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

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The Zimbabwean

EXCLUSIVE: MDC rejects unity gov

LONDON - The leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
Morgan Tsvangirai says his party has no intention of joining Zanu (PF) in a
government of national unity. In an exclusive interview with The Zimbabwean,
Tsvangirai said this week the MDC's willingness to talk to the ruling party
was an attempt to solve the nation's problems - not to be incorporated in
Zanu (PF).
"For the record, the MDC has never sought to partner Zanu (PF) in
government. We seek no such partnership, not another so-called Unity Accord
nor the kind of co-operation that leads to the demise of any political party
in Zimbabwe," he said, adding that political dialogue was now more necessary
than ever 'given the dire consequences, political polarization and
humanitarian emergencies that confront us today'.

Responding to Mugabe's outburst on his return from China last week,
Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe was now a failed state and the international
community recognized that the nation faced an emergency created by the
ruling party. The matter could not be solved by parliament, as Mugabe had

"Politicians have a duty to show leadership. Resorting to hard-line
positions, populist posturing and open dictatorship denies Zimbabweans a
chance to solve their problems," he said. "Without principled dialogue
between the main political players, the regime will find it impossible to
restore our country to the family of normal nations."

Tsvangirai said Operation Murambatsvina had clearly targeted urban
supporters of his party, which had mobilized donor support from churches and
civic organizations to alleviate the suffering. "Most foreign journalists
have been deported during the past five years, and the few still around
could not adequately cover the scale of operation. Our activists risked life
and limb to put the disaster on record. In fact much of the footage seen on
international television channels was supplied by them," he said.

"We are accused of failing to mobilise people to resist the operation. Those
familiar with the repressive and brutal nature of the regime could
understand that it is not easy to ask desperate people, without homes, food,
or incomes, huddled outside the remains of their destroyed homes, to risk
direct confrontation with the armed forces. These people had been broken,
and remain so today. They need time to recover and regroup. In Chitungwiza,
Glen View and Mabvuku, the people did resist. But their efforts were
overwhelmed by sheer force."

Questioned on the way forward, Tsvangirai said the party was changing its
strategy, to take into account its experiences at the hands of Zanu (PF).
"For five years we put our faith in the electoral route. Since the party's
first attempt at dislodging Zanu (PF) from political power, we pursued five
options - elections, litigation, dialogue, mass action and international

"We believe we have a clear roadmap to achieve our objective, given the
realities in our midst. The people know their primary needs: food and jobs,"
he said. "A strategy for democratic resistance can never be discussed in
newspaper columns if it is to succeed.

Asked about reports of infiltration of his party Tsvangirai said: "The
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) has always been there. We are
dealing with a rogue regime, running a criminal state. What I know is that
despite the CIO efforts to destroy the MDC, they have failed. We remain
vigilant. They are wasting their time. The CIO project includes a
disinformation campaign . put in place at a huge cost to the Zimbabwean
taxpayer - the majority being MDC supporters. For example, the current CIO
budget for destabilising the MDC was in excess of Z$300 billion. I
understand this amount has already been exhausted and the spy agency has
submitted a supplementary budget to take it through to December 2005."

Leading a desperate and despondent people, who have been repeatedly blocked
from exercising their democratic right to elect a government of their own
choice, is an emotionally demanding undertaking. We have managed to counsel
patience and perseverance in a volatile climate of extreme turmoil.

On Mugabe's request to the South Africans for a loan, the MDC leader said:
"In principle, there is nothing wrong with Zimbabweans getting aid to
procure medical drugs, food and other emergency supplies. But we require a
resolution, not short-term crisis management interventions. What will happen
after we exhaust the US$1 billion? The crisis here is essentially political;
it is a crisis of governance and legitimacy, which must be resolved.

"Legitimacy can only be conferred to a government by the people of Zimbabwe
in a political process that brings about a result acceptable to all.
Criminal states whose rulers routinely turn against their own people, as was
the case with Murambatsvina, are destined to fail."

Responding to reports of a rift between himself and secretary general
Welshman Ncube, Tsvangirai said this was far from the truth. "We have a good
working relationship. The media has continually speculated that I have a
problem with various colleagues. These are all failed strategies to portray
the MDC as a confused party. I enjoy the goodwill and support of all the top
officials. Further, I have confidence in the current leadership of the
party. It appears there is a sinister plan to find fault with us along
ethnic lines. At our inaugural congress in 2000, the people elected
individuals to office on the basis of their commitment and their
competencies. I am determined to maintain that essential value - so that one
day any Zimbabwean can ascend to a high national office without being
conscious of the influence of either their ancestry or where they reside."

Concerning the MDC's various court challenges, Tsvangirai (whose second
treason case was withdrawn before plea in the High Court this week) said
there was a serious problem with the state of the judiciary and judicial
processes in the country. "Justice is at a premium. Beyond that I am not at
liberty to comment as the matter is sub judice," he said when asked about
the recent destruction of evidence, allegedly by thieves, at the High Court
building in Harare and the impounding of a computer belonging to one of his

Turning to the role of MDC legislators, he said their work in parliament had
been exemplary. "We are concerned that Zanu (PF) is not concerned with the
quality of debate in the legislature. Often our MPs raise pertinent issues
and provide an early warning system through incisive debate to looming
national dangers. But Zanu PF simply wants to abuse its disputed majority in
the House to pass laws regardless of reason. Our MPs point out real hazard
to national development and national cohesion presented by senseless and
repressive proposals for new legislation, including the new Education Bill,"
he said.

With regard to Mugabe's proposed constitutional changes, he said the MDC
position was that it was against piece-meal changes to the Constitution.
"Zimbabweans are agreed on the need for a comprehensive, people-driven
Constitutional process that shall replace the power-transfer document which
was hammered out and forced upon them at Lancaster House in 1979. No nation
can get anywhere with a strict observance of private property rights.
Investors shun such places in a globalised world."
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The Zimbabwean

State media distorts UN report
HARARE - State-run media affirmed their status as 'unreliable megaphones of
the authorities' by distorted reporting of the UN envoy's highly critical
report on the regime's razing of homes and business in urban districts,
Zimbabwe's media watchdog reported.
The regime newspapers and broadcasters largely failed to cover the damning
contents of Anna Tibaijuka's report 'and merely bombarded their audiences
with official condemnation of her findings,' the Media Monitoring Project
Zimbabwe said in its weekly report covering July 18-24. 'Snippets of the
findings these media carried were only reported in the context of the
authorities' acerbic rebuttal of the UN envoy's observations.'

The state-run newspapers also peddled the canard that British Prime Minister
Tony Blair was somehow behind the adverse report by Tabaijuka, a Tanzanian.
As usual, the report added, the same newspapers glossed over the enormous
human suffering caused by Operation Murambatsvina; and there was no
questioning of why the authorities were now 'repatriating' victims from
dreadful camps, such as Caledonia Farm 'to the very settlements they had

"In contrast, the private media, as exemplified by Studio 7 (22-24/7), The
Standard and The Sunday Mirror (24/7), gave detailed and balanced coverage
of the UN report through informative excerpts and impartial analyses. For
example, Studio 7's six stories on the UN report highlighted its
reservations over Murambatsvina, that it had triggered 'a humanitarian
crisis of immense proportions,' and that it had called on the government to
halt the operation," the monitoring project said.

In addition, the state media continued to deal superficially with the
economic crisis. The monitoring project noted that none of the state-media
investigated the effects of a 40 percent devaluation in the local currency;
none questioned the practicability of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono's
target - highly unbelievable - of bringing hyper-inflation (164 percent in
June) down to 80 percent by year's end. The authorities' U-turn in allowing
individuals and companies to import fuel received similarly unquestioning

Of the state mouthpieces, only The Sunday Mail tested the logic of allowing
selected services stations to sell fuel in foreign currency 'in the face of
a blitz on foreign currency dealing,' said the report.

While the state media had various people - not least 'Zimbabweans from all
walks of life', according to Radio Zimbabwe and Power FM - hailing a
monetary policy statement by Gono, the private media presented a sober
analysis of the economic crisis.

The independent media stories contradicted official predictions of economic
improvement and presented Gono's monetary policy as emergency measures
unlikely to solve the economic crisis.

