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

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      Journalists Warn of Human Rights Agenda “Hijack” After United Nations Suspends NGO
      Media release 11 August 2003
      Journalists Warn of Human Rights Agenda “Hijack” After United Nations
Suspends NGO

      The year-long suspension of a press freedom group from the United
Nations Commission on Human Rights provides “worrying evidence of a major
crisis for press freedom at world level,” said the International Federation
of Journalists today.

      “It looks increasingly as though the UN human rights agenda is being
hijacked by governments dedicated to censorship and intolerance of dissent,”
said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary.

      The IFJ has written to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and to the UN
High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio Vieira de Mello about the
suspension of the Paris-based group Reporters Sans Frontiers which staged a
protest during a meeting of the commission in March to protest over the
decision to let Libya chair the commission.

      The group’s consultative status with the commission was suspended on
July 24 for one year on a split vote after a request by Libya and Cuba.

      “We may not agree with the style of protest,” said White, “but this
suspension is wholly unjustified. The fact that behind it are regimes with
an appalling record on human rights and much to hide on free expression
severely damages the credibility of the United Nations human rights

      Among the 27 country’s voting in favour were China, Iran, Pakistan,
Libya, Cuba and Zimbabwe, countries where journalists have been jailed,
censored or violently attacked in recent years. “It is a tragic sign of the
times that freedom to dissent which many of these countries have outlawed at
national level, is now being curtailed on a global level,” said White.

      The IFJ has also complained to Secretary General Annan that the UN
Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the body that took this decision,
never invited the French group to explain its action. “This denial of
natural justice adds to the overwhelming sense that this a decision out of
all proportion to the gravity of the offence and is motivated by spite from
some of the countries involved.”

      The IFJ says that the UN must move immediately to counter the view
that its human rights policies and actions are being directed by a core
group of countries that are resentful of international reports by press
freedom defenders who highlight their abuse of human rights.

      “If human rights policy has any future it must be in the hands of
governments with a credible record that are committed to democracy and
principles of free expression,” said White.

      Further information: + 32 2 235 22 00
      The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in more than 100

      Pièce jointe : UN030811_3f38a1bc01db0.doc
      Auteur : Sarah de Jong - Publié le 2003-08-12
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Happy Heroes Days! O happy heroes.
The weather is awesome, clear and sunny, no breeze, and you would think the nation is thriving.  Until you look on the pavements of every street in town, (with a bank in) and you will see the people waiting.  I do hope they went home for the weekend.  When I left town on Friday they were desperately waving for lifts.
Around the town you were used to seeing the pickups driving around with 20litre chigubus of fuel, and then later on, 44 gallon drums.  On Friday I saw the best yet.  Transparant 1000 litre drums (I am told they are the containers that carry the Coca Cola Secret Ingredients around the World) with a push-me-pull-you pump on top.  When I waved to ask what he was doing, he just gave me the clenched fist bent arm salute - I do hope it was up-theirs, not up-mine!  It seems that everyone has a contact now for fuel - and the govt is adamant that its someone else who is responsible for the money shortage.
Then on the way to Harare we saw these new grass shacks being built, at the 84-85 km pegs near Beatrice.  It puzzled us for a bit, because we're not that streetwise, and then we glimpsed the chigubus inside, and the man crossing the road from the lorry parked on the side of the road, swinging his plastic pipe - then we realised it was Siphon City!  I told the man who runs the Lorry Co, I wonder if he did anything about it.
They are all huddled over fires, because it was still cold - could be interesting one day.  Now I just wonder if there is any connection with those recent fires at Zesa and NRZ?  No, no, must be just a suspicious mind.
The wheat crops get more interesting by the day, I can't quite figure out if they planted for charity, or what, because with the pretty shade of blue, the six-inch plants starting to bear heads, and the huge patches of ground still showing, I think its not going to yield enough to cover costs - surely they have to at least pay the electricity bill?  Ah well, tighten the belt, not much bread next year.  Maybe I will lose weight at last,
But people are still doing things.  Buying fertiliser, which gets more expensive by the day - 30 000 per bag this week.  I was clearing out an old desk the other day, and found all our old fertiliser price lists (god knows what I was keeping them for),and I just could not bear to even look at the prices - I threw them straight in the boiler.  Kept me warm last night.  Mid August, and its still nippy at night.
Tonight I must go out and check Mars - maybe this phenomenon is to blame for all the short tempers these days.  There must be some reason.
Best wishes - I will be away for a couple of weeks, I'm going to South Africa, where you can buy a meal for a single note, (I hope) - where you can draw money from Banks, drive into a filling station and get fuel, shucks hopefully just forget about whats going on for a few days.  Have a conversation that doesnt hinge on the latest rumour, and how to get around the latest shortage.  Could be paradise.
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Outlets Reject Travellers Cheques

