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

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The Zimbabwean

Conversations with a 'new farmer'
HARARE - About two years ago, while I was under the influence of 'Stockholm
Syndrome', I had a rather interesting series of conversations with the new
owner of my house . and my farm, tractors, tobacco, maize, equipment,
fertilizer, fuel, furniture, and the crops, and my very life it seemed! Hell
he even took my damn dog!
Anyway, it was actually quite pleasant to be able to talk to the man for a
change instead of our usual mode of communication - him screaming racial
filth in my face from a range of about 2cm and threatening to cut my throat,
and I trying to get the police out of their offices to take him on, and
instill a bit of law and order into him. Which, of course, never worked, as
he, been a 'son of the soil' and I being 'non-indigenous' meant that I now
was to give him everything, including the shirt off my back.

The opportunity came about eight months after I landed in Harare with two
suitcases, no home, no furniture, a heavily pregnant wife and millions upon
millions of debt owed to Barclays Bank. I was invited back to my farm to
remove my personal belongs. This was when I came to know Mr New Farmer and
his banking brother quite well.

Why would a manager for a leading international bank need to steal my home?
Surely he had his own home in Harare where he worked? And, also, how was it
he knew all my private details concerning the farm, the company name and
title deeds numbers etc?

It soon became obvious when he confessed that he was friendly with my bank
manager, or should I say, ex-bank manager, from the other major
international bank. I had enquired of The New Farmer why he and his banking
brother should feel that they were now farmers since they didn't know squat
about farming, only banking. I was informed that they were in fact 'Sons Of
The Soil' and farming therefore came naturally to them.

'Oh really?' was all I could reply but I do admit, seeing as we were getting
on so well, that I did actually help them along a bit. Gave them a bit of
advice - on varieties, rotations, planting dates, and how my tractors only
started if you parked them on an ant hill. Useful hints. And I hate to admit
it, but I don't think I actually took them to task too harshly about the
60,000kgs of tobacco that seemed to have disappeared from my shed.

Life itself was what held importance back then, not details. Details like
tobacco, furniture, or even unpaid loans, or food, or nappies, or rent. It
may seem strange now,but the reality is that after three and a half years of
constant attrition and fighting and living in fear, it was quite a relief to
be able to give it up and walk away.

We always said after they had killed Martin Olds that we were not prepared
to die for a piece of dirt. And when our President declared, at the Zanu
(PF) congress in Vic Falls, that all his young men were to take it that they
were at war, and that he wouldn't rest easy until such time as the snake's
head had been cut off, well, by that time, we weren't in any state of
delusion as to the ruthlessness of the likes of Rex Jesus. So we walked. We
had no choice.

But as time went on it became increasingly apparent that the New Farmer and
his banking brother were in fact just common criminals. And now, two years
later, my spies tell me that the banking brother has run away and the New
Farmer is destitute, living in one corner of our home having sold all my
tractors and stripped the barns and still telling lies to AgriBank.

So what was it all for, if this common criminal could command a Governor,
order murder, and burn, destroy and loot at will, and then tell off the
Commissioner of Police in Chinhoyi, demanding that his crimes be excused
because of his history? It now turns out that the New Farmer was in fact a
priest, recently let out of prison, for theft of church funds, recruited by
the local 'Chef' and metamorphosed into a 'War Veteran'.

What was it in our society that allowed this man, who claimed a degree in
business management from the University Of Michigan, his banking brother,
and their ilk to destroy billions of dollars worth of assets, to loot farms
and murder, displace hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwean farm workers, all
in the name of those who died in the liberation struggle?

Surely the true Heroes of our tiny nation must be turning in their graves?
Is this what they died for? Is this what 30,000 Zimbabweans gave the supreme
sacrifice for? Did they die so that a tiny few could reduce our beautiful
country to a dust bowl? Did the Heroes die so that these horrible little
Zhing Zhong's could run rampant over our people, shout their strange
language in our ears, and cast their cheap rubbish in our faces? I don't
think so.

How is it that the President and his men scurry to justify destroying
700,000 homes and their own peoples' lives? How will they be able to rectify
wrongs with this man still commanding their every move with fear and
destruction? They, the president's men, of whom not one will stand up and be
counted. Their unwillingness to set this country right is sickening. Do they
think their crimes will be forgotten in the chaos? In the mists of time? We
the people of Zimbabwe, will remember. We are Zimbabwe, not you - you who
murder and destroy and run to Beijing.
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The Zimbabwean

Hatcliffe Clinic disappears
HATCLIFFE - "Last Friday I visited Hatcliffe Extension for the second time
since the people had been allowed back to their stands in the 'New Stands'
area. 4000 stands have been allocated or reallocated. Many people are back,
but some have not yet come, presumably because they have not been informed
about the reallocation. Some are now too sick, like Mr M.. who is still in
Epworth with relatives. Some have not found the money to transport their
belongings back," reports Trudy Stevenson, MDC MP for Harare North
She found that very few people had been given the four asbestos sheets
promised by Minister Muchena and his officials when they addressed residents
recently. Some were promised they would be given the sheets last Monday, but
so far no-one has come back to fulfill that promise. "In any case, those
asbestos sheets are narrower than a single bed, and scarcely longer - they
cannot make a house with that! Residents are, however, very busy putting up
their shelters with whatever they can find, and some are already making
solid foundations for substantial houses. Many are living in bits of plastic
and any corrugated iron etc., they managed to salvage and hide before they
were chased away - but at least one young mother is sleeping in the open
with her baby, she doesn't even have plastic," reported Stevenson.

"We are asking well-wishers to please now help with plastic sheeting and
building materials if at all possible. It is so tragic that all these
residents had adequate, if flimsy, shelter three months ago, and many now
cannot afford to replace even that basic shelter!"