A single story that encapsulated the state media's distorted handling of
important issues was coverage of jailing for 25 years of two Zanu (PF)
activists who murdered MDC supporter Atmos Makomerere in Masvingo in January
2002 during the violence-wracked presidential election campaign. That at
lest is what happened. The state media, with minimal coverage, talked
vaguely of 'political differences' and concealed that the murderers were
Zanu (PF) men.
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The Zimbabwean

Beware house visits
HARARE - The criminal element lost no time swinging into action in the wake
of Operation Murambatsvina. This week a number of incidents have been
reported in the low density suburbs of Harare involving scams by a gang
purporting to be building inspectors demanding to see people's plans.
But City of Harare authorities say they have not yet sent inspection teams
to most low density areas. The police have confirmed a group of men are
going around pretending to be part of operation 'clean up' but their
intention is to raid the house and steal items.

The police advise members of the public NOT to allow anyone onto their
properties, but to take their names and a contact phone number and verify
with the City of Harare that they are bona fide inspectors before allowing
them access.
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The Zimbabwean

One of the last to leave
One of the few commercial farmers who managed to stay on his farm until last
month has finally been kicked off his land. This is his story - anonymous
for obvious reasons.
SOMEWHERE IN ZIMBABWE - I thought I would give you all an update on our
situation and tell you the reason why we have been too busy to even do
emails - I have 125 unread emails in my mailbox!!!! The reason is as

It has all happened in a flash and a blur. About three weeks ago we had a
visit from a very suspicious looking policeman at 7 pm to say that our farm
was section eight'ed and we had better start moving off. D. did some
homework with Lands offices etc and this particular visit turned out to be a
hoax - we then worked out that there is one certain settler with a huge
vendetta against us who would stop at nothing to get us evicted.
After this, however, things all happened very quickly. This 'nice' man
successfully turned all our home settlers against us by telling them that if
we 'the white man' stayed they would all lose their plots. After many
daunting visits of the whole body of them (74) outside our gate, we agreed
to be gone in two weeks (originally one week was requested by them). This
two weeks was up last Friday. We had to organize places for 18 horses, 3
dogs, 2 cats, a donkey and ourselves.

Yesterday we had a frantic phone call from our manager of the tobacco to say
that one of the settlers (who I may add does not even have a plot on the
farm!) has a caretaker's letter to move into our house so we rushed out and
had to empty the last remainder of our stuff from the house before this
character could have 'his' house! The staff helped to remove curtain rails,
carpets etc. I cannot bring myself to go and see the horses or the house
(the horses all have to be gone by Wednesday next week, to a TBA sale and
various other places) as the thought of such destruction to a haven of
exotic palms and manicured lawns goes beyond my thinking. As for my veggie
garden, it has probably been destroyed already.

I can really relate now to anyone who has gone through the same process as
we have and can only wonder at the ultimate purpose of it all - are we
better off now?? Perhaps it really is time to move on and accept that we are
destined for other things.
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The Zimbabwean

Murambatsvina in Epworth
EPWORTH - On Saturday morning we woke to the smell of burning plastic. There
was a pall of smoke hanging over Epworth, which begins at the end of our
road. Epworth was land belonging to a Methodist mission which had become,
over the past 25 years, a sprawling 'informal' suburb with a population that
I estimate could be as high as 100,000.
I visited the nearby part of Epworth after breakfast and found people
demolishing their own houses. The police were destroying houses further on,
at Magada, and the people here were trying to salvage as much property as
they could before the police arrived, including roof sheets and door and
window frames. Furniture and personal belongings were piled everywhere.
People asked where they were to go. One woman asked me 'Does this mean we
are rubbish?' a clear reference to the police's name for this atrocity:
Operation Murambatsvina (clear out rubbish). The small children, already
growing thin because food is scarce, did not know yet what was happening.
They had not even reached the stage of asking themselves, it was all so

There were said to be only 47 'legal' houses in Epworth. All the rest were
to be destroyed. I doubt whether the youth militias, 20,000 of whom were
taken into the police before the recent election, are capable of reading a
permit or a map, so I doubt whether those 47 houses will be standing when
the dust settles.

What can one do? Government has threatened any organisation that tries to
help the victims. They even warned that any church that shelters them will
automatically become an 'illegal structure;' and be destroyed. A mosque in
Hatcliffe, another poor suburb, has already been demolished. That was built
by poor people of Malawian origin, who have least comeback, but it is a
warning to others. Could a prominent city church take in victims and
challenge the regime to do their worst? Could they all? But the Anglican
bishop is prominent apologist for the regime, so his cathedral would not do
this. The churches, like all other organisations, are divided.

This raises moral questions for helpers. Some are helping victims to go to
their original rural homes, though many are descendants of immigrants and
have no such home. Rural people are already hungry and cannot feed extra
mouths. It seems unhelpful to rush the newly dispossessed people to 'homes'
where you have not ascertained that they will be, at least, no worse of than
where they are.

Pardon me for feeling a little uneasy about the publicising of a few deaths
during the demolitions. I do not want to belittle the importance of a single
death, but more people than that have died as a result of this operation and
are still dying and world opinion is impressed by numbers. I have heard of
four cases near us here: a woman gave birth to twins just after her house
was demolished and one died of exposure and three people with TB (all old
men, I think) also died of the cold.

Trying to help displaced people gets complicated. A couple of weeks ago we
tried to give a little food and warm clothing to selected people in the
nearer part of Epworth, where 'Operation Murambatsvina' left 100,000 people
homeless 10 days earlier. The local chairman of the Zanu (PF) party had to
be consulted, and he 'had instructions not to accept anything from NGOs'. We
insisted we were not an NGO, but neighbours trying to help needy people we
knew. On consulting his committee, he agreed, so Mai Nhamo, who gave birth
to twins after her house was demolished and saw one die of exposure, Mary, a
sick woman who sleeps in the house of a woman down our road but has to spend
the days amid the wreckage of her own home, and some others each got 10kg of
maize meal. I also gave an old greatcoat and my spare jersey to Tambudzai,
who has four small children, including an infant still at the breast, living
in the little shack she made from the roofing sheets rescued from her house,
but has no blankets. What we can do is so pathetically little.

Victims are not only the unemployed and beggars. Sipho, mother of four and a
struggling professional musician, thought she was legally in Epworth because
she had an agreement with the Methodist mission, the original owner of the
land and had lived there nearly twenty-five years, was not spared. A cousin
of my confrere here, employed in a petrol station, asked us to look after
some of his furniture after his house in Tafara was demolished.
Several employees of the prestigious St.George's College who lived in
Hatcliffe, are now homeless. My colleague in our little famine relief scheme
had to evict the tenants from his house in a high income suburb because his
son's family need the space after their house was demolished. He says many
of his neighbours face the same heart-rending decision. - In Touch, Jesuit
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The Zimbabwean

White farmers bitter
MARONDERA - Many commercial farmers in Zimbabwe who have been forced off
their land are bitter about the recent revelations that some of their
colleagues, many of them in key positions with the Commercial Farmers'
Union, were bank-rolling the ruling party in return for protection.
"They were just thinking of themselves - screw the country or anybody else,"
said one of the farmers on condition of anonymity. "Many of us suspected it
at the time, but we still had faith in human nature. No wonder we could not
get the CFU to stop wheeling and dealing with these evil people. This has
been going on since 2000. It seems those concerned were prepared to destroy
the CFU to protect their own farms.