The Herald (Harare)

August 12, 2003
Posted to the web August 12, 2003

Brian Benza

SEVERAL retail outlets continue rejecting the newly introduced travellers
cheques in the city centre of Harare leaving most consumers who had banked
on the claims stranded.

The Government introduced the instruments as a way of easing the severe cash
shortage effect that has left thousands of Zimbabweans unable to access any
money from their banks.

Travellers' cheques were introduced into the financial system by the central
bank on Friday 8 August and all institutions in the country are required by
law to recognise the cheques as a legal tender.

The central bank has come under attack for not putting in place the proper
logistics with the intended end users and recipients of the instruments.

On Saturday, the only denomination that was reported to be available was the
$100 000, which could prove to be useless to the average person in Zimbabwe
as the amount is too high.

On average, a normal person would want to purchase groceries worth about $30
000 to $40 000 so how will the retailer be able to change the cheque and
give a customer cash worth more than the value of goods purchased, in these
times of bank note crisis.

"We have not received any formal communication from the responsible
authorities regarding the instruments which they say are as good as cash. So
we are in no position to accept them," said a shop manager with a retail
outlet on Mbuya neHanda Street in Harare.

The cheques are supposed to be in high denominations of $100 000, $50 000,
$20000, $10000 and $1000 are printed on bank note paper and have security
features to distinguish genuine ones from counterfeits.

One caller blamed the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for not having carried out a
thorough awareness programme for the instruments to be readily used for
transaction purposes.

"Management has given us the directive not to accept travellers' cheques as
we have only heard about them in the media and we do not even know how to
distinguish fake cheques from genuine ones" said a till operator with Food
Chain group supermarket.

Of late, the cases of fraudulently drawn cheques have been on the increase
especially in view of the pressing economic conditions which have seen con
men coming with new ideas of trickery.

The cautious approach being taken by the retailers could be justified.

The introduction of the cheques was timely coming as it did on the eve of
the public holidays but the latest development have brought back the gloomy
situation that existed before causing further untold suffering to the
general public.

"There was so much publicity about the instruments but I was surprised to
learn that holders of the cheques are being turned away by the retailers.

"So it means some people did not do their job of liaising with stakeholders
since this is a new feature to the country's financial system," said a
shopper at Food World.

Cash shortages gripped the country's banking system four months ago amid
reports that some retails were hoarding the notes and coins while others
suspected that the cash was being externalised by unscrupulous cross border

The Government has also set a September deadline for abolishing the top
denominated $500 note, which is being hoarded for black market trade.

Cross border traders have since admitted that they possess considerable
amounts of the local currency outside the country. They have already
appealed to the Government to lengthen the grace period for the phasing out
of the $500 bills.

At a press conference last week, the Minister of Finance and economic
Development Dr Herbert Murerwa said the central bank would be introducing
travellers cheques for customs duty payments following a ban by the
Government to take money out of the country.

The Government also intends to introduce a new $1 000 note as part of
measures to deal with the shortage of bank notes, which will coincide, with
the introduction of the new $500 bill.

Efforts to get a comment from the Ministry of Finance and Economic
Development and the Reserve Bank officials proved fruitless at the time of
going to Press yesterday.
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Country About to Overtake Zimbabwe as SA's Largest African Trading Partner

Business Day (Johannesburg)

August 12, 2003
Posted to the web August 12, 2003

Tim Cohen

ON HIS recent visit to SA, newly inaugurated Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki
raised in a public way SA's trade surplus with the west African country,
raising a thorny issue that has lingered in subtle subterranean tension
between developed SA and many other developing countries on the continent.

Is SA's trade surplus with Africa sustainable, or even desirable?

Normally, all countries would rigorously defend their trading positions
relative to other countries around the world. But when your exports to
imports reach proportions of 20 to one, the divide between healthy
competition and potential diplomatic breach becomes blurred.

