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

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Blair to urge SA to pressure Mugabe

By James Lamont and James Blitz
Tony Blair is preparing to lean heavily on the South African government to get increasingly involved in international efforts to curb Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe, warning that more pressure must be brought to bear by the authorities in Pretoria.
As Mugabe continues to evict white farmers from their land and stifle political opposition inside his country, Blair is to press Thabo Mbeki, South African president, to act more forcefully and publicly against the Zimbabwean president and his policies.
Blair and Mbeki are expected to hold a bilateral meeting in about 10 days when the prime minister attends the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.
"Blair will seek assurances from Mbeki that the UK and South Africa are seen to be pursuing policies that mutually reinforce each other," one UK official said on Friday. "Our perception is that the onus is now on South Africa to play an increasingly important role here."
Earlier this year, Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth in protest at Mugabe's campaign of political violence. South Africa, Nigeria and Australia have since worked with Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change to bring about reconciliation and help rebuild the shattered economy.
But there is frustration in London that Mbeki has not criticised the Mugabe regime forcefully and has sought to deal with the Zimbabwean leader by operating behind the scenes. The Foreign Office has also expressed concern that the turmoil in Zimbabwe undermines the credibility of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad), an African-backed plan to promote democracy and good governance in return for aid and investment.
The UK government continues to insist that the Johannesburg summit is an important opportunity to set new goals for sustainable development. But Margaret Beckett, the Environment Secretary, said she was concerned the summit might not meet many of these goals.
Blair has come under strong pressure this week to act on Zimbabwe. The US has stepped up its rhetoric against the Zimbabwe regime, flatly stating for the first time that Mr Mugabe is not democratically elected. The Conservative opposition has urged Mr Blair to boycott a speech by Mr Mugabe at the summit.
On Friday night the instability in Zimbabwe increased after Mr Mugabe sacked his cabinet.
This week, the South African government released a statement on Zimbabwe to ward off local and international criticism of the lack of progress made in restoring stability in the country. South Africa, and the 14-nation Southern Africa Development Community, is widely viewed as having the most influence over Zimbabwe.
But Pretoria insists that internal reconciliation is more effective in restoring stability than international pressure.
Financial Times
26 August 2002


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From The Norway Post, 26 August

Norwegian MP refused entry to Zimbabwe

Three Norwegian women members of parliament were on Sunday refused entry to
Zimbabwe. The three MPs were threatened with jail if they did not leave the
country on the first plane. The three had been invited by the Red Cross to
inspect several aid projects operated in Zimbabwe by the organization, and
the visit was cleared by the authorities in Zimbabwe, says Ingvild Vaggen
Malvik. However, they got no further than to the passport control at the
Harare Airport. "When I showed my passport, which stated that I was a member
of parliament, all three were refused entry to Zimbabwe," says Vaggen Malvik
to NRK on the phone from Johannesburg. She says the experience was very
unpleasant for the three, who were accompanied by two representatives from
the Red Cross.

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Transcript frpm Carte Blanche
High Crimes

Date : 25 August 2002
Genre :
Africa, Politics

He’s one of the world’s longest surviving dictators. Behind him a 22-year legacy of atrocities and human rights abuses. Robert Mugabe has never taken to opposition crossing his path.

For the past two-and-a-halve years Carte Blanche has told the story of Zimbabwe’s systematic destruction. In March 2000 we broadcast the first exclusive footage of the beginning of land invasions.

[File footage - 12 March 2000]

Zim-farmer: “Ja, there’s a group of a hundred to 150, over.”

[File footage - 25 June 2000]

Voice-over: “Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC is the first real opposition party in 20 years that Mugabe’s Zanu-PF is facing.”

[File footage - 26 August, 2001]

Zim-farmer: “There was vandalism like you cannot believe. Everything was stripped that could be carried out and otherwise everything was just broken.”

[File footage - 17 February, 2002]

Voice-over: “These testimonies were filmed secretly at great risk in Zimbabwe over the past 6 weeks.”

[File footage - 19 March, 2002]

Voice-over: “… at some polling-stations he counted thousands of extra ballot-papers.”

[File footage - 14 July, 2002]
Voice-over: “More than six million Zimbabweans are facing starvation, as the country’s self-made economic disaster seems to be in its final downward spiral.”

But starvation was not the last of Zimbabwe’s problems. In the past few days president Mugabe has done what white farmers have feared for more than two years. Hundreds were arrested, charged and ordered to pack up and leave. Their crime? Refusing to give up the farms they’d legally bought and developed for years.

It was a defining moment after a long time of brutal harassment by the regime.

Dr. Philip du Toit: “The whole world is crying out and saying something must be done about this. But nobody is doing anything. It’s just talk.”

This man has decided enough is enough. South African lawyer, Dr. Philip du Toit, is representing the Zimbabwe Victims Coalition and he says he will bring Mugabe to book. Philip’s office has been inundated by e-mails and faxes sent by victims of the regime from around the world.

Philip: “Robert Mugabe led his country into an abyss of misery, and we are preparing a basket of charges against him in person.”

These charges will be presented to the ICC, the newly established
International Criminal Court, the first permanent international tribunal capable of trying an individual for serious human rights violations. The treaty for the ICC was adopted in Rome in 1998.

The horrors of Rwanda - the original idea for a permanent international court gained momentum when a tribunal was set up here in 1994. Also, an international war tribunal was set up in The Hague for the former Yugoslavia.

[File footage]

Unidentified speaker: “The international war tribunal for the former Yugoslavia is now in session.”

Slobodan Milosovic is on trial for gross human rights violations and genocide. A video shown as evidence in Milosovic’s trial is reminiscent of what happened at the Matabeleland massacre in Zimbabwe twenty years ago.

It was shortly after independence in 1980 when Mugabe’s Fifth Brigade crushed opposition ZAPU-supporters. Thousands were severely beaten, displaced, killed and buried in mass graves.

Zaa Nkweta: “I’ve seen the application that you’ve made to indict Robert Mugabe, forwarded to the United Nations in New York. What was the response?”

Philip: “They’ve given us all the information that they require and the steps we need to take because Zimbabwe counter-signed together with 139 countries, but their government to date have not yet ratified the agreement. But there are other avenues to use in order to bring the man to justice.”

Zaa: “What are those other avenues?”

Philip: “Well, there’s various organisations through-out the country, via the United Nations, Amnesty International, human rights organisations that we are then going to approach.”

Carte Blanche linked up by videoconference with Brigitte Suhr of Human Rights Watch in New York who is very interested in the creation of the International Criminal Court.

Zaa: “Now Zimbabwe has not ratified the treaty. Does the ICC have jurisdiction in a case like this one?”

Brigitte: “It would not have jurisdiction at this time. This treaty says that either the state of nationality of the accused or the territory where the crimes occurred has to have ratified for the case to go before the ICC. Sadly whatever occurs on the territory of Zimbabwe cannot go to the ICC.”

The United States has refused to ratify the treaty along with several other countries.

Brigitte: “We’ve been very successful in many countries to get ratification. There are always going to be some countries who don’t ratify. Libya hasn’t ratified, Iraq hasn’t ratified. The civil society has a responsibility to do everything it can to get the government to ratify but there will always be dictators and despots who don’t ratify.”

Zaa: “Can president Robert Mugabe be indicted on these crimes?”

Brigitte: “President Mugabe can not be indicted by the ICC for crimes he commits in Zimbabwe. Not yet.”

But things can suddenly change.

In the last 24 hours Carte Blanche got hold of this letter written in January this year and addressed to the Minister of Justice in Zimbabwe. It’s from the Southern African office of the ICC. Not only does it remind Zimbabwe of its commitment to ratify the Rome treaty, it also clearly states SADC’s recent undertaking to ratify as a region.

SADC – or the Southern African Development Community – has given its commitment to ratify the Rome treaty. But will it put pressure on Zimbabwe?

Dr. Ian Taylor: “Mugabe led Zimbabwe to independence. There’s reluctance by many African heads of state to criticise as such figures seen as the fathers of the nation.”

Dr. Ian Taylor is a political analyst and lecturer at the University of Botswana in Gabarone. He has written many articles on Southern African politics.

Ian: “There’s also a reluctance on the part of certain leaders to criticise Mugabe because if they criticise Mugabe, well who’s next?”

For the first time the Bush administration also made its voice heard. The New York Times reported that the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Walter Kansteiner, stopped short of calling for a change in government in Zimbabwe. Kansteiner said Zimbabwe’s political status quo is unacceptable because the elections were fraudulent.

Ian says if Britain’s aim has been to try and halt the Zimbabwe crisis, then its foreign policy has failed. “British policy towards Zimbabwe has failed because at the end of the day if you try to address the Zimbabwe situation as primarily about land, then you’re bound to fail because it’s not about land. It’s about the political survival of the Zanu-PF regime and Mugabe’s ultimate stake in power.”

Having rights and having land – that’s what most African liberation struggles were all about. But more than 20 years after independence, president Robert Mugabe would have the world believe that Zimbabwe’s current crisis is still just about that. Well, is it?

Unidentified speaker 1 [identity concealed]: “The economy of the country is retarded, is tarnished, destroyed.”

These two Zimbabweans represent a group of more than 1 500 people who aim to litigate against Mugabe in an international forum. They can’t be identified because they fear for their lives.

Unidentified speaker 1 [identity concealed]: “What is happening is that land is being given to people who do not have expertise - mostly the allies of Mugabe, those who are the top officials in Zanu-PF, his political party. That’s the ones who benefit.”

Unidentified speaker 2 [identity concealed]: “If you can look at the Zimbabwean people, they used to live free and they could do whatever they could. But at this stage you cannot talk of anything that has to do with politics. You cannot do any gathering because once you see a black Mercedes Benz coming to your place and they will tell you we just request this boy, we just want to go and ask him questions, we are the police, then you automatically know this person is going to disappear.”

The case against Mugabe will include their testimonies and those of other victims they represent. The human rights abuses against the white farmers will also constitute part of the international litigation.

Two of the farmers arrested are family members of Steven Wilde who was on holiday in South Africa when news of the arrests broke.

Wilde: “Why must I leave? My family got there 10, 15 years after the Matabele. Why should I have any less right to live in my country than anybody else?”

Ian: “The first struggle was to try and get rid of the white minority regime of the Rhodesian Front, the Ian Smith regime. And they succeeded. I think now, in 2002, there is a new struggle and that struggle is to try and get rid of the oppressive regime, which the Zanu-PF has turned into. It’s a major disappointment for all those who held out hope for Zimbabwe.”

Philip: “We have to be realistic and face the facts and say well if nothing is being done about this, the reality is going to hit all of us, not only in Zimbabwe but also in South Africa, to a large and very serious extent.”