"I find this shameful. Many Zimbabweans, white and black, have been
imprisoned and have risked their lives. Some have even paid the ultimate
price for their neighbours and their country," said the farmer.
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The Zimbabwean

MDC offices destroyed
KWEKWE - The MDC offices, located at 37- 4th street, have been razed to the
ground by bulldozers under the watchful eye of more than 50 heavily armed
policemen accompanied by Kwekwe council officials. The building was
purchased five years ago by the party and was being used as the party
offices for Midlands Province. During the 2002 Presidential elections the
building was set on five by state agents.
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The Zimbabwean

Voter's roll distorted
HARARE - The Zimbawean voters' roll is severely distorted in the wake of
Operation Murambatsvina. According to the Zimbabwe election support Network
(ZESN) there is a need for fresh voter registration before the country can
elect a new senate - as proposed under the forthcoming constitutional
amendments to go before parliament shortly.
A transparent voter re-registration exercise would be in line with the
spirit of the SADC principles and guidelines on democratic elections, said
ZESN. "Operation Murambatsvina has resulted in the forcible displacement of
large numbers of urban dwellers. Although they remain on the voters' roll
they are unable to exercise their right to vote since they are no longer
resident in the constituencies in which they are registered," says the

Political observers have pointed out that the operation was part of Mugabe's
plan to smash the urban support base of the opposition MDC. The country has
already been divided in 50 constituencies for the purpose of electing a
senate. Only a date remains to be set. The re-creation of the senate,
abolished 10 years ago, is seen as a way for Mugabe to create jobs for
failed ruling party politicians who lost in the last election.
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The Zimbabwean

Exiles express anger through drama
JOHANNESBURG - The Zimbabwean refugee community in South Africa has
expressed outrage, anger and deep abhorrence of the human tragedy caused by
the Zimbabwe government's controversial Operation Murambatsvina. At a public
meeting in the Johannesburg suburb of Yeoville last Saturday, Zimbabwean
exiles expressed their anger through music, drama and poetry.
More than 100 people crowded into a small hall at the Yeoville Recreation
Centre to see the Mthwakazi Arts and Culture project present a play on the
"Zimbabwean tsunami". Many in the audience were moved to tears as the young
performers dramatized the military-style operation, its effects on ordinary
people and the cynical and uncaring response of government ministers. Put
together in a great hurry, with just one week of rehearsal, the Mthwakazi
play is still rough around the edges but with the acting talent and
extraordinary musical ability of the cast, it has the makings of an
exceptional piece of theatre.

The message of the play was reinforced by two poems sent for the occasion by
acclaimed Zimbabwean poets Chirikure Chirikure and Chenjerai Hove. In his
poem Sauti, read out in Shona by Crisis Coalition spokesperson, Dr Elizabeth
Marunda, Chirikure showed how the government blitz has impacted on the
availability of basic commodities like salt - "Dai tuck-shop yanga
ichipo/Vana vamhanya kunotenga/Manje tuck-shop hakuchina'Yakatsvairwa

In Hove's poem, read out by former Crisis Coalition chairperson, Brian
Kagoro, a young child writes to his friend Samueri, from the rubble of his
destroyed home: "I don't know your address/you don't know my address/
samueri/i am standing on a broken brick/the only survivor of our home/what
are you standing on, samueri?"

The ever-popular Abangqobi group switched the focus to the plight of
Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa with their song the infamous refugee
detention centre, Lindela, in which they plead with Thabo Mbeki and South
African home affairs minister Nosiviwe Nqakula to understand that they run
from a difficult situation in Zimbabwe and instead of being greeted with
sympathy, South Africa receives them with knobkerries and throws them into

Jonathan Mguni gave a moving statement on behalf of the Zimbabwean refugee
community. He recommended that President Robert Mugabe should be tried in
the International Criminal Court in the Hague for Operation Murambatsvina, a
criminal operation against innocent and defenceless people. He appealed to
the South African government to stop pretending that there is no war in
Zimbabwe, to acknowledge the humanitarian crisis and to treat refugees and
asylum seekers with compassion. He argued that by opening up educational
opportunities and allowing refugees to contribute meaningfully to the South
African economy, refugees could realise their potential and prepare to
rebuild a future Zimbabwe.

A meeting was organized by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition's South Africa
Office and the Zimbabwean Refugee Working Committee coordinated under the
Central Methodist Ministries. The Zimbabwean organisations took the occasion
to thank the Central Methodist Church for opening its doors to refugee
communities. Bishop Verryn made a powerful appeal to South Africans to treat
Zimbabwean refugees in a more humane and compassionate manner.

Among the audience were some prominent South African artists and community
leaders, including acclaimed South African poet Don Mattera. The
humanitarian organisation Action Aid contributed to the meeting and Brian
Kagoro outlined some of that organisation's efforts to assist victims of
Operation Murambatsvina. Judging by the response of the audience, Saturday's
meeting will be the first of many.
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The Zimbabwean

Make your voice heard and let President Mbeki know what you think!

South African taxpayers' money must not be used to prop up this cruel

This is a chain letter to provide you and other ordinary taxpayers like you
with a voice to stop the loan. Please forward this letter to everyone you

You can also SMS "STOP" and your comments to 34568. SMS's cost R2 and can be
sent from any network. The Democratic Alliance will publish the SMS messages
on our website and then compile them and send them to the President.

Appended below is a standard letter which you can sign and send on to
President Mbeki's office.You can also follow the links on our website,, to download it.

President Thabo Mbeki
The Presidency
Union Buildings
Government Avenue
Fax: 012 323 8246


Dear President Mbeki

Like millions of my fellow South African taxpayers, I am completely opposed
to giving Robert Mugabe's government a loan of R7-billion.

Since 2000, Mr Mugabe's government has subjected the Zimbabwean people to
violence and intimidation, rigged elections, disastrous economic policies,
the political manipulation of food aid and a "clean up operation" so cruel
and indiscriminate that the United Nations condemned it as a "clear
violation of international law."

Past experience proves that any promise by Mr Mugabe to abide by conditions
attached to the loan will not be worth the paper it is written on.

I simply cannot understand how you could consider loaning Mr Mugabe money
when our own country is so desperately in need of money for houses, health,
education and the fight against crime.

R7-billion would, for example, provide housing for 750 000 South Africans.
How can we take money away from building homes for South Africa's poor to
help Mugabe destroy the homes of the poor people of Zimbabwe?

Through international agencies, we have already helped Zimbabwe with
millions of rands in emergency humanitarian aid over the past few years.
Throwing more money at Mr Mugabe is not the answer.

I strongly urge you not to make this loan available to Mr Mugabe's
government under any circumstances. Rather encourage the Zimbabwean
government to make the political changes that will restore stability and
prosperity to that country.
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The Zimbabwean

Letter from home
Dear Family and Friends,

For the last three months almost every single report from Zimbabwe has been
about the destruction of homes, stalls and informal structures in our cities
and towns. At first, when we could actually see the bulldozers, the huge
clouds of dust and the piles of rubble in our towns and neighbourhoods, it
was all very real and terrifying.
Then we saw people desperately looking for shelter, carrying their
belongings and lining the roads in their hundreds trying to get transport to
move the remnants of their homes out of town and away from the bulldozers.
Now, two months later, there is not much left for the ordinary passer by to
see on the roadsides of our towns. There are still piles of rubble here and
there but mostly there are just empty spaces in the town. It is hard to
believe that just two months ago you could buy a banana or a twist of
brimming with ground nuts at the street corner.

You could haggle with a vendor over a huge orange mango, an avocado or a
bowl of tomatoes or even buy a hand made hammock on the side of the road.
You could have your shoes re-heeled, your zip fixed or your bicycle spokes
tightened by skilled self
employed men and women earning an honest living from the pavements and

Now the towns and virtually deserted, the streets are quiet, you cannot even
buy a banana on the roadside and everywhere, still everywhere, the four
month old Zanu (PF) election posters cling to our lamp posts: "We are proud
to be Zimbabweans on our land", the
banners say. "Our land is our sovereignty" the slogans shout at us as we
walk past them. We walk because after seven weeks there is still no petrol
or diesel, almost no buses or taxis are moving and very few ordinary
vehicles are still on the roads.

And the question everyone is asking is what has happened to all those people
whose homes and stalls were demolished. Where are they living now, how are
they surviving, have they got enough to eat? There are more questions than
answers. This week I talked with a man who lives in a rural village and I am
haunted by his stories, in shock at his descriptions.

He told me of people arriving from the cities but of there being no empty
houses where they can live. He told me of families doubling and tripling up
to try and accommodate the desperate newcomers. He told me of meagre meals
being shared and then watered down and shared yet again. He described how
there was no space for people's possessions and so lounge suites and
wardrobes were being stored on top of roofs - exposed to the wind, the dust
and the dew.

There are not enough houses in the villages, the wells are already running
dry, all vegetable gardening has stopped due to the shortage of water and
there is no land for all these new people to scratch a living on. It was
this very excuse of congested rural villages
that the Zanu (PF) government used when they seized all the commercial farms
and turned our country from a food exporter to a begging bowl.

