic sanctions require South African cooperation, and Mr.
Mbeki looks bought off.
    The priests, however, haven't been co-opted. Pope John Paul II's death
has kept Mr. Mugabe's electoral fraud out of the news cycle, but there is a
"John Paul" option that could benefit peaceful change throughout sub-Saharan
Africa. The Polish Pope Paul inspired Eastern European resistance to
communism and inspired billions with his spiritual and moral leadership. An
African pope could do the same for African democrats.
    There are signals this could happen. French Cardinal Bernard Panafieu,
when asked about electing a "Third World" pope, replied, "Everything is
    An African pope would change the political dynamics in sub-Saharan
Africa, and put dictators like Mr. Mugabe under insistent global scrutiny -- 
the first step to putting them in jail.

    Austin Bay is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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Zanu(PF) activist testifies against UK journalists
NORTON, Zimbabwe - Prosecutors yesterday brought another Zanu(PF) party
supporter as a witness in a trial involving two British journalists accused
of breaching media and immigration laws in that country, a lawyer said.

"The prosecution called Trust Nyamuchanja - a Zanu(PF) youth activist - to
the witness stand", said Beatrice Mtetwa, a lawyer for Sunday Telegraph's
chief foreign correspondent Toby John Harnden, 37, and photographer Julian
Paul Simmonds, 46.

"He was basically accusing the gentlemen of practising illegally as

"His evidence was a repetition of the earlier testimonies by his colleagues
that they were in a group when the two gentlemen approached them saying they
were journalists and requested to photograph them after voting", Mtetwa said
at yesterday's court hearing.

Harnden and Simmonds were arrested at a polling station here, 40km west of
Harare, on election day last week.

On Wednesday two activists of Zimbabwe's ruling party gave evidence against
the two British journalists.

Today the prosecution team is expected to call a police officer to produce a
notebook they claim contains evidence that Harnden and Simmonds were
practising as journalists when they were arrested.

The two journalists are accused of working without accreditation, an offence
that carries a maximum jail sentence of two years, and for overstaying the
seven-day tourist visas they obtained when they crossed into Zimbabwe from

They pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to violating the country's media and
immigration laws.

President Robert Mugabe accuses Britain of seeking to recolonise Zimbabwe
using the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party as a front.

Journalists covering the elections were issued with two cards - one given by
the government media commission and another by the elections body to allow
them access to polling stations.

Mtetwa told the court that Harnden and Simmonds were on a holiday and that
they had been granted 14-day visas which were to expire on April 4. -
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