Stevenson said the government's promise of extra lessons to make up the two
months of lost classes suffered by the children in the area had come to
nothing. "There are no facilities at all for extra lessons. Many parents
have opted to wait until the new term begins in September rather than
wasting more school fees for just the few days of lessons remaining until
the end of this term. However it is unclear whether Zambuko Primary School
will reopen. Currently it is being vandalised, with a number of broken
window panes. Books and furniture from the classrooms are disappearing, if
not already gone. The corrugated iron roofing on the main hall is being
'helped' to come off," she said.

"The biggest shock was the Clinic, near the school, which has disappeared!
It was still standing and unharmed a month ago, and we were told it would
probably re-open, but now only the foundations remain," said Stevenson,

"I am very concerned that so many efforts from churches, NGO's and
individual well-wishers have been destroyed by the regime and its agents in
this Operation Murambatsvina. I know it will be extremely difficult to
persuade those people and organisations to invest in the residents of
Hatcliffe Extension a second time round, after this deliberate destruction.
They also need major infrastructure investment in terms of boreholes and/or
upgrading of the Municipality infrastructure to be able to cope with their
water and sewerage requirements. It is not clear what help, if anything,
they will get at that level."

Meanwhile, it is still very cold at night, and many residents have lost
their property one way or another in the various upheavals, so we appeal yet
again for whatever you may be able to give to assist - especially building
materials and plastic sheeting. Also warm clothes, blankets, children's
clothes, and dry foods esp. mealie meal. Donations can be dropped directly
at New Stands (opposite SIRDC and further down the hill near the
contractors' site) or at St Augustine's Catholic Church in Hatcliffe One
(access from Scam Way off the Borrowdale Rd before Domboshawa) or small
amounts at my Parliamentary office in Mt Pleasant Hall (leave with caretaker
Mr Gwarada), my home at 4 Ashbrittle Crescent, Emerald Hill or at Our Lady
of the Wayside Mt Pleasant (crnr The Chase/Pendennis Rd) or St Gerards in
Borrowdale. Every donation goes to very deserving people, and we are very
grateful for everything, however small!
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The Zimbabwean

'The Minister is hallucinating'

MBARE - Mr Chauya lived with his family in two rooms in a house in Mbare as
a lodger. When Murambatsvina struck he was at first not affected. But his
landlord lost some out-houses where some of his relatives had been staying.
So he asked Mr Chauya to move out and make room for these relatives.
He found a little cottage in Glen View. Then Murambatsvina reached Glen
View, and the Chauya family was left homeless a second time. Now he and his
children - the wife went back home - are staying out in the open, without a
roof over their heads. He would love to come back to Mbare. But the rents
have gone through the roof, $500 000 for one room. He has a job in a
factory. Going to his rural home is no option. A government minister has
said no one suffers, all are being care of by Operation Garikayi (new houses
being built in record time). That is cloud cuckoo land. The minister is
hallucinating. Those houses do not exist yet. And he knows very well that
they will be for party cadres only. Which Mr Chauya, a very active Catholic,
is not.

Cautiously women venture back onto the streets of Mbare again selling
vegetables and fruits last week, just a few at a time in case they have to
run. If you are caught you are arrested. In certain parts policemen even
enter houses and demand to see if the owners are hiding anything they might
want to sell on the streets. Mrs Dambudzo used to sell paraffin, now she was
trying to sell eggs. But this police intrusion into her house has left her
shaken. She just does not have the nerve any more to defy the police. "They
are trying to finish us off," she says, trembling, almost crying. "The
stress is too much, that is why so many are sick with BP (blood pressure)."

There are still plenty of people on a wide open space near Jo'burg lines.
With a few pieces of furniture, some corrugated iron sheets, some wooden
planks and bits of plastic they fashion some sort of shelter. There are no
toilets, there is no water. If they ask landlords nearby for the use of
their toilets and water they are asked to pay. Some women use the public
toilets. During day time they are being chased away, so they go late at
night. Which is dangerous: they might be assaulted, even raped.

These are the slum conditions which the "Operation Clean-up" has not done
away with. It has created them. Local radio stations call the regime's
assault on its own people "slum clearance", or "demolition of shanty-towns".
That is quite misleading. Harare suburbs like Mbare, Glen Norah, Kuwadzana,
and Chitungwiza are not slums or shanty-towns. The dwellings that were
demolished were mostly quite civilized little cottages with electricity. The
regime has not solved the problem of homelessness and overcrowding. It has
managed to make the problem infinitely worse. - - Oskar Wermter SJ, In
Touch, Jesuit Communications
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The Zimbabwean
ZNA guards Congo’s Kabila
front page
The Presidential Guard
LONDON - A detachment of the Zimbabwean Presidential Guard is now providing close security for the youthful Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President, Joseph Kabila. It is not known why General Kabila has decided to put his life into the hands of the Zimbabwean National Army (ZNA) rather than those of Congolese nationals.
The Presidential Guard detachment is under the command of Lt. Colonel Richard Sauter, a 5th dan Tai Kwando expert and formerly the Guard’s unarmed combat trainer. Sauter is known to have spent several years in North Korea, and has several medals in the sport of Tai Kwando.

According to highly placed sources in Harare, only a few people in the NA are aware of this unusual arrangement concerning this additional role of the Zimbabwean Presidential Guard. It is not clear how long the soldiers have been performing these duties, whether they are being paid in their personal capacities, whether other individuals in the ZNA are receiving payment or whether there is a government-to-government agreement and how payment is being effected under the terms of such an agreement.

The detachment guarding Kabila numbers about 50 men, said the sources. However, their outfit is not renowned for its bravery. When President Mugabe’s residence was attacked in the early 1980s by disenchanted Zipra cadres, most of them took to their heels while the Police Support Unit mounted a spirited resistance.