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: While every attempt has been made to ensure this transcript or summary is accurate, Carte Blanche or its agents cannot be held liable for any claims arising out of inaccuracies caused by human error or electronic fault. This transcript was typed from a transcription recording unit and not from an original script, so due to the possibility of mishearing and the difficulty, in some cases, of identifying individual speakers, errors cannot be ruled out.
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Zimbabwe denies entry to 30 foreign visitors

August 26 2002 at 10:53AM

Harare - Zimbabwe barred 30 foreigners from entering the country this month, but denied the restrictions were in retaliation for a travel ban on the country's officials, a newspaper reported on Monday.

Those barred included six US nationals, three from Britain, five from the Netherlands, one from Belgium, one from France and one from Australia, the official Herald newspaper said.

An immigration official told the paper that the barring of the foreign nationals, some of whom were nationals of African countries, was because they did not hold the correct travel documents.

Last month the EU broadened the scope of a list of ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) officials it intends to bar from visiting its member states, accusing President Robert Mugabe's government of human rights abuses.

'We are not retaliating against any nation because we don't have the power to do so'
The United States has also imposed travel restrictions on Zimbabwe officials.

"We are not retaliating against any nation because we don't have the power to do so," chief immigration officer Elasto Mugwadi told the Herald.

"We don't have such instructions (from the government) at the moment save for barring journalists from certain hostile countries as well as other foreign nationals barred on security grounds," Mugwadi added.

Such people were on a "watch list" compiled in conjunction with various government departments, he told the paper. - Sapa-AFP 
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Mugabe rejects ethnic cleansing barb
August 26, 2002 Posted: 8:31 AM EDT (1231 GMT)


HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) -- The Zimbabwean government has rejected as "racist madness" charges by Australia that its controversial seizures of white-owned farms for landless blacks amount to ethnic cleansing.
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo told the official Herald newspaper that criticisms by Australia and Britain that President Robert Mugabe had reduced Zimbabwe to a pariah state could only be believed by racists and their puppets.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer told Australian Channel 10 Television on Sunday that his government was considering new sanctions against Zimbabwe.
"President Mugabe appears to be entirely oblivious to the views of the international community. He's effectively conducting a policy of ethnic cleansing on the farms," he said.
Moyo said a media and diplomatic campaign by Britain against Mugabe's drive to seize land from white farmers for indigenous blacks had reached hysterical proportions.
"The allegation of ethnic cleansing is not only outrageous, it is a joke. They wish there was ethnic cleansing to justify foreign intervention," he added, saying land reform was legal.
Mugabe is banned under Western sanctions from travelling to the United States and most of Europe, but is scheduled to attend the U.N.'s World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg at some point before it ends on September 4.
Opponents are hoping to confront him there, but an initial protest on Monday drew barely 100 supporters of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The protesters, flanked by dozens of armed police, marched peacefully to the heavily-guarded Sandton convention centre, chanting anti-Mugabe slogans and waved placards saying: "Mugabe is an election thief" and "Mugabe is starving his own people."
Environment being destroyed
"We are telling the world that Zimbabwe's environment is being destroyed. The invasions of farms, the invasions of game parks -- they have been destroyed," MDC member of parliament Moses Mzila-Ndlovu told reporters.
"Mugabe argues land for the poor, but it's a lie. It's about power," he added.
Opponents in Zimbabwe and foreign monitors including the United States allege that the best farms are being given to Mugabe's friends and allies, including his wife, Grace, and not to landless peasants.
But Moyo said the white farmers now posing as the victims of land seizures had stolen this land from blacks, and were defying government orders to vacate their farms on the advice of Britain to feed the charges of ethnic cleansing.
"Africa rejects this notion that yesterday's oppressors want to keep the land they looted," he said.
"The British who looted our land cannot now claim to be the victims because we are following a legally-binding programme," he said of a programme condemned by critics at home and abroad.
Moyo accused Britain, Australia and other Western countries of trying to use Zimbabwe's current food shortages to maintain white domination in land ownership, saying the starvation the country was facing was due to drought.
About six million Zimbabweans are amongst close to 13 million Africans facing starvation over the next six months as drought, mismanagements and political turmoil slash food output.
"It shows quite clearly what we have been pointing out all along that the white Commonwealth, led by Britain, is doing everything including the use of outright lies to defend white supremacy in Africa to prevent Africans from correcting racial injustices of colonialism," Moyo said.
Mugabe has been in power since the former Rhodesia gained independence from Britain in 1980.
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Monday, 26 August, 2002, 16:10 GMT 17:10 UK
'War cabinet' for Zimbabwe
land reform
Amidst controversial land reform disaster beckons
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has sworn in a new more hardline cabinet.

He said his "war cabinet" would tackle the country's economic problems and counter opposition from the international community to his policy of land reform.

He also said they would address action by Britain - the former colonial power - and its allies in interfering in Zimbabwe's affairs.

One political casualty is the moderate finance minister, Simba Makoni, who is said to have had disagreements with other ministers and resigned.

'Ethnic cleansing'

Earlier, Zimbabwe angrily rejected weekend criticism over President Mugabe's two-year campaign to transfer white-owned farms to black Zimbabweans.

Jonathan Moyo
Jonathan Moyo: Ethnic cleansing slur 'a joke'

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said in an interview with the official Herald newspaper that the white Commonwealth was doing everything possible, including telling outright lies, to defend white supremacy in Africa.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said on Sunday that his country might impose sanctions on Zimbabwe for what he described as ethnic cleansing of white farmers ordered off their land to make way for new black farmers.

But Mr Moyo described these claims as absurd, saying land reform was legal.

"The allegation of ethnic cleansing is not only outrageous, it is a joke. They wish there was ethnic cleansing to justify foreign intervention."

Food crisis

On Sunday, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw accused President Robert Mugabe of plunging the country into starvation in the name of land reform.

Mr Moyo said it was black Africans who grew food - all they needed was land.

Jack Straw
Straw: Keen to isolate Mugabe's government

And he said that the West was trying to use Zimbabwe's current food shortages to maintain the white domination of land ownership, saying the reason the country was facing starvation was due to drought.

Critics blame food shortages in Zimbabwe partly on the disruption to farming caused by the drive - which the government says is aimed at correcting colonial-era inequities.

At least six million people - about half Zimbabwe's population - are threatened by famine, according to UN figures.

Click here to read Colin Shand's diary

President Mugabe is banned under sanctions from travelling to much of the West, but is due to attend the 10-day United Nations environmental summit in South Africa.

The main opposition party in Zimbabwe has staged the first of a number of protests there, with some 200 members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) marching through Johannesburg calling for new elections and the removal of the president.

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Mugabe rejects aid, says Red Cross
August 26, 2002 Posted: 6:20 AM EDT (1020 GMT)

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (Reuters) -- Four Norwegian politicians and a Norwegian Red Cross representative were turned away from Zimbabwe after arriving on a pre-arranged fact-finding mission on Sunday, a member of the group said.
Dag Seierstad, a political adviser for the Norwegian parliament, told Reuters the group was outraged at its treatment after being forced to board a flight to Johannesburg, which was held up for two hours for the group to board.
"As soon as they realised we were politicians they refused us entry. They gave us the simple choice of taking the next plane back to Johannesburg or going to jail," Seierstad said.
Seierstad said the group had intended to get information about the famine threatening southern Africa and the spreading HIV/AIDS pandemic.

The trip had been arranged by the Red Cross and had received approval from Zimbabwe's foreign ministry.
Zimbabwe has come under heavy international fire for its seizures of white-owned farmland, which aid experts say are exacerbating a worsening food shortage caused by draught.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe dissolved his cabinet on Friday in a move official sources said was linked to the controversial land reform programme, retaining his most loyal ministers. (Full story)
"They tried to break us up as a group, they said they would call security and force us to get on the was quite intimidating and unpleasant and we were quite shocked frankly," Seierstad said.
The other four members of the group -- all women -- included Labour MP Gunhild Oeyangen, Socialist Left Party MP Ingvild Malvik, Centre party MP Inger Enger and Norway's South Africa-based Red Cross representative Greta Oesgtern, he said.
The group had flown in from Norway via Johannesburg. They arrived on a British Airways flight at 1030 GMT and were forced to board the same flight on its return journey, he said.
Seierstad said the group had not decided what it would do next and was waiting for reaction from Norway's Foreign Ministry.
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Monday, 26 August, 2002, 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK
Zimbabwe dismisses attacks over land policy

Zimbabwe has hit back at renewed criticism of its land reform programme from Australia and Britain.

The Zimbabwe Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, said in an interview with the official Herald newspaper that the white Commonwealth, led by Britain, was doing everything possible, including telling outright lies, to defend white supremacy in Africa.

On Sunday, the British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, accused President Robert Mugabe of plunging the country into starvation in the name of land reform. Mr Moyo said it was black Africans who grew food - all they needed was land.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said his country might impose sanctions on Zimbabwe for what he described as ethnic cleansing of white farmers ordered off their land to make way for new black farmers.

But Mr Moyo described the claims of ethnic cleansing as outrageous and a joke.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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The Age

Zimbabwe defends actions

HARARE|Published: Monday August 26, 8:06 PM

Zimbabwe has hit back at criticism of its land reform program by Australia and Britain, accusing white Commonwealth countries of trying to preserve white supremacy in Africa, a newspaper said.
Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said his country might impose sanctions on Zimbabwe for what he said was the "ethnic cleansing" of white farmers ordered off their land to make way for new black farmers.
Also yesterday British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, writing in Britain's Observer newspaper, accused President Robert Mugabe of plunging Zimbabwe into starvation "in the name of land reform."
Zimbabwe's information minister, Jonathan Moyo told the official Herald newspaper today that the claims of ethnic cleansing were "outrageous" and "a joke".
"The white Commonwealth, lead by Britain, is doing everything including the use of outright lies to defend white supremacy in Africa to prevent Africans from correcting racial injustices of colonialism," he said.
"It is black Zimbabwean farmers who grow food," he said. "All we need is land. Food security in Zimbabwe will not be achieved as long as we do not have the land," Moyo added.
Aid agencies and western countries have warned that the land reform program, aimed at correcting racial imbalances in land ownership, will exacerbate a food crisis threatening half the country's 12 million people.
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Washington Times Editorial
Zimbabwe in black and white