Now the rural villages are even more congested as yet more and more people
People who once fixed shoes and bicycles, wove baskets and chairs, knitted
jerseys or made hammocks - now they just sit in the dusty villages,
homeless, unemployed, hungry and completely at the mercy of the government
systems to whom they will have to turn, for every single one of their basic
human needs. Control is complete. Until next week, Ndini shamwari yenyu.
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The Zimbabwean
The truth will always come out
Kutorara munyika musina petrol. President Mugabe asleep on the job at the recent AU meeting in Libya.
WARD 12, PARIRENYATWA HOSPITAL, HARARE – I’ve always told people that the so-called land reform programme had nothing to do with giving land stolen by Cecil John Rhodes and his cronies in 1890 to the landless peasants in 1980. In fact Magaisa has always known that the entire exercise was aimed at destroying MDC’s power base on two fronts – the financial support from white farmers and the political support of the organized farm workers unions. Footage of white farmers signing cheques at an MDC rally in 2000 has been shown ad nauseum on ZBC in an attempt to prove that they were bank-rolling MDC.
A spin off of this basic strategy was that the various chefs in the police, army, cabinet and other key areas necessary for future loyalty and support to the presidency would have a nice weekend place to visit for hunting or whatever. The thought that they would actually become serious, productive, committed, hardworking commercial farmers – providing employment to hundreds of thousands and feeding not only the nation but the region – could not have been further from anyone’s mind.

While everybody was jumping up and down and the international community was being told that the rich white farmers had stolen all the land and refused to give any of it to the poor black peasants, only Magaisa knew that Mugabe had conned them yet again – but he could not fool me. He is clever – make no mistake about it. That one is very clever. But he can’t outfox Magaisa. I miss nothing. People might think I’m crazy. But they are the mad ones – to be fooled the way they are by that wily old politician. He hasn’t got multiple degrees for nothing. Even the violence one he has put to very good use.

However, some people wondered why some white farmers were left untouched on their farms, while others were not only evicted, but even killed and their workers’ homes torched, their animals killed and furniture chopped up for firewood. We now know. Magaisa of course has known all along. But now the truth is out in the public domain. These particular farmers have been bank-rolling the tyrant and his cronies.

You can rest assured that Magaisa will be carefully keeping a list of them. I understand from the Independent that Chegutu West MP, Webster Shamu, received $44 million worth of support from farmers in his constituency in return for protection from hordes of unruly farm invaders. Shamu’s personal youth militia reportedly battled against the party youth to protect certain farms. He proceeded to win the election.

Magaisa’s eyes widened as he read of the names of the farmers who allegedly contributed towards the donation. They include former Commercial Farmers Union president Colin Cloete and his father Dan, former Zimbabwe Tobacco Association president Kobus Joubert and his son Ben, current ZTA vice president Andrew Ferreira, Barry Nicolle, Jan Bronkhorst and 14 others. Perhaps this is why the CFU acted so strangely in 2000 and failed to protect the interests of its members across the board.

But nothing surprises me any more really. This whole place is one big loony bin. Take for example the police. In any country their job is to collect evidence to place before a court so that the learned judges can form an opinion about any crime. But in this country the police go about destroyed evidence so that the courts are denied evidences and cannot hope to solve crimes.

We all know that Morgan Tsvangirai has been trying to get justice for the fraudulent President election in 2001. Magaisa knows that Morgan won that election – but was cheated by Mugabe. Four years down the road, the court case has still not been heard in the High Court. He has had to appeal to the Supreme Court to put pressure on the High Court to do its job.

But now the police have mysteriously raided the home of a key Tsvangirai witness – Topper Whitehead – and confiscated his computer, which contains vital evidence. In the days when we still had the rule of law in Zimbabwe – this would have amounted to interfering with the course of justices and those cops would have been in Chikurubi before you could say “Madora” (worms). But, of course, this is now Mad Bob’s Zimbabwe and important evidence frequently disappears. Only a few weeks ago locked ballot boxes in a locked room at the 240-hour-a-day guarded High Court a stone’s throw from Mugabe’s own office were broken into and evidence destroyed by “thieves”.

This all proves one point as far as Magaisa is concerned. Mugabe is a very worried man. He does not want any evidence about either the presidential election or the 2000 general elections coming anywhere near the court – or even near his hand-picked, sanitized, re-educated, weekend farmer/hunter judges.
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The Zimbabwean

Waiting for what?
HARARE - A little beyond Chegutu the bus died. It belonged to a company
called 'Tombs' and one wondered if there was a connection. Some left the bus
and started hitching. Others stood around the bus and still others remained
seated. The engine covering was removed and work began on tracing the fault.
A little later a second bus arrived, pulled in and took on board as many of
us as could squeeze in standing in the aisle. We reached our destination
safely if a little frayed.
Reflecting on the incident it was noticeable that not a word was said in
explanation or apology. And no one seemed to expect either. It was as though
this is all quite normal. One starts the day with certain simple
expectations. But anything, ANYTHING, can happen along the way. If it does
you simply adjust. You don't ask. You don't make demands. You just hope for
the best. Sometimes, as in this event, you are lucky and an alternative way
is provided. But sometimes you are just left and have to make do as best you

For weeks we have lived through a crisis. Many words have been written but
no explanations. Many photos have been displayed but no apologies. What is
striking is that we do not even expect an explanation, much less an apology.
Yes, there have been many 'explanations,' but none of them convincing. There
have even been some mild words of regret but they only seem to rise from a
sense of having been caught out.

We battle in our minds to understand ourselves. Who are we? Is there such a
thing as a Zimbabwean identity? This inability to hold people accountable,
where does it come from? Do we sense that if we stand up, like Oliver Twist,
and make demands we will have to bear the consequences alone? Do we have any
real sense of solidarity among ourselves such that if one is in need another
will help? I have heard it said that Zimbabweans abroad tend to just get on
with there own lives. They are not known for supporting one another as other
nationalities do. Is this true? They do not have great expectations that
solidarity will deliver anything.

Again and again we come back to the lessons our present experience teaches.
It is a path strewn with opportunities for reflection. It is not a time to
just passively wait for another bus to come along. It may. But it may not
and then we will be left standing at the side of the road looking pretty
foolish while the rest of the world rushes by. Tanzania is not usually
considered one of the strong economies of Africa and yet, in 34 years of
independence, they have yet to discover what a fuel queue is.
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The Zimbabwean

The cowboy farmer's legacy
LONDON - He stands in a wide, dark brown ploughed field. The sky is lit up
with a burst of rain clouds, silver white and black, fanning out from the
horizon. In the near distance a crowd of black farmhands are dotted across
the field, their faces turned towards him. He is smiling. A leathery face
with fine-chiselled bone structure is shaded by a floppy hat. I see a white,
Zimbabwean commercial farmer who is organizing the production of a seasonal
crop of maize. I am seeing a ghost. I think I am looking at Sir Cyril Hatty.
But Cyril is dead. He was a successful farmer in Norton. He was 93 when I
saw him shortly before he died three years ago. For me, opening the World
News section of the Times on July 23 to find Chris Harris's brilliant
photograph of Cyril's apparent re-incarnation was quite shock. Then the
ghost vanished as I read the caption: 'Graham Hatty with some of the
Nigerian subsistence farmers whom he hopes to train'. "I would not have
missed this for the world. I am very optimistic," he is quoted as saying.
Graham has inherited this quality of purposeful enthusiasm from his
illustrious father.

Sir Cyril Hatty was knighted for his service as Finance Minister in the
Central African Federal parliament. He and Graham's late mother, the
statuesque Doris, were my parents' friends. Doris was a great hit singing
and acting the Pearly Queen in the Bulawayo Theatre Club, which my mother
ran. Cyril was an accountant then - the country was carefully recruiting
skilled settlers - many of whom had been trainee RAF pilots. Cyril made a
great success of his business and political career. His two sons were

I thought I could call upon the family friendship after Ian Smith declared
UDI. A group of us were trying to recruit successful (and wealthy)
individuals to join our nascent opposition group, the Centre Party. I drove
to see Cyril in Norton and found him taking a morning break, working on his
sketch-book. My mission was a failure. He was friendly but firm. "Sorry,
Diana, it's no good going against this RF Rhodesian Front lot". He avoided
my accusing gaze, as he continued drawing his favourite baobab tree. "The
only thing to do when you have a cowboy government is to become a cowboy". I
got the message.