Joseph Kabila’s father, Laurent Kabila (who shot his way to power during a rebellion against the corrupt and tyrannical rule of Mobutu Sese Seko), was killed by a member of his personal bodyguard. He was flown to Harare for emergency medical treatment after the attack, but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Before his death, Kabila’s regime had been propped up for a number of years by thousands Zimbabwean, Namibian and Angolan troops, who fought against Ugandan and Rwandese-backed rebels. For several years, in the late 1990’s, there were up to 11 000 Zimbabwean troops in the DRC – costing the country an estimated US$1million a day to equip, feed and transport.

Just this week President Mugabe announced that the country’s defence forces would be buying more weapons from China and other Asian countries “to replace equipment destroyed in the wars we have been involved in”.

It has never been officially revealed how the services to the DRC were paid for, but a United Nations report on massive looting of diamond mines in the country named a number of key political and military figures in Zimbabwe.

It is common knowledge that the ZNA owns a diamond mining company, Osleg, in partnership with ruling party ministers, which is operational in the DRC.

The sources said an American national, who has interests in the diamond business, had recently moved to Harare where two former ZNA generals and top members of Zanu (PF) have been seen going in and out.

“The American (name supplied) is the grandson of a well-known American film star who made his name in a number of B-grade cowboy movies a generation ago,” said the source.

“He has a 250 kva transformer to provide electricity for his extensive low-density suburb property. Why so much power? Are they perhaps processing diamonds on the premises?” he asked.

Could it be that the Presidential Guard is not so much keeping Kabila safe, as keeping an eye on him on behalf of their commander-in-chief?
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The Zimbabwean

Bennett urges more support
LONDON - Roy Bennett, the former MDC MP visiting the UK after being freed
from jail in Zimbabwe, spent Saturday at the Vigil, which he instigated at a
meeting in London three years ago.
Addressing exultant supporters on a warm, sunny day, Bennett was upbeat
about prospects for change. But he expressed disappointment that more
Zimbabweans were not attending the Vigil. Looking fit after his gruelling
eight months in prison, he said he was disgusted that Zimbabweans abroad
were not taking the opportunity to draw attention to the situation in
Zimbabwe. "It is your country. We are in meltdown and you must fight for
your rights. We need to be at one to rebuild Zimbabwe."

Wearing Vigil t-shirts Bennett and his wife, Heather, took part in a
symbolic "queue for freedom" of Vigil supporters stretched out along the
pavement from the door of the Embassy.

Among the many well wishers who stopped by were two Brazilians, who
certainly changed the rhythm of our drumming for a while. We were also
joined by a friendly Caribbean who, after looking at our notice board saying
we would continue until there were free and fair elections in Zimbabwe, said
we'd have a long time to wait. We think not.

FOR THE RECORD: about 40 supporters came today.
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The Zimbabwean

Searching forex, fuel, food, friends
HARARE - The beggar President of Zimbabwe, "Professor" Mugabe, has really
become a national embarrassment. Desperate to get the crumbs that fall from
the tables of nations that are more politically stable and economically
better managed, Mugabe is running from one country to another in search of
foreign currency, fuel, food and friends. He does not seem to be successful
since all of the above are still in grave shortage in Mugabe's sovereign
state. Apart from a pitiful US$6 million for the purchase of food for the
poor, Mugabe came back from China empty-handed, except, of course, for the
ridiculous "professorship" that he was awarded for, inter alia, research in
international relations? I am sure the Chinese government were simply
playing a practical joke on the old man - he knows nothing about research.
South Africa seems to be ready to give its poor northern neighbour a loan of
US$500 million in the spirit of good neighbourliness, or is South Africa
buying several Zimbabwean assets for a song? Namibia is also likely to be
asked for a loan, and Sam Nujoma is obviously going to put in a good word
for us to his successor. This makes me wonder why Botswana, which has
literally billions of dollars in "reserve", is not being approached for a
hefty loan as well. The government of Botswana is well known to be
unsympathetic to the Mugabe regime, which is causing that peaceful country
endless headaches as Zimbos cross the border in huge numbers, legally and
illegally, in search of peace, security and a taste of democracy.

What befuddles the mind is why Mugabe fails to comprehend the magnitude of
the suffering that he is inflicting upon Zimbabweans by his continued and
unwelcome over-stay at State House. Some naughty friends of mine have
informed me that the old man spends most of his time sleeping, even during
daytime. At his advanced age, that is quite understandable. A wise person
would, however, realise that it is time for him to retire from active duty
and allow a younger person to take over the running of the nation. The more
desperate the situation becomes, the more inclined he is to stay in office.
He actually believes that without him in charge, Zimbabwe would crumble like
a deck of cards He totally fails to realise that he is the curse of this

It is a futile exercise to urge Mugabe to engage in dialogue with the
opposition MDC. Mugabe is himself very reluctant to talk to the opposition
party, since he knows that the only item on the agenda of such talks would
be his speediest exist from political office. The MDC is well aware that the
ultimate solution to Zimbabwe's ever- increasing problems is Mugabe's
departure from the presidential post that he has occupied for a quarter of a
century. Anything short of that will be but a temporary reprieve.