     Zimbabwe is a glaring example of how much damage a corrupt, hate-mongering leader can wreak on a country. Robert Mugabe, the country's president-by-fraud, has been seizing white-owned farms just as a drought threatens to bring full-blown famine.
     Despite the drought, Zimbabwe's reservoirs for irrigation are full. But the land seizures have caused such severe disruption in farming that southern Africa's former breadbasket is now in a food crisis. Since February 2000, 2,900 white farmers have been forced to surrender their land. Most have resisted, and police have arrested nearly 200.
     The clumsy land-grab is causing widespread problems for blacks and whites alike, said a white Zimbabwean farmer, who has been ordered off her family's land, along with the more than 300 employees and their family members living there. Such seizures have led to fatal clashes, while Mr. Mugabe's family and cabinet members take over the best farms. "The peasants are getting nothing but a kick in the butt," she said. "What you read about the homeless and jobless people is true."
     President Bush is mulling ways of ridding Zimbabwe of its Mugabe blight. The White House is currently working with the European Union to try step up its so-called smart sanctions on Mr. Mugabe by imposing a joint freeze on his assets and those of his associates.
     But the administration is reticent about imposing more comprehensive sanctions that could further devastate already ailing Zimbabweans. "A trade embargo is a blunt instrument that could, in fact, affect the general population . . . What we're trying to do is influence the policy-makers at the top," said the State Department's Walter H. Kansteiner on Tuesday. The United States and other countries have been giving Zimbabweans food aid through non-governmental organizations.
     The administration has wisely reached out to civil society groups to try to strengthen Zimbabwe's democratic institutions. And while the White House has lobbied African countries to voice collective condemnation of Mr. Mugabe, it must step up these efforts, focusing specifically on the region's economic powers, South Africa and Nigeria. South Africa's back-door efforts to urge better behavior from the Mugabe cabal have clearly been ineffectual.
     But convincing South Africa and Nigeria to lead the charge is tricky, which is probably why the White House has had little luck. Mr. Mugabe is still an icon of Africa's liberation efforts, due to his fight against Zimbabwe's apartheid rule in the 1960s. He won democratic elections in 1980 but has been largely accused of rigging Zimbabwe's last election earlier this year. He also has some vocal supporters, such as Namibia's leader Sam Nujoma, who could be a Mugabe in the making, Libya's economically powerful Moammar Gadhafi, and the Congo's Laurent Kabila, who is propped up by Mr. Mugabe.
     Zimbabwe is to South Africa what Mexico is to America. Strife in Zimbabwe resonates in South Africa, particularly through waves of immigrants. While some distinguished South Africans have publicly rebuked Mr. Mugabe, such as Nobel Prize winners Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South African President Thabo Mbeki has been more muted, fearing a backlash or political upheaval.
     Mr. Mugabe is literally starving his people and is keen to strike relationships with other budding despots. African leaders realize what a threat he is. Whether they will push Mr. Mugabe to strike an agreement with white farmers and hold democratic elections remains in doubt.

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Walking for Animals in Zimbabwe

Haru Mutasa

Staring at Karen Davies sitting on the grass, one cannot help but admire her guts and determination. At first glance she appears to be an unasuming, quiet person. It is hard to imagine her in the Zimbabwean bundu and even harder still imagining her surviving a grueling ten-day ultra-endurance race along the long and narrow gravel roads of th Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe -- sleeping in community halls and rural school buildings.

Her dog Ophelia runs up to her. She lovingly leans over and softly strokes her long golden-brown fur. It does not take an expert to realise that animals are one of Karen's passions.

The 46-year-old South African professional race walker left South Africa two weeks ago for Zimbabwe to participate in the annual Blue Cross challenge held in the Eastern Highlands, a scenic area in Zimbabwe.

Sitting in her tranquil garden in Grahamstown, far away from the chaos in Zimbabwe she said: "I was not really worried about the unrest there. But before going I did ask about the security. The organisers assured me that they had patrolled the route we would be using and anticipated no problems. The strange thing was that we were supposed to have police escorts but they never showed up. I guess they were busy elsewhere -- but we were alright." She stretches her long, athletic legs which are "over-run" with blisters, a souvenir from the race, and continues: "In fact, the only thing I saw was a lorry of war veterans, but they thought us pretty harmless and left us alone. The area is beautiful but the atmosphere is definitely tense. The whites seemed resigned almost -- they have no where else to go and are determined to stay on their farms. You can definitely see how desperate the situation is over there." Through donations and sponsorship from South Africans in Grahamstown, Cape Town and Johannesburg, Karen managed to raise R15 000 for the SPCA in Zimbabwe. She brings out a buldging A4 envelope and displays the many faxes and receipts of donations she received.

She says unhappily: "I see all that is going on over there through the media and one wonders what one can do to help. At least this way I can say that I did my bit, even though it was the animals that benefited and not so much the people. The SPCA is the only aid agency in Zimbabwe that looks after the plight of animals!" Twenty-four walkers took part in the Blue Cross challenge, 14 South Africans and 10 Zimbabweans. Karen was the first woman to cross the finish line and came fifth in the 'Light infantry' category. The ten day event began on August 4. Competitors walked 500 km covering 50km a day. They started at Mahenye 150 meters above sea level on the Save/Runde river and ended off at Nyangani, 2 600 metres above sea level near Mutare, Zimbabwe's third largest city.

" It was fantastic!" she exclaimed, " I broke last year's record by three and a half hours! The Blue Cross challenge, started in 1996, and aims to raise money for the Zimbabwean SPCA. It sees South Africans and Zimbabweans competing for the coveted gold medal and trophy. Of course the most important outcome at the end of the day is the animals. Some have been abandoned on deserted farms and others, their owners are just too poor to look after them." Karen beams with adoration for 64-year-old Meryl Harrison, fearless heroine and leader of a project to save or humanely kill some of the hundreds of thousands of animals that are dying, starving or being mutilated as a result of assaults on Zimbabwe's commercial farms.

"She was with us for the first three days of the race," said Karen, "and she was always out and about looking after the donkeys in the tribal lands." Harrison has gained world-wide support for her determination to rescue Zimbabwean animals, one of the many innocent victims of Zimbabwe's brutal land grabbing stance.

Zimbabwe pet rescue project fundraiser Estelle Walters, a volunteer organisation based in Cape Town said in an earlier interview: "As well as rescuing some of the animals deserted on the farms, Meryl and her men put down animals they find with broken backs, broken limbs and gaping wounds as a result of attacks by the war vets. Cows and sheep are having their hamstrings cut as some kind of political warning by the war vets. Cows have been found alive with axe-heads embedded in their bodies. In one case a cow's leg had been cut off for meat and the animal left alive. Un-milked cows are dying in agony, and hooves have been sliced from children's ponies. In one incident a farmer locked himself in his house with his award winning bull in an attempt to save the animal".

Of the 14 South Africans that went down to Zimbabwe, 10 of them were women. SAfm radio talk show host Patricia Glyn, who inspired Karen to participate, was among them.

Despite the sore limbs, the red sore blisters and chapped lips, Karen has no regrets.

"It was 10 days of getting up early in the mornings and walking -- just walking. It was lonely at times and I'd say to myself I just want to go home, what am I doing here? But I told myself that this is a challenge I chose to take and I have to see it through," she said. Close to R180 000 (Z$ 20 million) was raised through the efforts of the competitors and those who sponsored them. "I will not be participating next year," she says looking at her poor feet, "once is enough for the moment. I did learn a lot about myself and got to see first-hand what it is like in Zimbabwe. I kept saying to myself, gosh -- what must it be like to live among this misery? I spoke to children who had lost their parents. It is desperate over there. But then I saw lots of fancy cars too. There is money in Zimbabwe, the question is where is it all going?"

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Time Farmers Admitted Game is Up


ONE of the mysteries of the Zimbabwe saga, now hurtling towards its catastrophic climax, is why the white farmers still sit passively, like sheep, on their expropriated farms, waiting for somebody to deliver them from ethnic cleansing. Perhaps they think New Zealand's ferocious sanctions will change Robert Mugabe's mind, or that the pin-prick sanctions of the Western powers will break his obdurate will.

More likely, they are misled by their vociferous but uninfluential local supporters to believe South Africa will throw the place into economic collapse and social disorder by cutting off the electricity.

They surely cannot still be hoping that South Africa's one battleready unit of 3000 men, a bit short on helicopter pilots, will take on Mugabe's army, which has 9000 troops deployed in the Congo alone.

In any event, the farmers wait like dumb animals, pleading with white South Africans to induce President Mbeki to intervene. Local whites respond with enraged declamations about justice and property rights that never occurred to most of them when their own government was stealing land.

It is sound and fury, signifying noth ing. Some kindly person should tell the farmers that the game is up. It hasn't been fair, or just, or even intelligent, but it's over. If you insist on being a Zimbabwe farmer, find a job as farm manager for Mugabe's cronies. Or open a roadside stall. Or get the hell out.

From outside Zimbabwe, judicial processes may have some utility. It may prove possible to seize Zimbabwean exports or aircraft as compensation for lost farms. It might be possible to bring Mugabe, sooner or later, before an international court on human rights charges.

But to appeal to Zimbabwe's courts denotes a pathological inability to face reality, a form of psychological sickness.

One day, 20 years hence, a devastated Zimbabwe may invite the farmers back, as poor Mozambique has tried to lure old Portuguese colonists to return, but for the time being Zimbabwe is in a vortex of self-destruction. Neither Nepad nor South Africa can do anything about it, and none of the Great Powers will do anything. Only the people of Zimbabwean can possibly end Mugabe's rule, and then only if they are neither led by, nor funded by, nor associated with whites. Whites are soft targets, like tethered turkeys. They weaken any alliance.

Rail at the injustice if you like. A lot of people do that. It relieves their feelings. Or abuse President Mbeki, if that makes you feel better. It seems to give many Democratic Alliance members pleasure.

Brace yourself, anyway, for the fresh barrage of propaganda to continue through the Johannesburg summit as local lobbies do their best to blackmail our government to intervene by besmirching its reputation in front of the visitors, like an angry spouse trying to embarrass a partner at dinner.

Mbeki won't change course. He's a fixer, not a man of action. He doesn't go for frontal attacks, he manoeuvres silently. That's his style. White South Africans argue, some in genuine conviction, that if Mbeki refuses to berate Mugabe it proves he himself will soon be nationalising the mines and the banks, as well as the farms. The argument is silly, but if you truly believe it, take heed of what happened to Zimbabwean farmers who sat complacently waiting for the Great White Queen Across the Sea to send a warship. The time to act is now.

There's no point waiting to see if President Mbeki intends to fiddle a third term for himself. If you plan to leave, go quickly, but if you plan to stay here, try to learn some lessons from Zimbabwe.

Firstly, a white power bloc like Ian Smith's 20 reserved seats in Parliament, or the DP-NNP pact is not a shield but a target.

Secondly, the price of survival is the transformation of the country until the middle classes, the farmers, and the taxpayers are predominantly black. Thirdly, the perception that all whites are rich and all blacks poor may be false but it is deadly, so stop showing off.

Above all, don't take sides in Zimbabwe lest you prompt the landless majority of your countrymen to take the other side, and so import Zimbabwe's racial conflict into this country.