Cyril Hatty was no mean cowboy: probably the biggest and best cereal farmer
in the country, The red soil of his flat, wide lands, lay in the shadow of a
range of low hills around the man made lake, formerly known as McIlwaine. He
turned the fields into a sea of lush green wheat. Graham, the 'cowboy'
farmer's son had a great heritage.

There was overhead irrigation equipment and huge combined harvesters with
their gigantic wheels. The tyres, Cyril once told me, had cost more than a
modest family house. Zimbabwe inherited a commercial farming success, which
had delivered self-sufficiency in wheat - there were no bread shortages and
the millers flourished. Built up after long, painful experience, commercial
farming was hugely profitable if you knew what you were doing.

I am glad that Cyril and Doris did not live to see their work trashed. It
must have been a terrible shock for Graham to find himself, in his middle
years, cast off the land which had been his whole life. But I had noticed,
some time last year I think, that Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo had
'embraced' him and a group of the outcasts - yes! quite literally, embraced
them as he welcomed them to his country as immigrant farmers.

Now those farmers have planted maize in the 'magnificent soil' of Nigeria's
western Kwara state and Hatty, for one, says he would not return to Zimbabwe
even if he got his farm back. I should add, his 'stolen' farm, but this is
meant to be a happy ending. Hatty says he never thought he would be so happy
again. Already, the incomes of the subsistence farmers he will train have
trebled. The state governor has acknowledged that 'these people (the white
farmers) see themselves as African' and he intends to give the
ex-Zimbabweans every encouragement to stay and prosper. His delight in
introducing the prospect of successful commercial farming knows no bounds,
it seems. He wants more of Zimbabwe's dispossessed farmers to take out long
leases, paying minimal rents so that eventually his people may be able to
export agricultural produce.

I wish that the ghosts of Cyril and Doris could return from the after world
to see all this. It warms the human heart to see their son and his
colleagues being allowed, nay, encouraged to plough and sow again in African
soil. Graham's optimism, notwithstanding Nigeria's 'reputation' as Governor
Saraki puts it, should give great hope that those sons of Africa are being
smiled upon by all their ancestors.

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The Zimbabwean

Comparisons with apartheid SA
VICTORIA FALLS - It is as tragic as it is lamentable that we have to write a
letter of this nature in a country that is supposed to be an example of
democracy at work. We as Uluntu/Cisi Trust do categorically state that
Operation Murambatsvina is fundamentally and patently inhumane, is the
epitome of human degradation and betrays one of men's most primitive
instincts, the desire to inflict pain, to say the least. We condemn the
operation as a callous act of unwarranted cruelty perpetrated on a needy,
unsuspecting and defenceless populace by a few men and women in the upper
echelons of power.
This operation relegates apartheid South Africa's Group Areas Act of 1950
which resulted in the then government forcefully evicting an entire
settlement of 50 000 inhabitants (Sophiatown in Johannesburg), to the very
bottom of the table of atrocities against humanity. The insinuation that the
victims of this operation should go back to the rural areas is not only
inconsiderate and insensitive to the characteristics of modern day dynamic
society but also conjures up memories of the apartheid myth that "Africans
are by nature a rural people, ill suited for a city life" (The Long Walk to
Freedom by Nelson Mandela).

It baffles the imagination that independent Zimbabwe is being compared with
apartheid South Africa, but by borrowing a leaf from the National Party
regime's crude and ominously repressive book of strategies and policies the
perpetrators of this deed leave the ordinary men with very little choice.

The Trust is neither a proponent of lawlessness nor an advocate for illegal
or informal structures or settlements. While we believe society is better
off without all such structures and settlements we do not subscribe to the
view that eradicating them violently in one fell swoop is the panacea to all
the socio-economic and political ills currently bedevilling the nation.

Since government derives its power from the people and should exercise State
power for the protection and interests of the people we believe it should be
held accountable for allowing a violation of the people's fundamental rights
espoused in our Constitution.

First, the government failed to uphold the principle of promulgating
reasonable legislative measures to enable all to have access to shelter,
social security and social care to the needy. The right to personal security
which includes the right to be free from all types of violence from public
and private sources was also violated.

Two more human rights that excruciatingly fell by the wayside are freedom
from torture and inhuman and degrading treatment and the right to dignity
and reputation. Some of the victims were not only verbally and physically
abused (including beatings) by the riot police and other law enforcement
agents but their assets and personal belongings were strewn around
haphazardly and publicly with utter disregard for human dignity and decency.
Lastly the right to freedom of movement and residence trodden upon. Working
men and women and school going persons have been compelled to negate their
roles and head for the drought prone rural areas.

Humbly expressing our honest opinion and the feelings of the trust's
Trustee - Bernard Nyamambi (Chairman)
Trustee - Norris Nyathi (Vice Chairman)
Trustee - Esau Ncube (Secretary General)
Trustee - Nqobani Sibindi (Treasurer)
Trustee - Mehluli Mkhwananzi (Organising Secretary)
Trustee - Nkosilathi Jiyane
Trustee - Thokozani Dube
Trustee - Cabnet Mlilo

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The Zimbabwean

Editorial comment
A failed, rogue state - indeed
Sometimes we wonder if the South African government is talking about the
same country as we are - so incredibly at variance with reality are the
views of certain SA leaders to what we all know is happening on the ground
in Zimbabwe. And this is despite the fact that South Africa has a large,
presumably well-staffed, embassy situated in the capital city of it's
northern neighbour.
What we find absolutely astounding is that President Thabo Mbeki seems to
feel that he has to better the lies of Mugabe and the Zanu (PF) regime
concerning land reform in Zimbabwe.

Stunned disbelief is the only way to describe many people's reaction on
hearing last week, for the first time, that the land reform programme was
'slowed down to get the negotiations (between the Nationalist government
under F W de Klerk and the ANC and others) in South Africa to succeed'.

In reality, Zanu (PF) made absolutely no serious effort to tackle the
difficult and complex issue of land reform from the start. British aid money
was on the table from the word go - but not drawn down for many years.

When government did address the land issue, it was with a half-hearted
attitude. A few thousand peasant farmers were settled on farms with little
technical or practical support. The rest of the farms bought with British
money were parcelled out to senior party officials and selected cronies, who
enjoyed their weekend hunting and let the land, for the most part, lie

When the 'land for the boys' approach became a bit too blatant, the British
insisted on a more transparent and structured land resettlement programme
that would reduce overcrowding in communal areas. This never happened. The
land was a vital weapon in the cronyism arsenal and could not be

Eventually Mugabe ordered two commissions to investigate the land
distribution question - the first by Flora Bhuka, another by Charles Utete.
They both found the same thing - a catalogue of corruption, lack of
transparency, under-utilisation of land and dual ownership by senior
officials. The findings were unpalatable. The reports were filed.

Mbeki now says he is not aware of any corruption. He must by the only person
in Africa who doesn't know about it. It is legendary.

He claims that Zimbabwe slowed down its land reform in the late 1980s on the
advice of a Commonwealth official in an effort to avoid frightening the
apartheid government at a time when it was negotiating a transition to
democracy with Nelson Mandela and others.

President Mbeki - you have been misinformed. Zanu (PF) was not interested in
land reform until they realized they were going to lose power in 2000,
following the 1999 referendum in which the popular vote went against them
for the first time since Independence.

The so-called land reform was part of a programme of social engineering to
deny the MDC access to voters in the commercial farming areas, and to starve
the party of financial support from wealthy farmers - who saw the writing on
the wall for the ruling party.

And to top it all, Trevor Manuel, SA's finance minister - a man we used to
respect - states: "The worst thing that we can have is a failed or rogue
state on our borders." Excuse me Mr Manuel - Zimbabwe has been a failed and
a rogue state for the past five years. It owes the IMF US$300 million and is
unable even to service this debt. That is why Mugabe is asking you to bail
him out - to the tune of six billion Rand. That is why you are forced to
defend him, and not any other SADC members, at international fora.

Zimbabwe used to feed the region - now it needs food aid. The government has
made more than 700 000 people homeless. 70% of the population is jobless.
There is no fuel in the country - transport has virtually ground to a halt.
There is no independent judiciary, no rule of law; the media is muzzled,
there is massive economic mismanagement, wholesale rigging of elections,
murder of opposition members, rampant corruption in every sphere. The EU has
banned 120 government leaders from travelling in Europe.

In our view, Sir, this is a failed state. This is a rogue state.