Undaunted by the collapse that surrounds him, Mugabe stubbornly goes on to
propose pieces of legislation such as the Constitution Amendment Bill No.
17, which seeks to nationalise all land in Zimbabwe and deprive Zimbabweans
of numerous basic rights. Several spirited submissions have been made to the
parliamentary committee responsible for this piece of trash, but it is
obvious that the Bill will sail through Parliament. It does not make any
sense to erode the people's rights at a time when the nation is reeling
under such bad management as Mugabe has practised since his ascendancy to
power. The devil tempts man to be wicked that he may punish him for being so
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The Zimbabwean

We will not be modified
HARARE - 'I don't want to see you here on Monday.' These words of a police
officer to a person transported to Caledonia Farm in the recent
Murambatsvina rang in my ears all weekend. The man's home was bulldozed, his
livelihood ruined and he was removed. Now, after a few weeks in the open, he
is just told to go and he knows the consequences if he does not comply. So
he comes to ask for help. One cannot refuse someone in great need but the
assistance is given with great anger, because it is all so unnecessary. This
is not a natural disaster like drought or locusts. It is man-made.
We are getting tired of speaking and writing about the relentless government
campaign against its own people. In the search for understanding the word
that keeps coming is 'rejection.' The people have rejected us so we will
reject the people. They are not the people we want. The playwright Bertolt
Brecht wrote of the communist government in East Germany after the rising in
1953, 'it is dissolving the people and creating a new one.'

We can draw sinister conclusions from present events. We know about genetic
engineering, which radically modifies seeds and how they interact with their
environment. Similarly we are now seeing social engineering, which seems to
be an attempt to create a compliant people, moulded to behave in the way Big
Brother wants. Perhaps we have not left 1984 behind us after all.

It won't work, of course; people aren't seeds. They modify according to
their environment but they do it by choice. You can brow beat and condition
some people some of the time, like our police friend above, but you can't do
it to all the people all the time. It is not a permanent solution. So why
even attempt it? The answer to this question leads us into such dark motives
that it might be better to move on and remember the Book Fair.

Yes, the Book Fair. Last week two hundred people crowded into a room in the
Monomotapa, (why do they always underestimate numbers?), for the official
opening. Dr Frene Ginwala, former speaker of the South African Parliament,
spoke passionately about the duty of writers to 'meet the people's needs.'
She recalled that African writers flourished in the decades that embraced
independence but that later African governments felt threatened and writers
found themselves in prison or exile. She felt that 10 years into
independence in her own country South African writers were failing to
respond to the expectations of the people.

What of Zimbabwe? The evening opened with two serious but hilarious poems
performed by Albert Nyathi, which among other things called us a nation of
queuers. The house erupted in laughter. No, we are not going to be modified.
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The Zimbabwean

Welcome aboard Air Zim
FLIGHT UM 9724 Harare - Gatwick. Departing 07.25 20th July, Arriving Gatwick

HARARE - We got up at 4am as we had to be at the airport two hours before
our departure at 7.30am. It was then announced that we would be departing at
10am. We are given breakfast... no explanation, no apology. The plane was
delayed and yet it was sitting on the apron linked up to the 'corridor'. OK
10am - not to bad. We see the crew leaving the plane pulling their
pull-along cases behind them. We see the Catercraft truck taking the lunch
trolleys off the plane! Then the information changes on the computer
display. The time of departure is given as 12 noon.

OK. Not a train smash. We are given lunch, and told an announcement will be
given at 2 pm, 2pm comes - no announcement. Then we hear a whisper over the
loud speakers - they are not working. They are 'pianissimo speakers'.
Everyone runs to the centre of the large waiting area where one speaker IS a
loud speaker. The plane will leave at 4pm, no apology, no explanation.
Children are getting fractious and a woman with a sick child is getting
desperate. The passenger whose father is in ICU in the US is distraught as
she has to catch a connecting flight to USA to see him before he dies.. She
asks Air Zim if she can take another flight out. You can, they say, but no

The information computer says the flight will leave at apology, no
information. The plane is sitting forlornly on the apron, there is NO
activity at all around it.

On the desk at Gate 3 is a notice which reads something like this "Should
your plane be delayed for two hours or more you are entitled to an
explanation and refund. Please speak to the person responsible"

But wait. Then we spy a bowser driving up to it. HOORAY we must be going
shortly. Everyone rushes to the windows! A young man strolls up and says:
"Don't get excited. They are actually pumping fuel OUT of the plane to take
around the corner to put in the plane going to Lusaka so that it can get
there." This statement was never verified so it may not be true.

At 4.30pm my husband, normally very uncomplaining, says 'zvakwana' (enough).
Where is the airport manager? He must give an explanation to the 200
passengers wanting to know what the hell is going on AND we would like tea
and coffee. A rather terrified looking woman wearing a Air Zimbabwe jacket
says OK I will organize it. The rather sleepy waiter at the empty restaurant
springs into action and rushes off, so he says, to collect T bags. We think
he rushed off to see who the hell was going to pay for the 200 cups of tea
and cokes and muffins and water that the almost demented crowd demands!

Still the airport manager cannot be found, Bob is sent from one lounge to
the other. We think he must be hiding somewhere, for fear of being lynched
by the now fed up passengers. He was never found...still no apology, no
reason given, though we have a sneaking suspicion what it may be. Either the
President wants to go to a conference somewhere and needs the plane, or no

The info goes up on the computer, Flight UM 9724 will depart at 20.00 hrs.
People are phoning frantically from their cell phones to tell their loved
ones that the plane has now been delayed 12 and half hours.

We then see out of the window another plane being towed into position about
20 meters from 'our' forlorn plane. Everyone rushes to the window. Our
baggage is being offloaded and put on the other plane and: 'Look a man is
cleaning the windows of the cockpit'. When was this one last used? The
Catercraft truck arrives. This must be the 'dinner' arriving... Things are
looking up! But 20.00h comes and goes - still no apology, no information.

I see a rather official looking man and ask him if he would please tell the
passengers what is going on. To my absolute chagrin he is laughing
hysterically, "What are you worried about ha ha hee hee, you are going on
that plane."

"When" I ask him with tears in my eyes. "Ha ha hee", he chortles, "ask those
workers over there" - pointing to the bewildered passport checkers sitting
at a desk. And he disappears, shrieking with laughter.