But as with many trade issues, emotions tend to cloud the reality. In this
scenario, the reality is that SA's trade domination over the Africa is
actually diminishing rather than growing. But at the same time, it cannot be
gainsaid that SA's position remains rather too prevalent for comfort.

In rand terms, SA's trade with the continent has increased sharply since
1990, to the extent that the graph moves up steeply .

However, the truer picture is probably reflected in dollar terms, and here
SA's trade with the continent rose dramatically between 1990 and 1996, and
since then has levelled off. In fact, SA's trade with the continent was
larger in real terms in 1996 than it was last year, a consequence no doubt
of the strengthening rand.

Imports from the rest of the continent have also risen at a rapid rate in
rand terms, and have shown no tendency of letting up. In dollar terms,
continental exports to SA have never been higher than they were last year.

In effect, SA is becoming a viable market for African exporters. This
tendency is supported anecdotally by the profusion of nationalities now
living in SA.

But the disturbing aspect of the relationship is that the total proportion o
f exports to imports has always been and remains highly skewed in SA's
favour. And the proportions involved are not small.

Since 1990, SA's exports to the rest of the continent have exceeded imports
by a factor of between three and six times. Compare this to SA's
relationship to other countries around the world. SA's biggest trade deficit
with any single country is with Germany. But if you compare the first five
months of this year for example, the proportion of exports to imports from
Germany was nowhere near the levels regularly recorded with a host of
African states.

Although SA racked up goods worth R17bn from Germany this year, it also
managed exports to Germany of R7,5bn, resulting in imports being a little
more than twice exports. Compare this to SA's exports to Kenya in 2000 which
were 32 times the value of imports.

SA's trade with the continent is not huge, coming in at about 13% of total
trade. But it is interesting to compare the products sold to the different
regions. Raw materials still constitute the bulk of SA's trade with the
first world, whereas trade with Africa consists mainly of manufactured

SA's biggest single export item to Kenya last year was motor cars, with
spare parts also high up the list.

In effect, SA is building up manufacturing capacity through its trade with
Africa, an important step in gaining wider exposure, particularly in more
competitive markets.

In addition, while the total numbers might be small, a number of African
countries make the top 20 recipients of SA exports. Interestingly,
Mozambique is on the verge of ousting Zimbabwe as SA's largest trading
partner on the continent.

To some extent, African complaints against SA's trade dominance are
disingenuous. Despite this dominance, many African countries are in fact
running trade surpluses, including Kenya.

In other words, the overall trade picture remains positive and if Kenya, for
example, did not source its imports from SA, it would have to source those
same products from another country. The difference would be minimal.

What is more, the trend is in the right direction, with the overall trade
balance moving gradually in favour of African exporters to SA.

In fact, the total export to import proportion last year, just over three to
one, was the best the continent has ever achieved.

But while the numbers are not large for SA, they are in terms of the total
trade profile of SA's continental counterparts. It is hard to escape the
conclusion that SA is being less generous with countries on the continent
(outside of the customs union) than it might.
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Mail and Guardian

Mugabe praises army for crushing protests


      12 August 2003 14:55

President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday hailed Zimbabwe's military for
successfully crushing anti-government protests organised by the opposition
early this year, saying the army had helped secure stability.

Mugabe said the defence forces "maintained a high state of alert at all
times and were able to secure our peace and stability" when "there were
occurences of violence and clearly myopic demonstrations which sought ...
the overthrow of a democratically elected government".

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) -- which blames the
government for severe hardships gripping the country, including high
unemployment, runaway 360% inflation, shortages of fuel, food, money and
medicines -- this year organised mass anti-government strikes and marches.

But the marches never got off the ground, as security forces turned out in
force, and feared pro-government youth groups roamed the streets of the
southern African country.

Hundreds of opposition supporters, activists and officials, including MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, were arrested in June "Notwithstanding the
avalance of negative outpourings about Zimbabwe and the repeated efforts to
disturb our peace, our state security organs have always risen to the
occasion and continued to guarantee the existence of a peace [sic]
environment in the country," Mugabe said in a nationally broadcast speech to
mark Defence Forces Day on Tuesday.

"We mark this day with pride," Mugabe said, announcing that his government
would give priority to the modernisation of military equipment and
re-training of the army to strengthen the army's reaction capacity to any
external or internal aggression.