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The dawn had not yet come, but the cocks were starting to crow, as the
orange streaks filtered across the early morning sky, and I lay in bed
listening to the sounds that were as familiar to us both, as breathing the
fresh morning air.
Today was very different, this was our last morning on our beloved farm, and
we both lay distraught and sobbing as we would hear this no more, certainly
not whilst, the evil dictator, Robert Mugabe and his henchmen ruled this
devastated and starving country.
I came as a 22 year old bride to this wild bit of bush, young, full of life
and love, and fell instantly under the spell of the beautiful
Rhodesian/Zimbabwean bush.   And now 35 years later, we were being forced
off our land, so that some "fat cat chef" of the Mugabe elite, could claim
our home, our life blood, and our children and grandchildren's inherited
It is the start of spring in Zimbabwe, and for those of you who have visited
my beautiful country, will know that for farmers, this is the start of a new
season.   And a new season, brings with it, an uplifting feeling of joy and
life that is about to start a new cycle.   All one's hopes and dreams are
started at the beginning of spring, all past bad dreams and omens are
forgotten, past droughts and floods, invasions of army worm and other fungi,
hail storms with their punishing damage, everything is forgotten in that
rush of adrenalin, at the first sight of the Msasa trees unfurling their new
colourful array of leaves, in a paintbox of russets, burgundies, golds,
pinks, and finally emerald greens.
No longer to hear the women singing on their way to work, the men shouting
greetings to each other, the roar of tractors as they set out for work, to
till the rich soils.   This farm has been silent for 18 months, as Mugabe
and his thugs, have murdered, raped and reduced all within their path to
pathetic and sad ruination.   Cattle starved and hamstrung, domestic pets,
stoned to death, beautiful trees wantonly cut down, because their crime was
to house inquisitive monkeys, who would raid their pathetic attempt at
"farming".   Where once fields of green wheat waved in the wind, with
underground irrigation piping to ensure bread for all, now lie fallow and
full of weeds, the piping broken and destroyed.   Fences stolen to make
snares to trap the wild game, introduced into the small game park we
started, to utilise land not suitable for cropping or cattle.   Don't listen
to their lies of "drought"!!   Sure there was a small dry spell, but all
could have been avoided by irrigating from dams, throughout the country,
which were all over 90% full!!
Giving land to the "landless peasants", is a total lie, it is a "free for
all Ministers, Police and Army heirarchy, and Zanu pf party thugs, to lay
their hands on property that they have not paid for.   In the free world it
is called "looting and theft"! when you take something that you have not
Our millions of dollars of irrigation, is confiscated and stolen, we are not
allowed to take our equipment with us, it must be left behind, to be used
and abused, then abondoned, destroyed for ever.
My husband,'s family have been on the farms for 80 years, and many of our
workers, are third generation born on this property.   Mugabe and his
henchmen, ZANU pf have destroyed this country, land is NOT THE ISSUE, just
straight theft, rape, and a blind rage to destroy a people who were sick to
death of his murderous reign, and the systematic looting of the country's
wealth, at the expense of his people.
No more to roam the grassy fields, with dogs at heel, and birds atop, the
kudu with twitching ears, the cough of the leopard in the dead of night; the
roar of the river in flood, the smell of the tobacco curing in the barns,
the hoot of the owls that roost in the trees, the glorious smell of the
first rains on the earth, after the long dry winter.   The lowing of the
cattle, and the gentle whistle of the herdsman as he walks his charges out
to the pastures.
Dear God, if you are listening to our prayer, save our wonderful country and
its people from the evil that pervades this land, bring us peace, oh Lord we
beseech, and rid us of this nazi beast.  Zimbabwe cries out for justice, law
and order, the return of people's human rights, and an end to the murder,
rape, torture and theft, by the ruling party, and may the free world stop
standing by, and end this hell on earth, and bring the perpetuators to
justice at the court in the Hague!   Don't wait until 6 million people are
starved and tortured into submission.
I end with this poem to all farmers in Zimbabwe, as my heart breaks and my
tears flow, at such vast destruction of my Beloved Country Zimbabwe.



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Daily News

      Makoni firing slammed

      8/26/02 8:20:29 AM (GMT +2)

      By Guthrie Munyuki and Henry Makiwa

      LAWYERS, academics, economists and opposition leaders yesterday
attacked President Mugabe for kicking out of his Cabinet, Simba Makoni, seen
largely as one of the few ministers with an understanding of the enormity of
the country's economic problems.

      They dismissed the new Cabinet as pathetic with little to offer to the
tottering economy.

      Mugabe on Saturday announced a new Cabinet in which Makoni, the
Minister of Finance and Economic Development, was the only minister removed
besides Dr Timothy Stamps, who was incapacitated by illness a few months

      Stamps' Health and Child Welfare portfolio was taken over by his
former deputy, Dr David Parirenyatwa.

      Mugabe reassigned Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo to the new
portfolio of Special Affairs in the President's Office.

      Most of the other ministers retained their posts or were shifted to
      ones. These included the unpopular presidential appointees Jonathan
Moyo (Information and Publicity), Joseph Made (Lands, Agriculture and Rural
Resettlement) and Patrick Chinamasa (Justice, Legal and Parliamentary

      The only newcomers were Witness Mangwende, who bounced back as
Minister of Transport and Communications, and ex-diplomat Amos Midzi, who
was appointed to the new Ministry of Energy and Power Development.

      Three former deputy ministers were elevated to full ministers in the
new Cabinet. These are Kembo Mohadi, who replaced Nkomo at Home Affairs,
Parirenyatwa (Health and Child Welfare) and Paul Mangwana, appointed to the
new Ministry of State Enterprises and Parastatals.

      Mugabe also appointed six new deputy ministers, which saw the number
of deputy ministers increasing from nine to 12.

      Makoni was replaced by Herbert Murerwa, whose previous post at
Industry and International Trade was taken over by Samuel Mumbengegwi, the f
ormer Minister of Higher Education and Technology. Swithun Mombeshora
replaced Mumbengegwi.

      Commenting on the new Cabinet, Professor Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, a
senior lecturer in the Faculty of Social Studies at the University of
Zimbabwe (UZ), said Mugabe's new Cabinet lacked the complexion to
resuscitate the economy and was riddled with dubious ministries.

      Mukonoweshuro said Mugabe's expansion of the Cabinet flew against
economic sense.

      He said: "This is no reshuffle. Mugabe has just moved people from one
ministry to the other."

      Eric Bloch, the Bulawayo-based economist, said he was disappointed by
Makoni's dismissal at a crucial moment when he was trying to put in place
austerity measures to revive the waning economy.

      He said: "By dismissing Makoni, Mugabe is sending out a loud message -
that he has no interest in changing government policies."

      Bloch noted the increase in Cabinet portfolios would add expenditure
when the government was saddled with huge deficits.

      "There is no indication or the intent whatsoever to reverse the
current economic situation."

      "This is a very disappointing line-up with nothing that creates
excitement," said Dr Lovemore Madhuku, the chairman of the Department of
Public Law at the UZ. "It's pathetic and shows an unbelievable display of
incompetence on Mugabe's part."

      Madhuku, the chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly, added:
"The Cabinet shows Mugabe's lack of seriousness. The idea was just to fire
Makoni, but he could have done that without dissolving the
      previous Cabinet."

      He criticised the redeployment of Murerwa to the Finance Ministry
where Mugabe often attacked him for not delivering during his tenure between
1997 and early 2000.

      "One wonders what new measures Murerwa can bring about to rescue the
economy," Madhuku said.

      Tendai Biti, the opposition MDC shadow minister for Foreign Affairs,
said Murerwa would "go down in history as the Finance Minister who threw the
last sod of soil on Zimbabwe's grave. Murerwa is intellectually lukewarm.
There is nothing new he can bring."

      Biti said by retaining his loyalists, Mugabe had sent a loud message
that he was brooking no dissent.

      Biti said: "We are going to see a political shift to the right which
means there will be more violence and retribution."

      Murerwa was the Minister of Finance in November 1997, when the
government approved the hefty one-off payment of unbudgeted $4 billion in
gratuities to war veterans.

      The Zimbabwean dollar crashed on 14 November, known in financial
circles as Black Friday. The local currency has not recovered from the
battering. It is now selling at $650 and $950 against the United States
dollar and the British pound, respectively, on the parallel market.

      Frank Chamunorwa of Mashonaland East said Makoni's exit was expected
as the die was cast when Mugabe attacked him during the opening of
Parliament last month.

      He said: "But Makoni should know that well-meaning Zimbabweans still
have a lot of respect for him and wish him good luck in his endeavours."

      Ordinary Zimbabweans blasted the new cabinet as a recycling of
Mugabe's old cronies.

      Felix Vambe, a businessman said: "Nothing has changed except the
ouster of Makoni. We were hoping that the likes of Jonathan Moyo and Joseph
Made would finally face the axe after leading the country to near ruin.

      "It somehow shows Mugabe simply had no guts to openly fire Makoni and
waited for a reshuffle to send the only sane man in his government packing."

      Farai Nyazika, a student at the Mutare Polytechnic College, applauded
the change in the Ministry of Higher Education and Technology, saying
students were hoping for better times after Samuel Mumbengegwi's relocation
to the Ministry of Industry and International Trade.

      He said: "We have been feeling neglected as students. Mumbengegwi has
been very insensitive to our plight. Students have been reduced to beggars,
prostitutes and thieves."

      Swithun Mombeshora, the former Minister of Transport and
Communication, has taken over from Mumbengegwi as the Minister of Higher and
Tertiary Education.

      Colleta Munyepi said she was shocked that Made had been retained. "Any
Zimbabwean whose finger is on the pulse of the nation is aware that Made is
one of the most infamous personalities, after leading the country into

      "It is quite shocking and mind-boggling that the President retained
him. I can only conclude that the two are working in cahoots to lead us into
mass starvation."

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Daily News

      Census exercise hits snag as foreigners refuse to be counted

      8/26/02 8:24:39 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      SOME foreign residents in Zimbabwe are refusing to disclose
information about themselves to census enumerators, census manager
Washington Mapeta said yesterday.

      He said he had received reports that some foreigners were hostile to
his staff, as they argued that the census was internal and did not concern

      Mapeta said most such foreigners were from Europe and the United
States of America, which have imposed smart sanctions on President Mugabe
and most members of his inner circle.

      Mapeta said he received information that an American man living in
Harare refused to give details about himself to enumerators because he said
he was a foreigner.

      "It's a question of the methods used in enumerating," said Mapeta.

      "Some countries send census enumeration forms to their citizens in
different parts of the world to fill in so that when we do our own here they
would say the census doesn't concern them."

      Meanwhile, The Daily News has received information from a number of
enumerators around Harare that people of Malawian, Mozambican and Zambian
origin were also refusing to be counted.