It is 9.30pm and two fuel trucks appear. Hallelujah! Everyone rushes to the
window. We board the plane. All we are told is that the 'direct' flight is
leaving. But it is not direct anymore. We will be landing at Entebbe to pick
up fuel. Hopefully we will have enough to get to Entebbe, and when there we
hope they will let us have the fuel on the 'never never never never' ! The
7.30am flight departed at 10.00pm.

WELCOME aboard Air Zimbabwe the In Flight magazine says.

The half hour promised stop in Entebbe, turned into an hour's stop. We will
never know why but we did take off and we had a very pleasant flight - and
lived to tell this tale. The cabin staff was excellent and the meal was
delicious. I did get a bit jumpy when the plane shuddered now and then .
turbulence I kept telling myself!

We arrived at Gatwick at 10.30 am . As we arrived the purser apologised for
the delay - 25 and a half hours after checking in at the airport - saying
"people from Zimbabwe would understand!" Do we? The question we should be
asking is that if there is not enough money for fuel, how can there be money
for spare parts and maintenance?
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The Zimbabwean

Megalomania reigns
It would appear these are the last days of Pompeii. The ancient Greeks got
it right when they said those whom the gods would destroy they first make
mad. Megalomania undoubtedly now has a strangle hold on those in power in
Total control seems to be the government's over-riding aim as things fall
apart all around them. The rash of proposed new legislation set to come
before the current sitting of parliament is nothing but a desperate
clutching at straws - a megalomaniacal grasping for control of everything at
any cost.

Take for example, the amendments to the Education Act. Government schools
and other institutions of learning, including the once-reputable University
of Zimbabwe, have failed abysmally. Yet, instead of devising new ways of
stopping the rot and resurrecting what was the envy of the region, Mugabe
and his bootlicking minister of education, have used their energies to
promulgate the most fantastic legislation.

This proposes - among other things - to regulate the fees charged by private
schools, a common uniform for all pupils in the whole country and a
shortlist of approved associations to which teachers may belong. No doubt
this will lead to a further brain drain of the few remaining capable and
dedicated teachers from the country. Most of these are currently in the
private sector. Evidently the government wishes to reduce every institution
of learning in the country to the lowest possible denominator.

Another example, the NGO bill - proposed amendments thereto - aims to
control and regulate the activities of all NGOs in the country, dictating
where they can get money from, how they can spend it, and banning certain
fields of operation such as human rights and voter education.

Truckloads of food and blankets, destined for the hundreds of thousands left
homeless and hungry, by government brutality, are stuck on the South African
side of the border. The reason? - they do not have the correct certificates
regarding their genetic modification status. This obsession with petty rules
and worthless pieces of paper - which can be bought for a 'fee' from any
government office - seems to have reached epidemic proportions at every
echelon of the administration.

Mugabe's control mania would appear to extend even to his neighbouring
counterparts. We learnt with incredulity this week that members of the
Presidential Guard are minding the DRC's President Joseph Kabila. Of all the
crazy control mechanisms this one perhaps make the most sense - control of
the diamond mines must surely be number one priority.
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The Zimbabwean

Shrill defence of Murambatsvina
HARARE - Latest coverage by the state-run media of Operation Murambatsvina
(Drive out Filth) consisted mainly of condemnations of the damning UN report
and shrill defences of the Mugabe regime's urban demolitions and forced
removals, Zimbabwe's media watchdog reported.
In contrast, the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ) said in its weekly
report covering July 25-31, the private media mostly endorsed the UN report.
The Financial Gazette and The Standard called on the regime 'to accept its
mistakes and mend fences with the rest of the international community'.

The monitoring project has chronicled the state media's distorted coverage
of the operation since it began. This included passively reporting
outlandish claims by Mugabe's ministers and other officials that a
reconstruction programme is underway; and ignoring the human misery caused
by the exercise, including the dumping of families evicted from Porta Farm
and Bulawayo churches in rural areas.

In similar fashion, the state media turned a blind eye July 25-31 to more
evidence of Zanu (PF)'s intolerance of opposition and the continued
harassment of MDC officials. For example, ZBH and The Herald ignored an
assault by Zanu (PF) activists on the MDC member of Parliament for Mbare,
Gift Chimanikire, during the reopening of Mbare Retail Market. Instead, The
Herald's coverage focussed on a speech by Vice President Joseph Msika
claiming that 'government will not discriminate against members of the
opposition' in its so-called reconstruction programme.

The Herald chose to treat the police raid on the home of the MDC's election
expert, Topper Whitehead, as a news brief carried on Page 10, said the
monitoring project. The Daily Mirror, the Independent and Studio 7, however,
all reported that police had confiscated material which could have provided
evidence of how the 2002 presidential election was rigged.

Mugabe's begging bowl trips to South Africa, China and Namibia - desperately
seeking a multi-million dollar bail out - were also portrayed by the state
media as if they were not linked to the economic crisis.

The monitoring project counted 28 reports in the state media hailing the
trip to China - which refused Mugabe a massive loan - as 'successful', while
providing scant information to back this up. The reports consisted of vague
assertions that the country's mining, transport and road sectors were set
for 'a major transformation as Chinese companies have expressed an interest
in investing' in them.

"The government media's supine coverage of these trade agreements reflected
the way they covered the rest of the problems bedevilling the economy," said
the MMPZ.
"They carried 43 reports that glossed over the country's food insecurity,
the galloping cost of living, and its purported thawing relations with
international financial institutions."