Zimbabwe has completed its withdrawal from the Democratic Republic of Congo
where some 12 000 troops were deployed between August 1998 and last year to
shore up government forces who faced an uprising from rebels. - Sapa-AFP
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Islam on line

     Zimbabwean Farmers Bag the Clouds

      By Emmanuel Koro

     A water harvesting method currently being applied in rural Zimbabwe’s
naturally dry Masvingo Province, south of the country, has seen small-scale
commercial farmers such as the Shagashe Farmers Club (SHAFAC) able to enjoy
better harvests despite the persistent drought.

      The method is simple. It involves digging pits that are one meter deep
and a meter wide.

      How is the Water Harvested?

      Basically, the pits fill up from rainfall and retain the water, which
soaks slowly into the ground depending on the soil type. The water also
drains slowly from the water harvesting pits as the low-lying parts of the
crop field run out of moisture.

      Mr. Osmond Mugweni, a Sustainable Agriculture Consultant with the UNDP
Africa 2000 Plus Network is proud of this technique, which he believes can
solve the country’s drought-threatened food security if promoted nationally.
He said water harvesting filtration pits “help to raise water tables” due to
the water harvesting pits’ water retention capacities. The capillary
activity draws water from the water table to the surface.

      “This has a double effect,” said Mr. Mugweni. “The wet conditions are
good for the crops and also promote the growth of a variety of grass species
and herbs, enhancing conservation.”

      The Anti-Water Harvest Police

      The subsistence Zimbabwean farmer, Zephaniah Phiri, introduced this
method to Zimbabwe in the late 1960s; and as happens with all new things,
the authorities in colonial Zimbabwe arrested him for introducing a method
the success of which they doubted. But the arrest did not stop Phiri from
continuing to implement the method on his small rural farm in Zvishavane.
Today, Phiri, now in his late 70s, is emerging as the hero that he was when
he first introduced this method. Phiri has proved wrong people who doubted
the effectiveness of this method, because it promotes food security. It also
generates more income for farmers from sales of a variety of crops that they
can now harvest throughout the year from the same piece of land, resulting
in a better standard of living.

      Mrs. Khetiwe Mhlanga, UNDP Africa 2000 Plus Network Coordinator said,
“We have known about Mr. Phiri’s work for years. Mr. Phiri also read about
the UNDP Africa 2000 Plus Network’s work and wrote to us. That’s how we came
to know him.”

      Commenting on why Zimbabwe’s Agricultural Extension Services was not
using Mr. Phiri’s water harvesting method as a solution to fight drought and
promote greater yield from agricultural products countrywide, Mrs. Mhlanga
said, “The Agricultural Extension Services, like most governments, don’t
learn from common people. Even in Japan at the World Water Forum, government
people didn’t go see work done by NGOs and community representatives.”

      However, Mrs. Mhlanga said the water harvesting method is spreading
steadily on small-scale farms in Zimbabwe, but using a method that is
slightly different from that of Phiri, who has been harvesting water on
sloppy land.

      Meanwhile, most SHAFAC members who have implemented the water
harvesting method on their small scale commercial farms said in separate
interviews that five years from now they see themselves owning sophisticated
farming equipment, including tractors, due to revenue generated from the
water harvesting method-fed agricultural produce.

      Through the use of this method, the SHAFAC small-scale commercial
farmers await another bumper harvest this year. The UNDP Africa 2000 Plus
Network Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEFSP) assisted
the farmers to establish the water harvesting method in the year 2000.
Funded by Hilswerk , Austria , the ABC+Water Project is aimed at restoring
the people’s livelihoods in the Shagashe farming area, through ecologically
sustainable agriculture.

      While the water harvesting technology has helped SHAFAC to beat the
negative impacts of drought, large and small scale commercial farmers and
subsistence farmers in Zimbabwe have once again succumbed to another drought
this year, leaving the country with inadequate food supplies. Sadly, the
method that could provide answers to Zimbabwe ’s food security problems in
dry regions and in times of drought has taken time to take off the ground.
The UNDP Africa 2000 Plus Network is working towards promoting the use of
this technology throughout Zimbabwe and globally.

      The UNDP Africa 2000 Plus Network showcased this technology through
photographic posters at the World Water Forum in Kyoto , Japan last March to
benefit countries whose food supplies continue to lessen as long as the
drought persists.