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The Zimbabwean

Engineers of our own destruction

BULAWAYO - It is hard to understand why people seem unable to learn from the
mistakes and excesses of others. Zimbabwe is following in the footsteps of
Zambia print for print. We used to laugh at Zambia's exchange rate and here
we sit at an exchange rate lower than hers. With the greatest respect to
Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC, Zambia looked to Chiluba to lead them out of
poverty and yet today Zambia is still pleading with international donor
agencies for development aid to relieve the country from its burden of
poverty. It is worthy of note that Zambia's exchange rate has not improved
much since the days of Kaunda. Corruption, and the greed that breeds it, are
as alive and well as they were 30 years ago.
Party politics is essentially a Western doctrine and even in the west it is
showing signs of distinct weakness. But nowhere is that more evident than in
Africa. If there is a single instrument that stands out in the declining
wealth of all independent African states, it has to be party politics. No
one in Zimbabwe is considering more effective alternatives to the party
political system - despite the fact that this clearly is not serving the
interests of the country, or its people.

No one is considering the contradictory nature of the title "independence",
which Zimbabweans proudly use to describe our country. Any country that
cannot survive economically without debt relief and cannot adequately
provide for the health and development of its people without international
aid programmes, cannot in any way remotely describe itself as independent -
or for that matter "free".

African countries that deride donor nations for attaching conditions to any
aid agreements are light years away from reality. Any exchange of money
always carries with it conditions. It seems to me that Africa has taken full
advantage of the collective international guilt over slavery and
colonialism. This may seem justifiable - but what appears to escape the
notice of African leaders is that it also perpetuates the conditions of both
slavery and colonialism.

Someone said to me that if I wanted to know what 17th Century London was
like I should just take a look at Harare. From my limited knowledge of
English history, London in those days was characterised by unspeakable
wealth offset by extreme poverty. Filth and stench were everywhere as people
used to dump their sewage and garbage in the streets, and disease was rife.
The level of morality was low and in the seat of power there was intrigue,
plotting and murder.

Looking at Harare today there are indeed some striking similarities. One
might argue that this is evolution and Zimbabweans might feel justifiably
proud since it has taken Harare a mere 100 years to achieve what it took
London 400 to do. As it has taken London another 400 years to reach the
position that it now enjoys one could deduce that Harare can look forward to
another 100 years of turmoil. Looking at the African states that achieved
"independence" up to 30 years before Zimbabwe it would seem that this time
frame is not unrealistic.

History also shows that some countries have leapfrogged the evolutionary
ladder with what is referred to as a "Quantum Leap". Thus, it is not
essential to experience the pain and suffering associated with evolution. I
think, though, that certain conditions have to apply before it is possible
to make a quantum leap. I think there has to have been a particularly
painful period in a country's history immediately before a quantum leap. The
catalyst that is necessary to inspire the quantum leap is a deep and
collective conviction among the people of that country that never again do
they wish to suffer the pain that they have just experienced and the
realisation that it is they who must deliver themselves from evil.

The collective will and commitment is what provides the energy for a quantum
leap. No amount of foreign "pressure" or development aid will ever provide
the platform for sustained growth and security and it is a futile waste of
time for people to hope for change through these mediums.

The birth of Zimbabwe has been a particularly painful process, for all
concerned, and can only be described as a breeched delivery. We have
probably therefore experienced the first condition necessary for a quantum
leap. Although there have been encouraging signs over the past few years it
is doubtful that the people of Zimbabwe have fully realised or accepted the
responsibility that they have for the situation in which they now find

The roles played by foreign nations, such as Apartheid South Africa,
America, Russia, China and not least of all Britain, in bringing about the
birth of Zimbabwe should be enough to persuade all Zimbabweans that
international involvement must be avoided at all costs. It should be
patently clear that foreign countries follow their own agendas and do not
have a great deal of concern for the painful consequences that are
frequently associated with their agendas.

Zimbabweans have yet to grasp control of their own destiny and decide on a
course that will result in genuine and sustained peace, harmony and
development. Once we do this, the effects will be immediate, and the time it
will take for us to recover from and then eradicate poverty will be
dramatically reduced. Only then will international assistance (not aid) have
a real, positive and lasting effect.

President Mugabe has recently been compared to Hitler, not without just
cause. However this is a dangerous line of thinking to follow. The world, it
seems, is historically well-disposed towards finding scapegoats. It would be
advisable for Zimbabweans to consider that Hitler could not possibly have
wrought the evil for which he has been held solely responsible without the
active or at least tacit support of the German people. If any Germans should
read this and feel uncomfortable with its implications they should ease
their discomfort with the knowledge that America and Britain and all those
European nations that succumbed to the German forces have a share in the

It is also worthwhile for Zimbabweans to consider the other African states
that experienced earlier, equally painful and more violent, transitions and
who seem incapable of ridding themselves of violence long after the end of
colonialism. Considering these things should bring about the realisation in
Zimbabweans that we are responsible for the situation in which we find
ourselves and that we have the personal and collective power to choose
between good and evil. Like Hitler, all that President Mugabe is guilty of
is taking advantage of conditions that already existed.

It is a humbling experience to witness the obvious enthusiasm and relish
with which the police force carries out its orders. If we Zimbabweans stop
carrying knives there will be no violence; if we do not pay bribes there
will be no corruption; if we do not buy stolen goods there will be no theft;
if we stop being promiscuous there will be noAids; if we stop pointing
racial fingers there will be no racism; if we stop seeking power there will
be no dictatorship.

In short we are the engineers of our own destruction. If we understand this
we will understand clearly what we need to do to take the quantum leap.
Indeed I think that we will have taken the first and most significant action
in what will become a quantum leap. All those dedicated, tireless and
well-meaning aid organisations will stand back in awe at what unfolds before
their eyes.

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The Zimbabwean

A tale of great loss
HARARE - Everyday in my city, tragedy unfolds in a subtle but increasing
measure. I hear more stories from the high-density lot who have nowhere else
to go because their homes have been destroyed. My barber is now putting up
with his in-laws in a single room. In an instant, he lost his sense of
privacy and whatever little comfort he had known living in a rented cottage
that was deemed illegal and now is a rubble of debris - demolished by the
state police.
Everyday, I see longer queues of commuters lining the streets jostling for
transport to get back home after dusk. The queues remain long after the 8 o'clock
news. There are fewer cars on the road because fuel supplies have all but
dried up. Each day, I am realizing that something fundamental has changed in
my country. The evil of the state has now manifested itself in my everyday
life. I have become, very afraid, insecure and desperate. Very desperate to
get out. Out of this Mugabe-poisoned environment.

Each night, the nightmare recurs and I awake with a start, shivering, my
sheets drenched in a cold sweat as I begin to digest the horror of what my
life has now become. I now realise that I, along with the thousands who fell
in the Gurakuhundi massacres of the early1980s, the farmers who were
dispossessed in the land invasions of 2000-3 and now the hundreds of
thousands made destitute in Operation Restore Order, have fallen victim to a
tyrannical ruler who will oppose my very will to exist - just so that he can
stay another day in power.

Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF). There is bad taste in my inner being when I
begin to fathom the effects of the madness which they collectively have
unleashed on what was once upon a time, a vibrant nation with a future
amongst the great. I cannot help but think how fitting is the common refrain
echoed by the press in every other edition I read: "from breadbasket to
basket case". But this is not just about food, shelter and clothing. It is
about the loss of identity. The loss of a belief in the ideal of nationhood.
The loss of faith in a future living here in Zimbabwe.

I came to this country 17 years ago, to settle in the land of my self-exiled
father. My father was a visionary, an adventurous man in his hey day and a
risk taker of note who staked everything on a quest to lay a better
foundation for his yet unborn offspring. Uninhibited by the colony he struck
out north to realise his destiny. When I was no more than eight, he would
regale me with tales of the struggle which was valiantly fought in far-flung
territories to secure freedom for the motherland.

Between puffs from his pipe, he enthused about the land that lay to the
south of the great river; how beautiful it was and how soon, it would rise
from the ashes to regain its former glory. I would sit with him on the
porch, totally transfixed and not knowing whether to cry or smile wistfully
for the reality of the dreams he would captivate so vividly within me. Every
year I longed for our return. I longed to posses my portion of inheritance
in the land of our ancestors.