The private media, however, linked Mugabe's China trip and the Zimbabwe
appeal to South Africa for a big bailout directly to the economic crisis.
The Independent reported that Mugabe has 'failed to get a rescue package he
had hoped for'. Studio 7 carried remarks by economist Godfrey Kanyenze that
Zimbabwe was 'signing off its wealth without tangible benefits'.
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The Zimbabwean

Nyanga's glorious mountains
NYANGA - Now you may think mountains in Africa are like any other mountains
of the world, but you are wrong! Mountains in Africa are sacred places to be
shared with, and protected by, the spirit world and ancient gods. In Nyanga
National Park, the Eastern Highlands mountains, which rise majestically to
an altitude of 2 592 metres at Mount Inyangani, still guard and treasure
ancient agricultural terraces, ritual sites and massive hilltop 'castles'
where 'kings' or, more correctly, hereditary chiefs, lived in great luxury.
Although they often ruled their tribal families with what we would think was
harsh justice, each consecutive chief had a responsibility to settle
domestic disputes and protect his subjects from any threat of war, disease
and famine, as they farmed the unprotected plains below the hills, living
with their animals in warm, secure pit dwellings.

Evidence of all these well-preserved ruins are scattered throughout the 100
000 acres of the Nyanga National Park, which lies at the northern end of the
Eastern Highlands.

The Park is a magnificent living masterpiece of natural and planted forests,
protected game, balancing rocks, sparkling streams, and moors where wild
herbs, crushed as you walk across virgin land, release a unique perfume that
is the essence of Nyanga.

To reach Nyanga, one travels 160kms south down through the once highly
productive highveld farmlands of crops, cattle and planted forests. Travel
through old coach stops at Ruwa, Bromley, Marondera, Macheke and Headlands
to Rusape where you turn left towards the mountains. Just after Rusape there
is a side turning signposted 'Hunter's Bow Road, Diana's Vow Rock Paintings'.
Follow this Old Nyanga Road for some 29 km and you will find one of the most
remarkable displays of rock art in Zimbabwe, some experts say in the world!

Painted by the San people, often erroneously called Bushmen, over 10 000
years ago, the paintings are comprehensive, detailed and amazingly
colourful. They include a very unusual drawing of a reclining Chief. Then
some delightful pink elephant paintings are to be found in a cave further on
towards Nyanga but sadly these are rapidly deteriorating because all the
protective bushes have been cut away to allow visitors to see the paintings
in full. However the harsh noon sun has bleached out many of these works of

Quite close to the Diana's Vow Rock Art site is a well-preserved stonewalled
heritage site on Harleigh Farm. Traditionally called Chipadzi, the buildings
and walls were constructed by two different communities, one in the 14th
century and the other in the 17th century. Chipadzi is a serene and
beautiful site and it is a pity that more people have not enjoyed its
dignified and elegant testimony to the craftsmanship of the master
stonemasons of the past.

Return now to the main road and the magical 94 kms journey to Nyanga, which
takes you through farmlands and onto Juliasdale. This is a relaxing tourist
area which boasts a few shops, a service station and an enchanting church
overlooking a beautiful valley.

Nestling in its valley, Nyanga town was one of the first settlements to be
established in the area and comprises two separate areas: an administration
block which includes government offices and support services such as roads
and water supplies, a hospital, prison and schools together with low cost
housing. Then there is a thriving commercial sector providing private
housing, shops, library and a small but comprehensive industrial site. One
extra benefit is the development of a comfortable, holiday complex where
Zimbabweans can slip away for an affordable family holiday.

But now it is time to turn off onto the magnificent mountain road, which
sweeps and climbs round the breathtaking valleys and up mountains until you
reach another small village close to the 5-star rated Troutbeck Hotel. Today's
modern hotel stands on the site where the first hotel was built in the early
1900s when, believe it or not, the area was virtually treeless! The present
building now stands overlooking a tranquil lake, surrounded by pine trees
and wattle and, in the far distance, a Swiss-type chalet straddles a deep
gully and cascading waterfalls. Nearby, a fine golf course offers a steep
challenge and stables that retain a fine selection of horses for a hack
through the surrounding hills.

There are some modest facilities in the area, a few shops, a church and
service station that serve the small community living in the vicinity and
beyond in the very beautiful fruit farming areas on the downs further along
the road towards Mozambique. Travelling on and upward still further you come
to the ring road circling the beautiful Connemara trout lakes.

Evening is the best time to visit the breath-taking World's View. As you
stand on the viewing point, all you can do is gaze silently at the almost
unearthly panorama of endless mountains. The enormous valley below is
slashed by one long road and dotted with monopoly-sized grass huts. It is
tinged by the spirals of blue smoke slowly rising from a hundred village
fires, as the whole magnificent canvas is set ablaze by the luminous
red-gold fingers of an African sunset. You cannot speak but only wonder at
the marvels of a country called Zimbabwe.
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The Zimbabwean

Folk tales - a creative device
I remember many years ago being accused of being too critical of President
Robert Mugabe's leadership style and economic and social policies. The usual
accusation was: you are being too harsh with this government. If Mugabe
goes, there is no one intelligent enough to take over, the arguments went.
To which I responded that there were over twelve million Zimbabweans capable
of running the country since that is the only job for which one does not
need any formal qualifications.

A repressive political regime forces energetic writers to create new,
visible and invisible metaphors. When repressive laws were passed to include
a ban on criticising the president, I decided to go back to the traditional
folk tale as a device to fight the law. African folk tales are a valuable
tool to beat the system creatively. And there are many more tools to use.
For example, in southern Africa, there was always the praise-poet, a free
spirit who not only praised the king, but used his harsh tongue and poetic
skills to chastise him publicly. And traditionally the praise poet was never
arrested or imprisoned because most African civilizations did not have

Much as they pretend to dislike the West, African dictators will be forever
grateful to the colonizers for giving them handcuffs, a standing army of
police and military men, and of course, prisons - these are their
instruments for humiliating political opponents, not vehicles of conveying
justice to the citizenry.