      Mrs. Mhlanga said the response to their water harvesting campaign in
Kyoto is yet to come. She also presented a paper on capacity building at the
World Water Forum.

      The Installation Process

      To install this method on one’s farm, all one needs to do is to dig
filtration pits not more than a meter deep and a meter wide and the length
can be as long as 1-30 meters at the top of the field so that the harvested
rain water can filter through into the fields with crops. SHAFAC farmers say
the installation of the water harvesting technology is very cheap.

      When it rains, the water harvesting filtration pits hold the water and
prevent run-off. The water harvesting filtration pits give the rainwater
good contact time with the soil and allow it to sink into the soil and not
to be lost as run-off. An added advantage of this method is that it also
minimizes soil erosion, thereby promoting sustainable agriculture. The water
harvesting filtration pits raise the water table because they allow water to
filter into the soil. When the water table is rising, it also initiates some
capillary action, drawing moisture from deep down underground to come to the
surface. “This is a double cumulative effect that is very good for the
environment,” said Mr. Mugweni. “The wet conditions result in grass and many
plant species growing lavishly on the farm, serving as a good conservation
measure. In wetland areas you get a lot of the water-loving plants coming in
the area, in addition to animals and insects.”

      Zimbabwean Farmers Optimistic About Food Security

      Mr. Mugweni says this method serves as a food security measure in
drier parts and even in the wetter parts of Zimbabwe in times of drought.
Before the introduction of the water harvesting method in the Shagashi
farming area, farmers used to struggle to produce just one crop in one
season, but they can now produce more than one crop in one season on the
same piece of land. In summer they grow maize and in winter they grow wheat,
using the moisture retained by the water harvesting filtration pits. The
water harvesting ponds can also be used for fish farming. This allows for
diversification in farming, thereby creating food security.

      Mr. Mugweni said the water harvesting filtration pits help reduce soil
erosion by preventing surface run-off, since they hold water and make it
sink into the ground. Farmers are also able to get increased soil depth
because they are not eroding the soil. They will also continue farming on
the same pieces of land. As long as they do not cause soil erosion they will
not need to abandon their pieces of land in the future in search for virgin
land that is difficult to find, due to continued population growth.

      The problem in Zimbabwe is not that of total rainfall failure. “Our
problem is the distribution of rainfall. In most dry parts of Zimbabwe, all
the rainfall for the season can come in just one or two months and it is not
spread across the whole rainfall season,” said Mugweni. In such areas, if
you have water harvesting structures like those being done here in Shagashi,
you harness all that moisture and that time and then you spread it over the
next four to five months and that’s how it enhances the productivity in
these semi-arid environments. In the process, it promotes food security in
dry parts of the country and even in wetter parts at times of drought. “Most
of the crops grown in Zimbabwe need 90 to 160 days to fully mature. So if
you have the rains coming in less than one month, the crops cannot mature at
all,” explained Mugweni. “But if you spread that moisture and use it for the
next three to four months, you will be able to harvest crops.”

      What the water harvesting method has demonstrated is that farmers can
have fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides, but without adequate water
they cannot get a good harvest. This is a good demonstration of how an
indigenous knowledge system compliments modern methods of agriculture. Also,
because the area is generally dry, agronomists discouraged farmers in the
Shagashe from drilling boreholes, as this would lead to the creation of a
desert. But through the water retention capacity of the water harvesting
method on their farms, they have now created wet environments. Because of
this, farmers in this area are now being allowed to drill boreholes on their

      The wet environments are helping revive wetlands, promoting rapid
growth of grass, trees and even attracting wildlife onto their farms.
Although wildlife destroys farmers’ crops, its attraction to the wet
environments demonstrates that apart from promoting food security, water
harvesting also promotes biodiversity conservation.


      Emmanuel Koro is a Zimbabwean journalist based in Harare. He studied
environmental communication at the University of Maryland and is a regular
writer for the World Bank's Development Outreach Magazine. He is currently
working as the Research Writer/ Communications Officer for the Africa
Resources Trust, in addition to being the President of the Sub-Saharan
Africa Forum for Environment Communicators (SAFE), which promotes the views
of African rural communities in the media.
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Mugabe Must Return to Negotiations: DA

South African Press Association (Johannesburg)

August 11, 2003
Posted to the web August 12, 2003


The Democratic Alliance appealed to President Thabo Mbeki on Monday to
redouble his efforts to convince Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to
return to the negotiating table.