My father was a man of the struggle. I know this only too well because our
house then was home to the luminaries of the liberation war. It was one of
the safe houses they would come to in order to disappear from the enemy,
recoup their strength, have a decent bath and eat my mother's food. Each
time my uncle came, he would leave me trinkets that collectively spoke of my
people's journey to find their place in the sun. I still have badges that
proclaim "Amandla Wethu" and a suitcase full of pamphlets and pictures of
legendary heroes - from Nelson Mandela to the vinyl records of Robert Nesta

After long periods of time, the men of war of would return to our house.
They would share our space and in so doing, their relentless pursuit for the
ideals of liberty, fraternity and equality. It was then that I came face to
face with the highest form of sacrifice, that of a man laying down his life
for the freedom of a future generation that would only read of him in
history books, if at all the recorders of the times were meticulous enough
to note his contribution - and that only if, it fitted in what they would
interpret as grandiose.

Many of the men told me they were going to fall in the battlefield before
the fact - and sure enough many of them did die. My father never went to the
front. I have no illusions of him in the trenches, lugging an AK47 and
surviving on rations. No, he fought the war from our inconspicuous house on
Kalalazi Street. He fought it when he provided shelter to men coming to
regroup from the theatre of hostilities, ravaged by the enemy onslaught. He
fought the war when he offered them my room to sleep in and recuperate. He
fought it when he sent dispatches on their behalf to their allies overseas.
Today, my father lies in an unmarked grave in the land of his forefathers,
his bones interned underneath a timeless baobab tree.

Once in a while, my father would talk about the Great Illustrious Leader.
Not always, just once in a while. He never came to our house, the Great One.
I did sense an element of mistrust in my father whenever he spoke about him.
My father would not gush with his characteristic excitement when he
mentioned the Great One's name. Neither did he ever abuse the Illustrious
One, at least not in my presence but I figure that was only for my benefit.
Even then, I had a little admiration for the Great One; always felt a little
warmth for the man when I thought of him. He struck me as an intelligent and
thoughtful statesman; but that was before I started poring over the history
books my father left me when he died.

Yes, that was before I read a copy of a report on the Matebeleland
atrocities published by the CCJP. It was before the Referendum in 2000 that
disgraced the Great One. It was before he unleashed a series of violence on
the farms, rubbished my vote and stole two elections. It was before I ran
out of fuel and had to walk everywhere to eke out a living. It was before
the police raided my residence searching for any hoarded commodities, before
they interrogated me about the source of forex used to pay my subscriptions
for satellite tv, before they hurled insults at me for being a sneering
middleclass jerk who pretends to be something he is not because I speak the
queen's language with an accent.

It was before they shamed me in front of my beautiful wife and daughter,
before the ferocity of the state machinery became a reality in my own living
room. It was before Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF) perverted the ideals of
liberation which my uncle bravely fought for.

I have heard it said once that evil is the absence of empathy. That is the
definition of the nature of Mugabe, the man. A man lacking empathy. A man
intoxicated with his own tyranny. Simply put, an intelligent man, now gone
mad; all reason subverted to serve his self-preservation at the expense of
12 million people and their unborn children. He will stay the progress and
prosperity of a future generation so that he can die in peace. Over the
years, his paranoia for his own safety has come to define his character.

When the cops roughed me up last week for not having the new number plates
on I decided enough is enough. I am making plans to leave. I am only heeding
my father's advice. "Stay clear of politics my son." It was the impassioned
plea of a disillusioned man who knew so much more than he could share with a
boy of 11. My daughter is only three. I would like to spare myself the
trouble of confusing her with the experience of knowing the evil that men do
to stay in power. And so, we are leaving Harare in 27 days time. Kure
Kwandinoenda. Asi ndichakusvika chete.

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Business Report

Mugabe doesn't deserve fruits of SA's fiscal discipline
August 5, 2005

By Mandla Maleka

It probably hasn't yet sunk in for all and sundry that Standard & Poor's
(S&P), the rating agency, has upgraded South Africa's rating status a notch
better than before.

The upgrade was long overdue. We have managed to maintain the fiscal and
monetary integrity of the economy, and deservedly S&P did the right thing.

But it all falls to naught when one thinks that Zimbabwean president Robert
Mugabe will receive a loan from such fiscal (and physical) hard work.

If our authorities remain committed to fiscal discipline, why should we
allow our resources to be plundered by the likes of Mugabe and his cohorts?
Fiscal discipline taught South Africans, among other things, to be patient .

It is a loan of taxpayers' growing compliance, of the SA Revenue Service's
impeccable revenue collection, of the country's declining fiscal deficit.

Any loan to Mugabe is tantamount to emotional betrayal of the masses of this
country. Mugabe does not deserve it.

We might as well annex Zimbabwe as the 10th province. That will justify the
loan amount.

It is not so much about not wanting to extend the survival credit line to
Mugabe but much more about the opportunity cost of the loan itself.

The size of the loan or the amount itself is not materially a concern. But
any credit line extension could possibly serve as a perverse incentive for
the Mugabe regime to continue to ruin the economy. And the difference this
time is that the South African public would have blessed such action.

This is one opportunity that could possibly bring the Zimbabwean regime to
the ground and usher in a new regime.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recalls its loan, and we supply the
financial wherewithal to Zimbabwe to remain an IMF member.

We might as well get collateral punishment from the international investing
world for defeating the ends of financial discipline.

Zimbabwe is a sovereign state and there is no way we, as a country, are
going to lay down conditions of usage of the loan. Unless Zimbabwe is a
province of this country.

If we argue that Zimbabwe is a sovereign state and therefore the people of
Zimbabwe should find a solution, then that solution shouldn't in any form
involve transfer of resources to the regime.

We are all well aware of the truth behind Zimbabwe's valuable assistance to
our liberation struggle. However, it becomes emotional blackmail to always
refer to this as though there is no opportunity to move on.

A problem by any other name is a problem. And there is only one solution to
the problem - remove it.

Next week our monetary authorities will be deciding on the next move on
interest rates. Our economic fraternity and the financial world will be
battling to anticipate the decision and plan ahead.

This is a common occurrence directly emanating from prudent management of
the economy.

This is a sign that we are a fiscally disciplined nation and shouldn't allow
our gains to be squandered by errant economic behaviour.

a.. Mandla Maleka is the chief economist at Eskom Treasury. The views
expressed are solely those of the author's and not of Eskom Treasury's

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The Zimbabwean

Even the flowers belong to the state
Some time ago, a Zimbabwean secret agent in France searched for me to bring
the news that if I was prepared to work for the Zimbabwean government, I
would be rewarded comfortably by being made either a minister or deputy
minister of culture.
My personal response has always been to see my writing as defiance of the
fear instilled into our society by the cruel laws as well as a ruthless
police force. When I take up my pen to write, I feel the strength of
standing up and refusing to be silent. No one has the right to deny me the
right to describe the colours and scents of the flowers of my dignity or the
lack of it. Under a dictatorship, even flowers belong to the state.

A few years before I left, I had refused to participate in an expensive
government-funded conference to discuss the national dress, that is, what
all Zimbabweans should wear, as if all citizens, Kim Il Sung-style, should
wear uniforms like school children.

For, in an oppressive situation, silence is death. Repressive laws against
creativity are intended to even bar citizens from the privilege of the
barest monologue. In other words, even the right to think is take away from
the obedient writer, one who does not want to challenge the systems and
networks of fear.

An oppressive system depends on a massive programme to make all citizens
imbeciles, charlatans who sing everything they are told to sing without
question. A writer has to fight that, especially on the African continent.
One has to write in order to fight the collective imbecilization of oneself
as well as others.

In the process, new symbols of our collective identity are created against
those offered to us by government praise-singers and flatterers. What keeps
me going is that every new word and metaphor I create is a little muscle in
the act of pushing the dictatorship away from our real and imaginative
existence. Dictatorships do not simply fall, they are pushed by all sorts of
floods of voice for them to fall.

For example, in the madness of the chaotic and murderous 'land reform' of
Zimbabwe, the national political slogan churned out in the government media
was 'the land is the economy, the economy is the land.' That is a naked lie,
as if to say, once you grab a piece of land, all you have to do is sit down
and relax. Being a farmer's son myself, I rejected that slogan: I know that
only 'productive land is the economy.' An empty piece of land does not
contribute to anyone's economy. Nothing more, nothing less. Dictatorships
thrive on lies and weird fabrications of national history.