Once upon a time, the story says, in the land of animals, the monkey used to
boast about its ability to climb the tallest tree in the land. He invited
other animals to join him so they could look at the beauty of the landscape
from above. The Sheep, Monkey's good friend, said he would rather not
venture up trees. He preferred to be on the solid ground to see and touch
reality. Some animals tried to join Monkey in tree climbing, but they could
not go as high as Monkey could. So, they gave up, while warning Monkey on
the dangers of going too far high up the trees.

And one day Monkey found the tallest tree. His climbing skills urged him to
climb and show the rest that he was the best tree climber in the world.
Refusing the warnings of the other animals, Monkey went on higher and
higher - until he felt he could touch the sky.

All the animals were under the tree, admiring Monkey as he climbed. 'Stop!
It is enough!' they warned him. But he would not listen. When he had climbed
to the top of the tree, he celebrated and danced on the branches, shaking
all the leaves and flowers up there. But when he looked down where he had
come from, every animal was in fits of laughter. The cows, the goats, the
elephants, the lions, every one of them were dying of laughter.

As Monkey returned to the ground, he asked why they were laughing so much.
"The higher the monkey climbs, the more it exposes its bottom," Sheep said,
in between outbursts of mirth. And so it is with power of any kind,
political or otherwise. The higher one ascends the tree of power, the more
the public have a chance to observe and scrutinize one's political or
economic bottom.

Adaptation of these innocent-looking tales, the use of provocative proverbs
and other wise sayings, these are some of the devices we inherited from the
ancient story-tellers. Like the proverbial rat, which bites your soles and
then blows on the wound to sooth the sufferer, tales and those old proverbs
and idioms are some of the new metaphors and imagery, which the writer in
oppressive situations finds useful.

Only recently, a Zimbabwean musician was in trouble for singing an innocent
song which celebrates old age. The song was called 'Bvuma', meaning
'acknowledge,' and narrated the natural cycle of birth, maturity and old
age -urging those who are old to remember that certain things they could do
in their youth cannot be performed in old age. One has the duty and
responsibility to acknowledge aging as a natural process, which is

On hearing rumours that the president was unwell, the government spokesman
told the public that 'President is as fit as a teenager' at the age of 81.
Unfortunately, most of our teenagers are wasting away with malnutrition or

When the song came out, the political interpreters were sure the song
referred to our Life President, Mugabe. The musician was haunted by the
presidential youth militia, being at one time barred from performing

Despite the censorship of bad economic policies which deprive people of
money to buy books, despite the burden of illiteracy which is deliberately
inflicted on the people so that they are not able to read their own
constitution and learn about their basic human rights, an African writer
continues to write. Despite the fear instilled in the hearts of the people,
an African writer continues to search for the hidden smiles, which linger in
the hearts of the oppressed.

When concentration camps are nicely called 'transit camps', when a country
is reduced to 'a maximum security prison' when historical lies are called
're-education', when human beings are called 'filth', one writes in order to
fight to continue naming things by their proper names, in order to cleanse
defiled language and decaying human imagination.
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The Zimbabwean

Unmask Zimbabwe's true enemy
MASVINGO - Zimbabwe's real enemy is not Robert Mugabe, far from it. Mugabe
is just an accomplice, the inside man - and since he is an old, senile and
desperate man, he is probably not even aware that he is being used by a man
in whom he has invested so much trust and faith.
People should analyse Zimbabwe, and see who exactly is benefiting from the
situation. Who stands to benefit from the continued economic depression of
southern Africa's once fastest-growing economy? Who would lose if,
overnight, Zimbabwe's economic woes were to be reversed?

Wars, the world over, are bankrolled by people who are far from where they
are fought. These are the people who derive direct benefits from the chaos
and the continued fighting. These warlords will blow trumpets that they are
helping the trouble spots. They will always seek short-term solutions to big
problems, distract attention and misdirect blame. They nurture a dependency
syndrome, to make you rely on them and lose focus in trying to seek
solutions of your own. In their book, peace talks are the poison that kills
the hens laying their golden eggs, and they should fail at any cost - or at
least they should drag on and on.

When Zimbabwe attained independence in 1980, we inherited an economy from
the Smith regime that still had its structures in place, even after a
14-year assault by our freedom fighters. For 14 years, and especially the
last eight, we targeted infrastructure and economic targets. Our aim was to
unhinge the economic bolts of the country and bring it to an economic
standstill. Aided by the fact that the international community, except South
Africa of course, had taken heed of our call and imposed sanctions on the
Smith regime, we were bound to succeed.

Smith surrendered the reigns of Zimbabwe's power to Robert Gabriel Mugabe,
the then charismatic leader who earned international respect when he adopted
a policy of reconciliation - all this a decade before Madiba got out of
prison, when our currency was valued at one British pound to two Zimbabwean
dollars. In the decades after independence, Zimbabwe was the fastest-growing
economy in Africa.

Then came the direct and protracted assault on the economy that made the
14-year guerrilla attacks look like child's play. This time the economy had
no one to defend it, not even Smith and his soldiers. South Africa, which
had tried to prop up the Smith regime economically and militarily, launched
attacks on Zimbabwe's economic targets well into Zimbabwe's independence
under the guise of attacking ANC hiding places.

I remember vividly an economic standoff between South Africa and Zimbabwe
which nearly turned ugly when it got into a bickering between Presidents
Mugabe and Mandela: South Africa did not want to revise their trade policies
and allow Zimbabwe to compete on an equal footing. All the trade policies
South Africa has with its neighbours are heavily in their favour.