      It is said most such people born in Zimbabwe but whose parents or
ancestors were of foreign origin are arguing that they are turned away from
the Passport Office whenever they seek to renew their Zimbabwean passports.

      These second or third generation Zimbabweans say they are told to
approach the embassies and high commissions of their forebears' origin for

      But Mapeta said he had not received such reports.

      Last week Mapeta said the exercise was hindered in Bindura because of
transport problems and in Murehwa, Mutoko and Marondera because of fuel

      But yesterday he said the situation in those areas had improved.

      The national census, which began on 18 August, ends tomorrow 27
August. The last one, conducted in 1992, settled on a figure of more than 13
million which was disputed.

      There was murmurings in Bulawayo and most of Matabeleland and in
Chitungwiza where residents complained they had not all been counted.

      Unlike the previous census, which received substantial donor
assistance, the government is conducting this year's census on its own as
the international community is boycotting the country to press the
government to observe human rights and to uphold the rule of law.

      The population census provides data on the demographic and related
socio-economic characteristic of the population at national and sub-national

      It is used for planning and implementing development programmes such
as housing, provision of water, sanitation and scientific research.

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Daily News

      Evicted SA farmer lashes out at Mbeki

      8/26/02 11:53:58 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      CRAWFORD Van Abo, a South African farmer and investor who was evicted
from his farm by the government last week has accused President Thabo Mbeki
and the government of failing to protect his substantial business interests
and those of other South Africans in Zimbabwe.

      He told journalists in Cape Town that his neighbours from France and
Germany, for instance, were not being subjected to the illegal expropriation
of their land by the government.

      personally spoke to my neighbour, a Frenchman. When he was threatened
his government stepped in and said: ?ou don? touch him??

      He said other European farmers in Zimbabwe had not been touched either
because their governments had intervened on their behalf.

      ?t? not a question of land,?said Van Abo. ?t? a question of politics.

      ?he sad part of it is that the people who are victimised are not the
ones who left in 1980 when Zimbabwe gained independence. They are the
productive citizens who pay their taxes and duties and are being victimised
because of the political situation.?

      At a press conference in Cape Town, Van Abo told reporters he had sent
Mbeki a letter in March asking for help.

      He and other South Africans are among commercial farmers or landowners
who have been targeted by the Zimbabwean government.

      . . . I feel free to appeal to you to assist me to a just settlement
as a loyal South African citizen,?the letter states.

      Van Abo said he was advised the matter had been referred to the
Foreign Affairs Ministry for action.

      ?o date I have heard nothing further from either the president, the
minister of foreign affairs, or any official for the department of foreign
affairs that my request is still being considered or that it has been
rejected on principles of policy.?

      Van Abo was arrested in Zimbabwe on Monday while visiting one of his
farms in the south of the country.

      He, along with other white commercial farmers, appeared in court the
following day and were released on bail. They have to appear again in court
on 18 September.

      Van Abo ?who in his letter to Mbeki said he had given premises to the
ANC in Bothaville and had been bombed and branded a sellout ?described
himself as a loyal South African and a supporter of the New Partnership for
Africa? Development (Nepad).

      I expected that as a South African investor in Zimbabwe, I would at
least have been protected by my government against the draconian actions of
an African regime which is totally in conflict with the principles of Nepad
and the new African Union.?Van Abo said he had never been a politician and
had always been involved in agriculture.

      In a statement, the New National Party (NNP) leader in Parliament, Dr
Boy Geldenhuys, said his party was disappointed that the South African High
Commission in Harare had apparently failed to do anything for Van Abo and
other South Africans in a similar predicament.

      Geldenhuys offered to be the link to Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad, whom
the NNP had met earlier in the week to raise its concerns about the Free
State farmer.

      Geldenhuys repeated that the long-term solution would be for South
Africa and Zimbabwe to conclude an agreement protecting South African
investments in that country.

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Daily News

      One law for us, another for them

      8/26/02 12:01:02 PM (GMT +2)

      By Gugulethu Moyo

      It all began with some rather hyperactive digestive enzymes affecting
my otherwise usually good judgement.

      At exactly 1:25 on Tuesday I felt an overwhelming craving for Jerk

      The only logical thing to do, or so it seemed at the time, was for me
to make a quick dash to my favourite takeaway food outlet in Ballantyne Park
and return quickly to the office for a 2.30 meeting.

      So, as it turned out, I was driving at no leisurely pace when an
ominous looking green reflective sleeve flashed right before my eyes.

      My foot hit the brakes and I stopped just in time to hear a police
officer shouting triumphantly: "You were driving at 102 km/hr in a 70 km
zone. Park your car and go across the road to pay a spot fine." He pointed
in the direction of two men who looked more like businessman than regular
policemen and were standing across the road. I will call them Police Officer
B and Police Officer C.

      True, I had been cruising along Borrowdale Road rather fast. That had
been my original intention. So, I compliantly made my way across the road to
Police Officer B, who was busy issuing tickets to other entrapped

      What occurred next was not what I had expected. "Sister," the police
officer said looking at me sternly, "in your case, you have to go to court.
Your speed was too much - 102! I don't have the power to assess the fine in
such a serious case. You just have to go to court. Give me your licence." "I
don't have it on me," I responded.

      "Now," the officer said, an ominous smile spreading across his chubby
face, "that will be another serious offence - driving without a licence. You
really need to go to court sister."

      While Police Officer B was advising me of my legal wrongs, Police
Officer A, behind the camera, netted another two offenders in quick
succession. The first one walked towards me. "I did not realise that lawyers
also commit traffic offences," he said, addressing me directly.

      Police Officer B looked at me, obviously quite amused by this new bit
of information. He asked me to confirm that I was, indeed, a lawyer.

      After I furnished him with the required confirmation, he asked me to
tell him which firm of legal practitioners I worked for.
      "So that you can defend me," he said mockingly.

      I politely declined to tell the officer where I worked, giving the
excuse that I did not think that I could ever defend him, since he seemed to
know the law even better than I did.

      In the meantime, it turned out, quite coincidentally that my friend
had also been "found guilty" of driving his BMW 328i at the speed of
102km/hr in a 70km zone. Like me, he was informed that he had to go to court
for assessment of his penalty. What happened next was again not quite what I
expected to see by the roadside on this Tuesday afternoon.

      My friend walked across the road to the police officer behind the
camera. He then swiftly handed him something, but not fast enough for me not
to see, even from a distance, that it was quite clearly a brand new $500
note. My friend jumped into his car, waved to me and sped off.

      I was shocked and that is, perhaps, an understatement. I recovered and
summoned enough courage to ask Police Officer B whether my own case still
warranted a court appearance, given that my friend had so easily purchased a
permanent stay of prosecution, courtesy of a $500 note.

      "I can use my discretion," answered the officer, as he rewarded me
with a meaningful look. "I don't have to treat all offenders the same. I
have the discretion to fine someone, to take them to court or even just to
caution them and let them go. But you are going to court, sister."

      I told him point blank that I doubted that his "discretionary powers"
included taking bribes in lieu of law enforcement.

      Confusion broke out at this point.

      Police Officer C said to Officer B, "Issue the ticket and let that
woman go. She is a trouble maker." "You will have to write out the ticket
yourself," Officer B said as he thrust pen and charge book into the hands of
Officer A, before walking away. Officer A scribbled out the ticket. He asked
me to pay a $500 admission of guilt fine, which I did. As I walked away
towards my car, I said to the police officer that since he had seemed quite
keen to know where I worked I would stop by on my return from Ballantyne
Park and satisfy his curiosity.

      Before I drove off I asked Officer A, as he peered into the camera,
whether I had really been driving at 102km, since he had never furnished me
with any proof of my speed before referring me across the road.

      "Yes, you were," he said. "But if you had been driving slowly enough
for me to see that it was such a beautiful woman driving such a beautiful
car, I would, perhaps, not have even stopped you!"

      On my way back I stopped to talk to the law-enforcement agents. I
informed Police Officer B that I worked for The Daily News.

      I don't know why, but this information did not seem to be quite what
my police officer friends had expected to hear that Tuesday afternoon. His
jaw dropped and his mouth froze while open for what seemed to me like a full
102 seconds. "My sister," he said after he regained his composure, "why did
you not tell me that at the beginning.

      "Otherwise I would not have issued the ticket. Only yesterday we
caught Minister Simba Makoni speeding. We decided it was not right to issue
a minister with a ticket. So we just let him go. I am sorry, sister, but you
should have told us who you are." Apparently he decided I was not
sufficiently placated.

      "This name," he said as he pointed at the duplicate copy of the
admission of guilt coupon, "is it your husband's name or your maiden name?".
"It's my surname," I informed him. "Ah, so you are not yet married!" he
exclaimed triumphantly. "Please, let me have your telephone number."

      I gave him a number which he carefully recorded on the back of the
charge book.

      "Maybe you and I can go for a drink," he said optimistically, as I
engaged gear while resisting a strong urge to say, "Go jump into the nearest
lake, my brother."

      And so if the story be told like it is, in the style of The Daily
News, this was my first encounter with Zimbabwe's justice enforcement
system, where police discretion might be exercised to serve, not the public
interest, but the interests of corrupt police officers, bribe-dispensing
law-breakers, beautiful women in beautiful cars, government ministers and
other such people, who might be deemed to be above the law.

      Gugulethu Moyo is the Company Secretary of Associated Newspapers of
Zimbabwe, publishers of The Daily News.

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Daily News

Leader Page

      Mugabe is the real crisis in Zimbabwe

      8/26/02 12:07:17 PM (GMT +2)

      IT'S amazing that there are people who hoped President Mugabe would
break with the dark past and appoint a progressive Cabinet capable of saving
Zimbabwe from almost certain economic catastrophe.

      There were no such indications on the ground: his public denunciation
of the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Simba Makoni, as a
potential "saboteur" of the economy signalled his determination to keep his
head firmly in the sand of the economics of political expediency.

      Once he had intimidated Nkosana Moyo, the former Minister of Industry
and International Trade, out of the Cabinet last year, only a few months
after his much-ballyhooed appointment, the signs were clear.

      The economy would remain anchored in the sunken ship of Zanu PF's
failed policies, superintended by the party's geriatric troika of Mugabe,
Simon Muzenda and Joseph Msika.

      Makoni, like Moyo, had been brought in, ostensibly, to give the
Cabinet "new blood".

      But this was a smokescreen through which Moyo managed to perceive his
own political demise.

      Makoni, a Zanu PF cadre, retained faith in the party even when others
advised him to follow Moyo's example.

      He must know now that Zanu PF is beyond redemption.

      For some inexplicable reason, Mugabe seems to believe his land reform
programme will solve all our economic problems.

      Hence his reason for retaining the three non-constituency ministers
who have been his most prominent and aggressive apologists - Patrick
Chinamasa, Joseph Made and Jonathan Moyo.