I wrote a poem called 'trail', published in my latest anthology, 'Blind
Moon,' about the dictator's hunger for power and how he sets out to grab all
manner of power: (Blind Moon, p.6 - 7). In the poem, I describe the trail
behind a dictator's rise to power, what he leaves on the way to power,
disfigured corpses, orphans, mourning widows, broken skulls, nameless
graves, wounded trees, the silence of stunned birds, broken eggs, mutilated
fingers and rule without a human conscience.

Of course, there is a writer's price to pay. One way is to drive the writer
into an intolerable situation, leading to some form of exile. I remember one
writer crying to me over the phone when I wrote a newspaper column in which
I argued that all of us Zimbabweans, writers and ordinary citizens, are in
exile in our own country. A woman novelist telephoned me, reading the
article back to me, crying. She had made the imaginative connections and
re-discovered the reality of our human condition.

When citizens are not allowed to participate in the affairs of the country
in all possible ways, they are indeed in exile. You do not have to be out of
your country to be in exile. After all, the very act of creativity is an act
of exile since one sits alone in a quiet corner, clinging to a vision,
writing it down on paper, removed from the day-to-day activities of other
mortals. Six months of total seclusion while one writes a novel, that in
itself is exile. Let alone clinging to a vision which those in power refuse
to see. Or even ordinary members of society refusing to realize the state of
society in which they are. It is the decay of the political system when
there is no fuel in the country, but the police and the army have fuel to
use in demolishing the improvised houses of the poor.
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SA loan for Mugabe 'would be a mistake'    Basildon Peta
          August 05 2005 at 07:04AM

      Zimbabwean civic groups have expressed outrage at South Africa's
decision "in principle" to bail out President Robert Mugabe's government and
pay off some of its debts.

      Zimbabwe's largest civic coalition, the National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA), said on Thursday that any help to Zimbabwe would be better
spent on buying food.

      It could then be distributed by civic groups and churches working with
the South African Council of Churches.

      Giving Mugabe loans, as announced by South African government
spokesperson Joel Netshitenzhe, was merely addressing the symptoms of a
deepening crisis and would not help much, said NCA spokesperson Lovemore

      He was speaking by cellphone on Thursday night from Harare Central
Prison, where he was being held for allegedly organising an illegal
demonstration against Mugabe's plans to amend the constitution.

      "Unless South Africa is willing to maintain a regular loan facility to
bankroll Mugabe, this stop-gap deal will not go far.

       "In fact, it's a waste of time and will not make Zimbabwe's
self-inflicted economic problems disappear," Madhuku said.

      "What is needed is a comprehensive package of reforms which does away
with all of Mugabe's insane economic policies in favour of sustainable
policies to generate the resources the country needs to sustain recovery.

      "Mugabe simply does not have the political will for that," added

      The opposition Movement for Democratic Change said it was imperative
that immediate priority be given to addressing the human misery provoked by
the Zimbabwean government's "Operation Murambatsvina", which left 700 000
homeless, according to a United Nations report.

      MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi said: "They need food, shelter and
clothes as soon as possible and we hope that any financial assistance
extended by South Africa is immediately channelled towards addressing these
basic survival needs.

      "A direct show of solidarity by the South African government would
engender tremendous hope among those who have lost everything as a result of
the Zimbabwean government's disastrous policies."

      This article was originally published on page 6 of The Star on August
05, 2005
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The Star

      No need for loan to Zim if SA had acted before
      August 5, 2005

      It seems South Africa is now going to foot the bill for the
destruction caused by Robert Mugabe in his country.

      It has been said that we are offering this loan in order to stop the
stream of illegal immigrants streaming over our borders.

      Why were our president and his government not more proactive over the
past five years to stop this madman from doing what he has been doing? Then
Zimbabwe would not be in the position it is right now. South African
taxpayers are now having to foot the bill for our government's poor foreign

      This all started when a referendum was held and it went against
Mugabe's wishes, so he decided to punish those who dared go against him.

      Quiet diplomacy is just a different way of performing a "cop-out", and
by so doing rubbishing the peer review system that the African Union has
been bleating about.

      Why is it that African leaders with any form of credibility are not
speaking out against dictators and madmen such as Mugabe? It makes no sense
at all.

      One thing that we can be sure of is that Nelson Mandela would not have
allowed this maniac to have done what he is doing without being reprimanded,
although he was told to keep his opinions to himself by the ANC when he did
say something about Mugabe.

      I trust these conditions apply to this so-called loan.

      a.. We will be offered the same terms for the loan by Zimbabwe that
was offered to China (was it farm land or minerals or both?).

      a.. The money will be allocated in small amounts of, say, R500 000 and
we will be given proof of what it has been used for, to be audited by an
internationally recognised auditing firm.

      a.. That Mugabe will sign an international acceptance of the
conditions laid out to him for the loan, and this too must be audited
continuously by South Africa and the AU.

      The reality is, Mugabe will carry on unchecked and we as a country
will continue to look like fools in the eyes of the world. As long as
African countries continue to act this way, Africa will remain corrupt and
      Ian Harris
      Bryanston, Sandton

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New Zimbabwe

Madhuku arrested at constitutional demo

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 08/05/2005 11:53:07
ZIMBABWEAN police foiled a public protest for a new constitution and
arrested National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman, Lovemore Madhuku,
on Thursday afternoon.

Also arrested alongside him was Bright Chibvuri, a journalist with The
Worker, a newspaper published by the country's biggest labour movement -- 
the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).

A third man identified as Cornelius Ruwoko was also dragged away by armed
officers from the riot squad who were called in to disrupt the marchers.

Madhuku and his group planned to stage a demonstration outside the Harare
International Conference Centre where the Parliamentary Committee on Legal
Affairs was holding a consultative public meeting on planned amendments to
the country's constitution.

The planned amendments include barring individuals whose land has been
seized from making a court challenge except on the amount of compensation.

It also seeks to re-establish a lower house of parliament to be known as the
Senate and imposition of travel restrictions on Zimbabweans suspected of
"engaging in terrorist training abroad".

Economic commentator, Dr Alex Magaisa, said the new legislation posed a
serious danger to Zimbabwe's failing economy, warning parliament against
endorsing the amendments.

Said Dr Magaisa: "Parliament must think long and hard before passing these
dangerous amendments into law for they are mortal danger to the economy. By
ousting the jurisdiction of the courts (in relation to the land amendment),
the government is effectively violating the time-honoured principle of
separation of powers.

"The confidence of investors will decline further while the credit rating of
the country and businesses will be drastically reduced. The danger of
allowing a change of this character will in future open the way for the
state to violate the law with reckless abandon."

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New Zimbabwe

Reading Mugabe's propaganda for a penny

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 08/05/2005 12:00:19
THEIRS is probably the worst job on earth, but Zimbabwe State TV news
readers who daily have to front Robert Mugabe's propaganda crusade earn just
less than £1 per bulletin, a new report reveals.

The shocking revelations which provide an intriguing insight into the
operations of Mugabe's main propaganda mouthpiece are contained in a new
report by Webster Shamu's Ministry of Policy Implementation.

Up until recently, the news readers were paid Zim$14 000 (about £0.23). That
money has since been trebled to the current Zim$40 000 -- enough only for a
pint of beer in one of Harare's upmarket bars.

Zimbabwe's state media is widely seen as patently biased, and the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Holdings (formerly Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation) has been
singled out for criticism by media watchdogs.

The leaked report also says sexual favours and harassment are common place
at the state corporation.

The report reserves the sharpest criticism for the ZBH's subsidiary Newsnet,
responsible for news and current affairs programmes. The report says
confusion reigns, with a struggle for the control of the department between
Tazzen Mandizvidza and Chris Chivinge, the two Editors in Chief.

The report also cites the hiring of incompetent and often inexperienced
journalists as responsible for the deteriorating quality in news and current
affairs programmes aired by the ZBC.

"The news desks," reads the report, "are being run by inexperienced
reporters who were thrown into the deep end after an exodus of senior
journalists due to forced resignations and poor working conditions."

It also queries the "100 percent local content" policy on the 24-hour radio
station Power FM. The policy, according to the report, is not financially
viable as there is little to no advertising to sustain it.

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