Zimbabwe occupied a strategic geographic position that South Africa envied.
Zambia and the then Zaire (now DRC) were, and are, lucrative markets because
their industries are either non-existent or too small to satisfy domestic
demand. Zimbabwe's products were gaining a market up north with ease,
whereas South African products needed to either pass through Zimbabwe or
endure longer and more costly. There is talk now that South Africa virtually
owns the railway running through Zambia into the DRC.

What really has changed about South Africa? It's still attacking neighbours,
isn't it? The fact that its attacks are economic and not military make it
even worse because military attacks were once or twice a year, whereas
economic attacks never see retreats, they stay and kill on a daily basis.
Look at Mozambique today, and see who is running the show. De Beers, the
company holding the major stake in Botswana's diamond wealth, is South
African. South Africa virtually destroyed the Hyundai assembly plant in
Botswana by stopping potential buyers, and shipped the equipment to South

In Zimbabwe now, everything is made in South Africa. Olivine industries used
to manufacture cooking oil, now we have to import it from South Africa.
Lever Brothers used to manufacture soap, now we import it from South Africa.
Even toothpaste has to come from South Africa. South African products
replaced our products on the shop shelves, they took little time to replace
our products in Zambia and the DRC.

When the international community was imposing sanctions on Rhodesia,
complementing our efforts to push for majority rule, South Africa was there,
throwing spanners into our works. Today, South Africa is still here,
reversing the little headway that Zimbabweans are making in pushing for
democracy. While everybody is putting pressure on Zimbabwe's ruling mafia
(except the Chinese, of course; these guys are overcrowded back home and
will miss no opportunity to go wherever their money can take them), South
Africa is there employing 'quiet diplomacy', shoring up the crumbling
dictatorship, putting bribes into its pocket, sweet-talking every
well-meaning organization and country that everything is under control.

Thabo Mbeki should look in the mirror and ask himself if he wants to have
the blood of 16 million plus Zimbabweans on his hands, just for the money.
South Africa wants to avail a US$500 million credit facility to Zimbabwe;
what for? That's certainly not enough to feed all the Zimbabweans in the
country; it will only be enough to sustain Mugabe in power.

The IMF, the World Bank and the international community are trying their
best to isolate Mugabe, and what does South Africa do? It gives him money,
so the IMF cannot force democracy on to him, and burdens every Zimbabwean
through generations with repaying debts. This is sickening: South Africa,
pretending be our real brother when it's the sole beneficiary of our

For once, Thabo, the world deserves to know the truth and save lives whilst
they still can be saved. People, children included, are dying in Zimbabwe
daily due to a lack of medical attention. They sleep with no roofs over
their heads, in this cold winter, because their homes have been demolished.
Now we know our real enemy. It's really a good thing South Africa never
changed its name, it's still the South Africa we have always fought in the
past, our real lifelong enemy.
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Comment from ZWNEWS, 11 August

Conditional support

SA government spokesman Joel Netshitenzhe reacted angrily to critics who
suggest that the loan to Zimbabwe did not have conditions attached. "It is
well known that all international loans attract some conditionality," said
Mr Netshitenzhe. "It is an insult to our intelligence and experience in
international finance to suggest that we would give an unconditional loan."
Pushed to reveal the conditions, Mr Netshitenzhe said that he would not
reveal all the details. "Although this is South African taxpayers' money, it
would be wrong to disclose what is essentially a commercial transaction.
However, he did clarify what he referred to as "standard conditionality"
surrounding any loan. Firstly, the Zimbabwean government insisted that they
would not accept the loan unless it was agreed that it would not have to be
repaid. "In the post-Gleneagles climate, we had no difficulty accepting this
condition," he said. "The G8 agreed that debt forgiveness is necessary for
development. South Africa has moved this progressive agenda forward, by
forgiving debts before they are incurred." Secondly, the Zimbabwean
government had insisted that 20 per cent of the loan should be paid directly
into a bank account in the Easter Islands. "Cabinet debated this condition
at length, since we believe that the normal off-take on such loans is 10%,"
said Mr Netshitenzhe. "However, recognising the effects of targeted
sanctions upon the Zimbabwean leadership, we felt that a small additional
premium to make up for past lost income was reasonable."

Thirdly, the Zimbabwean government had insisted that there should be no
political interference in their sovereign affairs. "We initially felt that
this was going too far," said Mr Netshitenzhe. "The IMF and World Bank have
established that all loans should carry political conditionality. However,
the Zimbabwean negotiators clarified that this meant there should be no
interference in their sovereign's affairs. We have no intention of telling
President Mugabe how to run his personal life, and thus readily agreed."
Asked if this meant that the SA government would in fact play a more active
role in Zimbabwean politics, Mr Netshitenzhe responded in the affirmative.
"For example, we have agreed to sponsor the next Zanu PF Congress," he said.
"We cannot face the embarrassment of a neighbouring ruling party unable to
function normally simply because it is bankrupt."

He also pointed out that by diverting money from low cost housing in South
Africa, the ANC was creating a situation in which it will shortly be able to
embark on its own slum-clearance campaign. "Operation Ukwalancekeza will not
only allow SA to uplift our own people, but will demonstrate once and for
all the deep commitment to Zimbabwe's welfare demonstrated by Zanu PF during
Operation Murambatsvina," he said. "We hope to undertake these measures
before the next presidential elections in Zimbabwe, thereby persuading the
Zimbabwean electorate to continue giving Zanu PF their wholehearted
support." Finally when asked what the loan would be used for, Mr
Netshitenzhe replied that the Zimbabwean government had initially imposed
the condition that it should be used for importing defence equipment from
China. "We dug our heels in over this," he said. "We persuaded them that if
the loan was used to pay off IMF arrears, they would be able to divert other
funds into armaments procurement. They accepted this, with the small proviso
that we arrange for former Vice-President Zuma and Mr Shabir Shaik to assist
them. We readily accepted this condition."
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