DA spokesman on Africa, Graham McIntosh, said Mugabe had to receive a clear
message from the Southern African Development Community and the African
Union that their support was for the people of Zimbabwe, and "not for
Zanu-PF or Robert Mugabe".

"There is no support for his party's human rights abuses and the distortion
of the democratic process," he said in a statement.

Earlier on Monday, Mugabe reportedly honoured the "outstanding support and
greater solidarity from our African brothers, notably Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria".

He apparently commended them for refusing to "pander to the whims of America
and Britain to cause commotion and instability" in Zimbabwe.

McIntosh said this was not a "commendation anyone should covet".

Mugabe had also reportedly poured cold water on hopes for talks with the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

"While he insists that the MDC recognise his victory in last year's
fraudulent election, he refuses to recognise the bona fides of the MDC as a
legitimate participant in Zimbabwe's electoral process.

"He consistently maligns his opponents as agents of his 'enemies abroad',"
McIntosh said.

Mbeki's credibility was heavily invested in his quiet diplomacy, and his
claims of some success in bringing the ruling party and opposition together
for talks.

Mugabe's dismissive attitude towards these talks and his comments about
African solidarity seriously undermined that credibility.

"The DA appeals to President Mbeki to redouble his efforts to convince
Mugabe to return to the negotiating table, and to do so in good faith.

"He could start by dropping the spurious treason charges against MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai. Without political reform in Zimbabwe, any attempts at
economic reconstruction will be stillborn," McIntosh said.
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Independent (UK)

Robert Mugabe: The game is up for white farmers
From the Zimbabwean President's Heroes Day speech, in Harare
13 August 2003

We set ourselves an August deadline for the redistribution of land - and
that deadline stands. We, the principled people of Zimbabwe, we, the true
owners of this land, shall not budge. We shall not be deterred on this one
vital issue - the land. The land is ours.

All well-meaning and genuine white farmers who wish to pursue a farming
career as loyal citizens of will have land to do so.

But as for those who want to own this country for Britain, the game is up -
and it is time for them to go back where they belong. There is no room for
rapacious supremacists.

No gold, no silver is precious enough to buy our sovereignty. We are not for
sale, and Zimbabwe is not for sale. Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans. We are not
for the highest bidder in Europe or elsewhere. Let Blair hear it. We are not
for the British bidder either.

Those who would go together with our enemies abroad cannot at the same time
want to march alongside us as our partners. No - we say "no" to them. They
must first repent. There cannot be unity with the enemies of the people,
enemies of the struggle and enemies of our independence. Those who seek
unity must not be enemies.

Despite deliberate attempts by both internal and external forces to
destabilise our programme, Zimbabwe has received great support from our
African brothers, notably President Mbeki of South Africa and Olusegun
Obasanjo of Nigeria, in attempts to find solutions to our own challenges.

The land reform programme has taken this fight against racism and the
disempowerment of our people a step further, and today we are able to speak
in convincing terms about the possibility of eradicating poverty, unbalanced
development and suffering.
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African Union head sees improvement in Zimbabwe

HARARE, Aug. 12 — Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano said after talks
with Zimbabwe's leader Robert Mugabe on Tuesday that he felt there was
movement toward improving the volatile political situation in Zimbabwe.
       Chissano said on Zimbabwe's state broadcaster he had been briefed
''about the general situation in Zimbabwe, in my capacity as president of
Mozambique and also as chairman of the African Union.''
       ''I am under the impression now after talking with President Mugabe
that there is a movement towards the improvement of the political situation
in the country. On the economic side, I'm under the impression that there
are still some serious problems,'' Chissano said.
       Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp said both Chissano and Mugabe would attend
the annual Commonwealth SMART Partnership Summit on aid in Swaziland on
Wednesday, although Mugabe is barred from attending official Commonwealth
functions over vote-rigging charges.
       The opposition Movement for Democratic Change accuses Mugabe, in
power since independence in 1980, of mismanaging the country with
devastating effect on the economy and of rigging victory in elections in
2003, charges which the veteran leader denies.
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'Moves to solve Zim crisis'
12/08/2003 23:08  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe Tuesday told his Mozambican
counterpart Joachim Chissano, the head of the African Union, that moves
towards solving the country's political crisis were now in motion, Chissano

"I am under the impression now after talking to President Mugabe, that there
are certain movements towards improvement of the political situation in the
country," Chissano told state television after one-on-one talks with Mugabe.