      As the chief government legal adviser, Chinamasa has dragged the
country into the gutter. Internationally, its reputation for law breaking is
one of the most appalling in the world.

      He himself was almost jailed for contempt.

      If Mugabe enjoys his company so much, it must explain why the rule of
law is in tatters today.

      Made is a classic example of a minister who believes his own
propaganda. The chaotic implementation of the land reform programme has had
no impact on him whatsoever.

      As far as he is concerned, Zimbabwe does not have a food deficit and
will continue to enjoy food security for many, many years to come,
especially after the resettled farmers have been given their new hoes.

      As for Jonathan Moyo, he would be well-advised to prepare for a fight
to the finish in his battle to emasculate the privately-owned media in this

      Nobody is going to lie down and die because he believes the only
ethical journalism permissible is that which licks his and his boss's boots.

      The independent media is ready to shed its last drop of blood before
it allows Moyo to castrate it into the eunuch that he has made of the public
media. The future of democracy in Zimbabwe is firmly linked to the future of
a free and unfettered media. One cannot exist without the other.

      The rest of the Mugabe reshuffle has a certain surrealist quality to
it: what possible justification can there be for bringing into the Cabinet
has-beens such as Witness Mangwende and Amos Midzi?

      Makoni's replacement at Finance is Herbert Murerwa, who held that
portfolio for some time, until Mugabe humiliated him publicly, before
switching him to another less challenging post.

      There could be a good reason for torturing the country with another
term of Murerwa as its Finance Minister, but the only one we can think of is
that he is so unlike Makoni in his approach - he has no original approach to
speak of.

      Mugabe has lumbered this country with a Cabinet that is, in a manner
of speaking, "very Mugabe" - long on talk and threats and very short on
action and consultation.

      Makoni said the economy was in crisis and probably earned Mugabe's
everlasting wrath for his candour.

      Today, there will be nobody in the Cabinet with the courage to tell
Mugabe the unadorned truth - which is what Mugabe cherishes the most.

      The real crisis in Zimbabwe, if the truth be told, is Mugabe himself.

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      One man's actions endanger entire region

      8/26/02 12:07:54 PM (GMT +2)

      By Harry Sterling

      WHAT is Africa going to do about Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe?

      At a time when African states have been trying to convince the outside
world that their newly created African Union intends to ensure all countries
fully respect democratic principles and the rule of law, President Mugabe
has ordered most remaining white farmers to leave their lands without

      This action follows hard on the heels of stringent new media
regulations to further muzzle the few voices within Zimbabwe still prepared
to expose his government's systematic violation of human rights.

      Mugabe's actions are an affront to those who have tried to downplay
the undermining of rights in Zimbabwe and the violence unleashed by the

      His latest land grab was set in motion weeks ago, while African
leaders were in Alberta trying to convince G8 member nations, including
Canada, to support their proposed New Partnership for Africa's Development
between African nations and donor states.

      Some of those same leaders, including South African President Thabo
Mbeki, have gone to bat for Mugabe in the past when other countries wanted
tough sanctions imposed on his government for violating human rights and
allegedly rigging the presidential election.

      But no one should be surprised by Mugabe's expropriation of most
remaining white-owned farmland.

      Anyone who has followed Mugabe's actions over the years could have
predicted what has happened, not just to white farmers, but also to
      Zimbabwe's newly created political opposition and human rights

      Once it became apparent that his government's gross economic
mismanagement and corruption was endangering his political future, Mugabe
didn't hesitate to hit back at his opponents, as he did in the 1980s when
his followers ran amok in anti-Mugabe areas, massacring entire villages.

      Although Mugabe initially tried to win back popular support by
confiscating white-owned lands, this clearly did not eliminate the threat
posed by the neophyte political opposition force, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), led by former trade union head Morgan Tsvangirai.

      When the MDC appeared to be gaining popular support, even from Mugabe'
s own Shona tribe - traditionally loyal to his Zanu PF party - the President
set his thugs upon MDC activists, torturing and killing dozens prior to the
recent presidential election.

      His followers also fire-bombed the country's only independent daily
newspaper, The Daily News, repeatedly harassing its editor and journalists.

      When members of the country's High Court ruled the land seizures
violated Zimbabwe's Constitution, Mugabe intimidated law-minded judges into
"retiring" out of fear for their lives.

      He then packed the court with compliant new judges who reversed
earlier findings against land seizures.

      The land seizures take place at a time when about half the population
of 12 million face chronic food shortages, with starvation now appearing in
various areas.

      Much of the responsibility for this growing tragedy rests with Mugabe.
      Until recently, Zimbabwe actually exported grain to other countries.

      (In recent days, Mugabe threatened to seize the country's largest food
processing company for not selling salt at uneconomic, government-controlled

      But Mugabe's repressive actions and the deteriorating economic
situation are not only destabilising his country; they could have a
dangerous spillover effect on neighbouring states.

      Famine and instability could spark a major humanitarian crisis and a
flood of refugees into nearby nations, particularly South Africa.

      (The seizure of white-owned farms in Zimbabwe has also had an impact
in South Africa, where some blacks support similar actions against their
country's white farmers, several of whom have been killed in the past
several years.)

      It is very much in the interest of African states, as well as
Commonwealth nations and others, to recognise the danger Mugabe's continued
rule represents.

      Direct dealings with his government should be severely restricted and
humanitarian and development aid channelled exclusively through
      reputable non-governmental organisations.

      African leaders such as Mbeki and Nigeria's President Olusegun
Obasanjo can no longer afford to find excuses for Mugabe's repressive rule.

      If they don't act to restrain his excesses, they could confront
another crisis right on their own doorsteps.

      And the horrific events in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra
Leone, Rwanda and elsewhere graphically illustrate what could happen if
African leaders continue to stay silent while Mugabe drags everyone closer
to the abyss.

      Former diplomat Harry Sterling is an Ottawa-based commentator who has
served in Africa twice.

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      Starving Matabeleland villagers

      8/26/02 1:12:31 PM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo

      THOUSANDS of people are starving in the Madlambudzi area of
Bulilimamangwe District despite humanitarian efforts by the World Vision and
the World Food Programme to help stave off starvation in various parts of

      Many villagers in the Madlambudzi area, some 77km west of Plumtree,
now live in abject poverty which has been worsened by a drought that
resulted in the failure of crops in the naturally dry region.

      World Vision, a non-governmental organisation, started its operations
in the area in July this year, giving a six-member family a 50kg pack of
yellow maize, two litres of cooking oil and some sugar beans.

      But this is regarded as inadequate for such a large family.

      "While the World Vision's initiative is a commendable step, I think
more should be done to save us from starvation," said Nyungwe Ndlovu, a
widow struggling to survive.

      "As it is, with the aid that we get, we can only afford one decent
meal a day," she said.

      Another villager, Christopher Tshuma, said humanitarian efforts should
be intensified to cushion people from starvation.

      "Concerted efforts should be made to come up with a viable programme
that will contain an already explosive situation," he said.

      Some villagers who have not yet benefited from the programme are
reported to be surviving on wild fruits which they pound into a powder to
make some porridge, sparking fears that this may result in people eating
poisonous fruits.

      Meanwhile, some villagers cross the border illegally into Botswana to
exchange earthenware utensils for anything edible.

      "Scores of people are crossing the border into Botswana to barter
their products for anything that is edible. Something should be done by the
government to help us," said Sheddy Ngwenya, another villager.

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      Chissano to open Harare Show

      8/26/02 1:13:00 PM (GMT +2)

      By Collin Chiwanza

      PRESIDENT Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique will officially open this
year's Harare Agricultural Show, the country's premier farming showcase,
which starts today.

      Last year, the show was officially opened by Major General Joseph
Kabila, the DRC president.

      Dr Tony Mutukumira, the information officer for the show, confirmed to
The Daily News that Chissano would be this year's guest of honour.

      This year's official opening ceremony will be held on Friday 30

      Showgoers will this year not have the opportunity to view the
different fascinating varieties of cattle, while there has also been a
significant drop in the number of exhibitors in the dairy and tobacco

      There was a sharp decline in the number of exhibitors in the dairy
produce section, with a total of about 38 exhibitors coming this year as
compared to last year's 51.

      In the tobacco industry section, only 28 exhibitors, from last year's
76 will be coming to participate at this year's agricultural show.

      Mutukumira attributed the sharp decline in the number of exhibitors to
the ongoing chaos on most commercial farms throughout the country.

      He said while the absence of animals last year was mainly due to the
foot-and-mouth disease outbreak, this year most commercial farmers showed a
total lack of interest in the event because of the
      serious uncertainties they face on their farms.

      Thousands of commercial farmers have been served with Section 8
eviction notices which compel them to vacate their premises within the
stipulated deadlines or face arrest.

      More than 200 farmers have already been arrested over the past few
days and dragged before the courts on charges of failing to comply with the
eviction orders.

      A number of them were given very stringent bail conditions, which
forbid them from visiting their farms or even getting anywhere near them.

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      A tale of the fiddling DA and the inflammable major

      8/26/02 12:31:27 PM (GMT +2)

      Candid talk with Masola waDabudabu

      At times I think I am traumatised by some of the nasty things that
happened around me at one time or the other.

      I occasionally suffer bouts of uncontrollable fits as I relive some of
the dreadful events that affected me.

      Some of my memories on the sad events are so vivid and so scary that I
find myself living in fear of the horrors brought on by those memories.

      I get scared when my sour experiences come back like a déjà vu.

      While somehow those memories of the intense aerial bombardment of our
camps in Zambia by the Rhodesian Air Force jets have finally been accepted
by my system as having been a necessary evil during an armed struggle, I
find myself having to ponder over some more recent sanguinary issues.

      I shall share with you one such instance with its chilling memories.
      I recall with exacting accuracy the curfew that visited the railway
town of Plumtree in 1984. I recall most of the events that took place as the
curfew hit the ordinary people hard.

      During the curfew, some special forces were deployed in Plumtree.
Luckily, they were not the men from the 5 Brigade, which was affectionately
known as the Gukurahundi by its owners.

      They claimed to have come from a place known as Empress Mine near
Kadoma. They called themselves the Presidential Guard.

      When these gentlemen arrived in Plumtree and its environs and told the
people that they were called the Presidential Guard, most of us felt
honoured to be afforded men who normally brush shoulders with the President,
for our security.

      I remember a friend of mine expressing his gratitude to the then
President, Canaan Banana, for compromising his own safety for the safety of
the people of Plumtree. We felt very honoured indeed.

      Our positive excitement was short-lived when the men who had been
"donated" to the menace of the marauding armed dissidents took no time in
exhibiting their rough edges. The men soon began working their way into the
feelings of the innocent people by adopting a heavy hand.

      I am not sure if they extended the same treatment to the dissidents
they were hunting down, though.

      My friend, the very one who had applauded the deployment of the men
from the Presidential Guard, concluded that the soldiers seemed to believe
that everyone in their operational areas was a dissident.

      My first real encounter with the men from the Presidential Guard is
the focus of this article.

      Early one morning, I was awoken by a forceful knock on my door. When I
asked the person who was knocking to reduce his or her degree of rudeness, I
was shocked to hear the voice at the other end threatening to blast its way
into the house.

      Timidly, I opened the door to three average-sized soldiers who were
armed for hot combat. Before I could welcome them in, a blow from the butt
of a rifle into my stomach introduced me to the mood of the occasion.

      The three men told me the next time they called at my place, my
response should be prompt and polite. They got into the house and demanded
to search it for arms of war and armed dissidents.

      Everyone in the house was roused from their sleep and interrogated on
the subject of dissidents. After the three soldiers had finished, they
      ordered us to join the rest of the people of Plumtree town who were
being gathered at the shopping centre in Dingumuzi township.

      At Dingumuzi shopping centre, I found out that most of the people had
already been gathered.

      The soldiers and some non-uniformed personnel were busy screening the

      Emphasis seemed to be on men aged between 16 and 40.

      I fell into that group.

      We were all bundled into army trucks and driven to Plumtree Police
Station. At the station, there was more screening. Those who did not pass
the test were again loaded into army trucks and sent to a destination we did
not know. My innocent face saved me. I passed the screening exercise with
flying colours.

      Those of us who had passed the screening test were ordered to walk
back to the shopping centre where the rest of the people had remained.

      When I got to the shopping centre, I discovered that the soldiers were
addressing the people. An army major stood up and started leading us in
shouting party slogans.

      He got the shock of his life. The people did not respond.

      Of all the people gathered at the shopping centre, a negligible
percentage had ever been subjected to Zanu PF slogans. Most of the people
were used to shouting PF Zapu slogans.

      In anger, the major started haranguing the people of Plumtree for not
responding to his slogans. Angrily, he told them that the time was
approaching when everyone would shout his party's slogans with great zeal.

      The army major went on to insult the people of Plumtree for being
backward and uneducated. He boasted that at that particular instant, he was
the only one with a university degree. I personally felt emotionally and
physically injured.

      Here was a man insulting the intelligence of the people of Plumtree. I
knew I had dropped out from varsity, but that did not mean that everyone
else in Plumtree was as illiterate as the army major was claiming. The
people of Plumtree felt injured. I felt injured too.

      Since the army cordon was taking place for the first time in the town
of Plumtree, I was left wondering what the influential people were doing,
letting this army man stage a coup d'etat in their town. I wondered where
the district administrator (DA) was. I had had faith in the authority of the
DA until the army major breached that faith.

      When the major was over and done with us, the people were left visibly
shaken and taken aback by the exercise. Little did they know that more was
coming their way. As the curfew period got on, we began to understand that
the beatings, the meetings and the tirades would go on until kingdom come.
We got used to the beatings. We got used to the
      insults. We got used to the slogans.

      We never really got used to being bona fide members of his party. As
for me, I never got used to being part of bush democracy, even though I had
spent part of my life in the bush.

      The tale of the politically active army major and that of the inactive
DA has lived with me for a long time. I thought I would never have to fall
foul of their different ways of indifference and deviousness again. I was

      I had an encounter with the twosome during the March presidential
election. The one who had made us respond to the slogans had been honoured
to supervise the election, while the DA who did not react to a military
take-over was busy giving the results of the presidential election
constituency by constituency in Ndebele.

      This could explain why eight years ago the DA fiddled while the major
and his men were busy torching his district with flames of hate.

      The involvement of the two in an election revived my dormant memories.
I remember it all . . .

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Daily News


      Africa's simple choice - bullets or ballots

      8/26/02 1:05:13 PM (GMT +2)

      While the world's richest nations debate trade liberalisation and
fixing flawed aid programmes, two recent key events suggest African leaders
are at last committing themselves to democracy, human rights and the
eradication of corruption.

      Together they signal a new dawn for Africa that can do far more good
for the continent than anything that comes out of this week's big United
Nations summit on sustainable development in Johannesburg.

      Last month, the leaders of the continent's 53 states established the
African Union (AU), modelled on the European Union.

      This new body will include an Executive Council, a Pan-African
Parliament, Court of Justice, and a Commission. Its programme calls for
"respect for democratic principles, human rights, the rule of law and good
governance" to make African nations self-reliant.

      The other important step took place at the recent G8 summit in Canada,
when world leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the New Partnership for
Africa's Development (Nepad) and undertook "to establish enhanced
partnerships with African countries whose performance reflects the Nepad

      Countries must now commit themselves to good governance, democracy and
the rule of law, and pursue policies that spur economic growth, alleviate
poverty and encourage foreign investment.

      Both events represent African solutions to Africa's problems,
signaling a desire to rediscover the Lost Continent and replace dictatorship
by the bullet with decision-making through the ballot. Europe must support
this call by African leaders, since it is in all our interests to see
political stability and economic growth there.

      But the real challenge for the AU and Nepad is, as one village elder
told us: "You cannot eat democracy!" Certainly, the continent's problems
speak for themselves.

      The World Bank forecasts the number of poor people will rise to 345
million by 2015 from 300 million in 2000. On present trends, around 37
percent of Africans will survive on US$1 per day by 2015, and over half the
children will receive no education. UNAids estimates over 19 million have
died of Aids, and by 2020, 55 million more will die without treatment and
prevention programmes.

      And then there is the famine now hitting over 13 million people across
southern Africa.

      But will African leaders opt for growth based on individual freedoms,
or unity where the battle cry "evil West" is the answer to all problems?

      True, the colonial past left Africa with borders that divide
traditional communities, and tragic memories of slavery and oppression.

      But the history is complex, and the continent should aspire to move
beyond the trauma of the past in the hope of finding a new global role.

      Key to any moves forward is Nepad's recognition that past attempts to
establish continent-wide development programmes "for a variety of reasons,
both internal and external, including questionable leadership and ownership
by Africans themselves" were unsuccessful. But this depends critically on
African politicians no longer wishing to grab and then retain power whatever
the price.

      Nepad's African peer-review process will be a decisive element in
securing democratic stability, and will affect future aid disbursements.
Whilst most African countries hold multiparty elections fairly regularly and
some governments are unseated, multiparty competition has not yet led to
more effective and accountable government nor sustained economic

      Without an independent judiciary, public service ethos and free media,
African democracy institutionalises an oligarchy which exploits and distorts
ancient tribal loyalties.

      Nations like Nigeria, Mauritius, Cape Verde, Senegal, Ghana, Botswana,
Madagascar and Mali all offer hope for the future, and recent developments
in Zambia are promising. But Uganda, Guinea Bissau, Cameroon, Kenya, and the
tragic crisis in Zimbabwe show there is a long way to go.

      Since Nepad will be linked to the African Union, the international
donor community will have a good chance to re-assess its approach to aid by
increasing cooperation between donors and reducing duplication

      Donors must seriously discuss what enhanced partnership by and with a
selected group of countries entails. Nepad refers to "an independent
mechanism for assessing donor and recipient country performance" based on
mutually agreed criteria. The contractual relationship contained in the
ACP-EU Partnership Agreement (signed in Cotonou) between 92 nations across
Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific regions is one model for
development policy globally with its mechanism for suspending
non-humanitarian aid.

      But in turn the developed world should remove its tariffs and
subsidies and give better advice to developing nations on economic
      Optimism for Africa's future is sadly undermined by the brutality of
several regimes. And indeed, previous African leaders like Idi Amin Dada,
Jean-Bedel Bokassa, Mobutu Sese Seko, Kamuzu Banda, Laurent Kabila and Siad
Barre should remind us all of past mistakes.

      But African leaders have worked more closely among themselves to
resolve outstanding conflicts. Here the recent success in the Sudan peace
talks, and between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, could
mark a commendable change.

      Crucial to the African Union's and Nepad's evolution are two electoral
tests of the will to pursue democracy and reform. This year, in Kenya,
President Daniel arap Moi ends his 24 years in power.

      And in 2003, Nigeria - with 120 million citizens and over 250 ethnic
groups - has its presidential election to decide if President Olusegun
Obasanjo continues in office. Before 1999, Nigeria was under military rule
for 16 years, and the recent rise of Islamic fundamentalism may prove
critical to the outcome in Nigeria.

      In a testament to this, an Islamic court in northern Nigeria this week
upheld the Draconian conviction of death by stoning of Amina Lewal, who has
an eight-month-old baby, for sex outside marriage.

      We share a moral, social, economic and historic responsibility to make
the AU and Nepad work. We must also be prepared to talk bluntly and to
tackle vested interests.

      No longer should taxpayer money be squandered by dictators, but this
also means financial and industrial conglomerates must not act as havens for
corrupt dealings.

      Ultimately Africa's people must be able to exercise their democratic
rights if the continent is to achieve a more prosperous and stable future in
which individual freedoms are respected. And without good governance and
transparency no amount of aid money will turn around failing state

      Mr Corrie is a British Conservative member of the European Parliament
and honorary life president of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly. Mr
Beyer Helm is a policy adviser for the European People's Party (Christian
Democrats) and European Democrats group in Parliament. - Wall Street Journal

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From The Sunday Telegraph (UK), 25 August

Dora, 12, gang-raped by Mugabe's men for four hours

In the rape camps of Zimbabwe, young girls are horrifically abused - often
to punish Mugabe's political opponents. Foreign Correspondent of the Year
Christina Lamb meets the victims and reveals their anguish

'The game we are about to play needs music," the Zimbabwean police constable
said to the 12-year old girl. But as he tossed a mattress on to the ground
it was clear that it was no game that he was planning. For the next four
hours the girl's mother and younger sisters, aged nine and seven, were
forced to chant praises to Robert Mugabe and watch Dora being gang-raped by
five "war veterans" and the policeman. "Every time they stopped singing the
policeman and war vets beat them with shamboks and sticks," said Dora,
crying and clenching her hands repeatedly as she recalled the ordeal which
took place behind her family hut in a village in the dark shadow of the
Vumba mountains of Manicaland, in eastern Zimbabwe. "They kept thrusting
themselves into me over and over again saying: 'This is the punishment for
those of you who want to sell this country to Tony Blair and the whites'.
When they had finished it hurt so much I couldn't walk."