But Chissano, who arrived in Harare on Tuesday afternoon, said Mugabe
admitted that Zimbabwe's economy was still suffering badly.

"On the economic side I am under the impression that there are still some
serious problems," Chissano said.

Chissano, who is on his way to Swaziland to attend a global talkshop on
sustainable development, said earlier he was passing through Harare to check
on the progress made so far on "regional efforts aimed at resolving the
political situation in Zimbabwe".


Zimbabwean church leaders are trying to bring the governing Zanu-PF party
and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) back to the
negotiating table to break an impasse between the two sides who met briefly
last year but broke off talks after putting together just a draft agenda.

The talks had been brokered by presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and
Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria who visited Harare shortly after last year's
disputed presidential elections won by Mugabe.

The MDC, which had refused to recognise Mugabe as the head of state, has
meanwhile extended an olive branch by dropping the contentious issue of
Mugabe's legitimacy from a draft agenda it is proposing resumed talks with
the ruling party.

But Mugabe on Monday said he would not go into nation-building partnerships
with "enemies of the people" who he said had to "repent" first to seek
common ground with his government.

Chissano had earlier indicated in Mozambique that African organisations had
the capability to help resolve conflict on the continent, as shown by
developments in Liberia where president Charles Taylor stepped down on

Economic crisis

"We will continue to work this way in other regions affected by conflict,"
he said.

While an admission was made of the dismal performance of the economy,
Chissano said "on the agricultural side the perfomance is fairly good".

Zimbabwe is in the throes of an unprecedented economic crisis that has left
inflation at more than 365% and more than 70% of the workforce unemployed.

Local currency is in short supply while an acute shortage of foreign
exchange has seen the country running dry of petroleum-based fuels, with
electricity supplies at best erratic.

More than half of the population will require food aid this year, according
to international relief agencies.

Chissano and Mugabe are expected to travel to Mbabane, Swaziland on
Wednesday for the Global 2003 Smart Partnership International Dialogue,
jointly convened by Swaziland and the Commonwealth Partnership for
Technology Management.
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The Star

      Zimbabwe's starving prisoners face life of hell
      August 12, 2003

      By Basildon Peta

      If anyone thought the millions of people relying on donor food aid in
rural Zimbabwe are the real faces of starvation, they're wrong.

      Visit a jail in Zimbabwe and encounter hunger first hand, according to
inmates of the country's notoriously filthy and overcrowded prisons.

      One such prisoner, Kizito Mulenga (28), who gave a graphic description
of his ordeal in prison to Zimbabwe's Daily News, equated life in Zimbabwe's
jails to life in hell.

      The Zimbabwe government's failure to pay food suppliers due to a
crippling cash crisis and the general economic hardships are taking a
debilitating toll on the prisoners, who often have to go without meals.

      Even prominent politicians and activists like Movement for Democratic
Change spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi, National Constitutional Assembly
chairman Lovemore Madhuku, and others who have been jailed say the pain of a
short stay in a Zimbabwean jail is like a death penalty.

      Madhuku and Nyathi said even though prisons were never meant to be
places of comfort, they were also never meant to be places of such
unmitigated abuse and cruelty.

      Mulenga said when a Harare magistrate denied him bail, instead
ordering him to spend two weeks in remand prison awaiting trial for armed
robbery, he did not expect a holiday at the state prison.

      But when the warder opened the heavy doors to usher him into his cell,
he said he realised that the fortnight he was to spend inside Harare Remand
Prison would be a tough test of endurance.

      He said the overcrowded cell was to prove the least of his worries,
even though the one malfunctioning toilet resulted in human waste, urine and
water being deposited on the floor.
      Mulenga, who is now out of prison after the charges against him were
dropped, said: "We were always hungry. The meals are not regular and most of
the time we would only have one badly prepared meal a day.

      "That is where I really witnessed starvation at its worst because 90%
of my cellmates did not have relatives who could bring them food."

      Prison officials said they can no longer afford to feed inmates from
the budget allocations to the prisons.
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