Now in hiding, spending most of her nights in frightened wakefulness, she
remembers feeling the rough breath on her face, the hands forcing apart her
thighs, and "that animal thing" as she calls it slamming into her underfed
body. Dora was raped because her father is a supporter of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change. He is not a candidate, not a party official,
just a simple carpenter who had mistakenly believed that he lived in a
country where he could vote for whom he liked. Dora's story, as she tells
it, started with a Land Rover full of war veterans drawing up at the door
around 10pm one evening in June, while her father was away, and ended with
her left bruised and bleeding at 2.30am. "There had been a bad luck owl in
the msasa tree that day," she said, recalling hearing it in between passing
out. But the real beginning of the horror can be traced back to March when
her village voted against Mugabe in the presidential elections. For rape has
become the latest weapon in Mugabe's war on his own population. Dora's
echoing screams on the African night was a warning to all the other
villagers as to what might happen to those who even think of defying the
president again.

Dora is one of hundreds of young girls who are being raped in the fields and
mountains of rural Zimbabwe every month as part of what human rights workers
are calling a "systematic political cleansing of the population". Many of
the girls are taken to camps run by Mugabe's youth militia, the Green
Bombers, a sinister parallel to the rape camps of Bosnian Muslim women
established by Serb forces in the early 1990s. And with half the country
facing starvation, more and more youths are being lured to join the militia
by the prospect of food. In Zimbabwe, though, there is an extra, fatal
dimension to the ordeals that the women endure: with 38 per cent of the
population HIV positive, the rape is often the start of a death sentence.
"We're seeing an enormous prevalence of rape and enough cases to say it's
being used by the state as a political tool with women and girls being raped
because they are wives, girlfriends or daughters of political activists,"
said Tony Reeler, the clinical director of the Amani Trust, a Harare-based
organisation that monitors and treats torture victims. "There are also
horrific cases of girls as young as 12 or 13 being taken off to militia
camps, used and abused and kept in forced concubinage. But I suspect, as
with Bosnia, the real extent of what is happening is going to take a hell of
a long time to come out."

Rape goes unreported in many countries but more so in Africa, particularly
in rural areas where a raped daughter is seen as bringing shame on the
family and afterwards becomes hard to marry. The pressure to remain silent
is even stronger in a repressive police state where the police are often the
perpetrators. Dora's family did go to the police station only to be laughed
at with the words: "We're not fools to arrest one of our colleagues." Nor do
many rape victims receive medical treatment. In Dora's case the local clinic
had no drugs and the family did not have the money to take her to hospital,
so she is being treated with traditional herbs. Her own dreams of becoming a
nurse are in tatters as she is terrified that she may have been infected
with the Aids virus. In a month-long investigation, one of the most
disturbing I have ever conducted in 15 years of foreign reporting, I and The
Sunday Telegraph's photographer Justin Sutcliffe visited villages in the
Zambezi valley, Matabeleland and Manicaland, interviewing rape victims and
their families in secret locations. We talked to a teacher beaten so badly
that she had lost her baby, and a former militia member who had participated
in the raping and pillaging intended to pacify the countryside. We found a
population living in terror, some towns completely "cleansed" of all
opposition. We spent a night in terror ourselves when our car broke down in
a village in the Zambezi valley, 40 miles from the nearest telephone,
leaving us to listen to chants of "Pasi ne murungu" ("Down with the white
man") and other slogans of Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party coming from a group
of men around a fire.

Fear and hunger are what passes for life in much of Mugabe's Zimbabwe. In
the capital Harare there is a facade of normality - workmen repaint the blue
trolley shelter in the gleaming new airport terminal, the traffic lights
work, and pavement cafes serve the best cappuccino in Africa. The roads are
full of gleaming new BMWs, known as "Girlfriends of Ministers' cars", bought
by government officials profiting from black market money speculation. The
only signs of anything amiss are the long snaking queues for bread, sugar
and fuel, the absence of maize (previously the country's staple food) from
all shops, and the number of people simply hanging around. Unemployment has
now reached 70 per cent of the working population. In the rural areas that
Zimbabwe's Marxist president regards as his stronghold it is a different
story. Furious that so many of "his" people voted against him in elections -
which he knows very well he did not really win - and incensed by calls such
as that last week from the Bush administration demanding a rerun, he has
unleashed his forces to wreak revenge in the most horrible manner. At his
inauguration in April, the 78-year-old who has ruled the country since
independence in 1980, warned the opposition: "We'll make them run if they
haven't run before." Imagining his declaration of victory would bring an end
to the violence which had dogged the campaign, no one then realised the
lengths to which he was prepared to go. Officials now speak of "taking the
system back to zero" and of reducing the country's 12 million population in
a chilling echo of what the Khmer Rouge did in Cambodia in the 1970s and
seem to even be employing similar tactics of emptying cities and targeting

Last week Didymus Mutasa, the organisation secretary of Zanu PF, said: "We
would be better off with only six million people, with our own people who
support the liberation struggle." With rural council elections due next
month which the president has no intention of losing, the violence has
re-started. What has changed is the focus on women and the blatant use of
police along with youth militia who are supposed to be doing national
service and call themselves "taliban". The situation is particularly bad in
Manicaland, or Eastern Highlands as the settlers called it, apparently
reminded of Scotland by its misty mountains. In the town of Buhera, anyone
who is against Mugabe has been forced to flee. Many have been served with
court orders not allowing them back into the area until October 2, three
days after the elections. In Chiminga, the court officials have fled because
they had been beaten by Zanu PF militia for granting bail to MDC members.
"Mugabe has no intention of being challenged again," said Roy Bennett, the
opposition MP for Chimanimani in Manicaland. "He looks at anyone who doesn't
support Zanu PF as an enemy of the state who must be crushed using any
means, and he has completely politicised the police."

The outside world has played into Mugabe's hands by focusing on the plight
of the 4,300 white farmers and the bizarre attempts to destroy commercial
agriculture at a time when half his population is threatened with
starvation. Hundreds of white farmers have been arrested over the past 10
days for defying a government order to move off their land. The other evil
that he is perpetrating in the countryside is not easy to investigate.
Mugabe has stationed two officers from his feared Central Intelligence
Organisation in every village; merely talking to a murungu, or white man,
can lead to interrogation or beatings. Driving around remote eastern and
northern areas, not knowing who might be watching or what side they might be
on is an eerie experience. In areas such as Hwedza, where most of the
farmers have been evicted, the war veterans who have taken over are setting
fire to the fields to prepare them for traditional subsistence farming.
Plumes of smoke dot the horizon and flames lick the side of the road - at
times it seems as if the whole country is burning. Every so often a white
homestead surrounded by red bougainvillea and jacaranda trees comes into
view, a strange island amid the blackened land. In almost every village
where people were known to have voted against Mugabe, we pieced together the
same story of beatings of teachers and wanton destruction of property.
Everywhere we saw the charred skeletons of burnt bicycles, the main mode of
transport of rural MDC workers. "The Black Boots [police] burnt my house,"
said 47-year-old George, an MDC campaigner forced to flee Buhera two weeks
ago. "We don't own much but they smashed all we had in front of my children,
then urinated in the small amounts of sugar and flour we had left."

The villagers' greatest fear is being taken to one of the camps. They were
set up before the elections to train the youth militia to harass the MDC and
many remain in existence. Apparently funded from the Food to Work programme,
under which youths are supposed to receive food aid for work such as road
building, they form the centres for Mugabe's terror campaign. We visited one
of the most notorious at Bazeley River in Manicaland. On the main road
outside the camp was a police roadblock, clearly designed to stop anyone
getting near. With The Corrs blaring from our car stereo, however, they
believed our story of being tourists lost in search of a particular mountain
and incredibly let us through. We reached the camp by crossing a narrow
bridge and driving up a dirt track. The series of tents around a trestle
table at which young men were helping themselves to breakfast looked
unnervingly like a scout camp apart from the "Do Not Enter" sign painted
angrily on the gate, the surly red-eyed men hanging around wearing T-shirts
bearing the legend "The Third Chimurenga", after the liberation war, and
pictures of Osama bin Laden. It was here that 15-year-old Priscilla, whom I
had interviewed in a safe house in Harare, was raped repeatedly for three
days then had her genitals burnt with a poker. It was here, too, that
Benjamin, a 32-year-old teacher, was badly beaten after having his house
burnt down. "They accused me of repeating the word chinja [change - the
opposition MDC election slogan] in lessons. They took me in to one of the
tents and forced me to lie on my stomach and said they would keep beating me
until I defecated. I told them I had already defecated in my pants but they
said: 'No, you must defecate your whole intestines.' Finally they stopped
and made me crawl in the mud. When they let me go, they said this is only a
taste of what will happen to you."

A former member of the youth militia, who fled because he was so appalled at
what he was being ordered to do and is now in hiding, agreed to talk to The
Sunday Telegraph about what went on in the camp. "I was desperate," he said.
"I had lost my job in a fried chicken takeaway last November and have a wife
and 13-month-old baby girl to support. So when Zanu PF people came around
our houses I joined. They said we would get Z$50,000 [about £600] but we
didn't get any money, just food and beer. There were about 200 of us in the
camp and we called ourselves 'the taliban'. Our doctrine was to be against
the white man, he was our worst enemy, and our hero was bin Laden because of
the way he stood up against the West. We were trained to be vigilant, always
looking for opposition supporters, and were told if we saw anyone with an
MDC T-shirt we must assault them with whips, catapults, steel bars. The idea
was to instil fear in people so they would be frightened to vote and to take
revenge against those who had. Then a couple of months ago they said it is
the women who are behind this campaign to bring back white rule. They told
us to take them to the bush, that they are daughters of dogs and coconuts,
and to bring young ones back to the camp to service us. When I said we can't
do this, that these are our sisters, they accused me of being a 'sell-out'
and beat me."

Few of the victims are prepared to talk about their experiences. One who did
agree to be interviewed in a safe house in Mutare was a girl called Sara who
looks younger than her 16 years. Sara had been left with her 12-year-old
brother and orphaned seven-year-old twin cousins when her parents fled their
village after numerous beatings and threats, believing that the children
would be safer on their own. "One night around midnight we were woken by
banging on the door," she recalled. "There were about 25 men. They demanded
to know where my parents were. I told them that they were away at a funeral
but they refused to believe me. They took everything out of the cupboards,
all our pots and plates, and started breaking them with iron bars. I begged
them to stop but they said: 'You must pay the price for what your parents
have done.' One of them asked me if I'd ever slept with a man. I said no,
and he said: 'Today you start, come and show us the white in you.' He stuck
his hand in my mouth to stop me screaming. When he had finished he peed on
me." In tears, she added: "I told my brother. We didn't know what to do, we
were just children." When Sara's father discovered what had happened he was
outraged. "I went to the police and they said: 'You people voted for a
nonsense party, why didn't you vote for Zanu PF?' " Shaking his head, Sara's
father insists: "This is not a local thing, it's from the top, from the
president himself. This is a monster government doing monstrous things."

The names of the rape victims have been changed for their protection

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