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

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Mail & Guardian Judge scuppers Mugabe's evictions
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe's plans to forcibly evict nearly 3 000 whites from their farms from midnight Thursday suffered a blow when a judge ruled that most of the eviction orders had been wrongly issued, lawyers confirmed on Thursday.

High court judge Charles Hungwe said that any official notice from the government that it planned to seize a farmer's land was invalid if the property was mortgaged and the government had not told the financial institution holding the bond of the planned

The National Merchant Bank which holds the mortgage on farmer Andrew Cockett's land in the Karoi area had not been advised by the state that it planned to seize his land and the orders were therefore not valid, Hungwe said.

Farm union officials said about 99% of the country's estimated 3 500 farmers still on their land after Mugabe's two-and-a-half-year campaign of seizures were mortaged.

In terms of "section 8" orders under controversial land confiscation legislation, a 90-day period given to about 2 900 farmers to get off their land runs out at midnight Thursday.

If they fail to leave, they are liable to arrest and a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

Meanwhile, the United States has renewed its attack on Zimbabwe, accusing Mugabe of subverting democracy and impoverishing the country with corruption-laced government.

"It's time, once again, to tell Mugabe that he needs to re-examine these policies in terms of land seizures and go back to the road to democratic norms that Zimbabwe should be on," said state department representative Philip Reeker.

Reeker blamed what he said were food shortages affecting around six million people directly on the government's land reform program.

"Shortfalls in agricultural production in Zimbabwe due to, in large part, the government-sponsored chaotic and often violent seizures of commercial farms and failed economic policy are having a direct impact on food availability and prices not just in Zimbabwe, but throughout the region," Reeker said.

"Mugabe has taken a country that should be prospering, that should be benefiting from its natural resources, including the resources of its own people, and instead has been plunged into economic chaos and ruin by Mugabe's corrupt regime and his dismissal of standard democratic norms."

Mugabe's land reforms, which aim to resettle blacks on
white-owned lands to correct colonial-era inequities, have become a vehicle for attacks against the opposition and white farmers over the past two years.

Killings, torture and intimidation on the farms and in other rural areas intensified ahead of the March presidential election, which western countries say was rigged by Mugabe's regime. - Sapa, AFP
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End of an era: farmers face eviction as land seizure battle reaches bitter climax

Uncertain future for whites who say they will fight on in courts

James Astill in Nairobi, and Rachel Palmer in Mataga, Zimbabwe
Thursday August 8, 2002
The Guardian

Nearly 3,000 Zimbabwean white farmers face eviction at midnight tonight, the government's deadline for them to leave their properties, as a 12-year land seizure battle reaches its bitter climax. Many of the farmers affected remained on their land yesterday, despite the threat of a two-year prison sentence for defying the eviction order.

"At least 70% are staying put to see what the government does," said Jenny Williams, a spokeswoman for the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU). "Some are going to take a long weekend in Harare, but not many are actually leaving."

With President Robert Mugabe on business in Singapore, his ministers refused to comment on the imminent eviction orders. But Zimbabwe's state radio quoted Mr Mugabe as saying: "The fast-track resettlement programme is now over and the government is now concentrating on making the new farmers productive."

The CFU held emergency talks with senior government officials yesterday, in a last-ditch effort to resolve a standoff which has halved Zimbabwe's food production this year, exacerbating already serious shortages across the country's drought-stricken south.

"We're still hoping that we can find a solution, but it's very difficult to know what the government's planning. Everything's uncertain," Ms Williams said.

Tonight's deadline follows an amendment in May to Zimbabwe's Land Acquisition Act, designed to resettle Mr Mugabe's supporters on white-owned land. More than 2,900 of Zimbabwe's 4,500 white, commercial farmers were then given 45 days to stop production, and another 45 days to leave their properties. Many of the remaining white farmers have been served with notices of eviction which fall due over the next three months.

Despite the act's guarantee of compensation, only 100 farmers served with eviction notices have so far received derisory payments from the government.

"It's an insidious piece of legislation," said John Worswick, an arable farmer from southern Chinoi, served with an eviction order. "But almost everyone has taken it to court and we've got a pretty good case - even if we're preparing for the worst."

Most of the targeted farmers have challenged the eviction order on procedural grounds, with a test case challenging its constitutionality to be heard in October. That case, brought by George Quinnell, a tobacco farmer from Chinoi, 50 miles north of Harare, seeks to quash the amendment on the grounds that it is racist.

"The government says it will start arresting us on Friday, but by law it will still have to return to the courts before it can do that," said Mr Worswick. "If they want to take me away, they can, but it will only end up highlighting the illegality of this government."


Local government minister Ignatius Chombo - who chairs the Mr Mugabe's land acquisition audit committee - warned that any farmer who defied the government's eviction orders would face the "full wrath of the law".

Mr Worswick has not produced anything on his 400-hectare (1,000-acre) farm since about 80 landless families invaded it two years ago. Of those, all but six have since drifted away from the semi-arid land, because of the extreme difficulty of growing crops without extensive irrigation.

"They've had no support from the government, no fertiliser, no irrigation," Mr Worswick said. "I used to produce 300 tonnes of peanuts and 500 tonnes of maize every year. All they can manage is a handful of beans. It's a crazy, nightmare scenario, when you look around at the suffering in the country, I should be growing wheat right now."

The UN world food programme estimates that almost half of Zimbabwe's 12.5 million people will need feeding over the next year, with more than 600,000 people already surviving on food aid in the parched south. Around a quarter of the 2m-tonne shortfall in Zimbabwe's food supply is a direct result of farm invasions, WFP says.

"Nobody disputes that this country needs land reform," said Richard Miller, of the Catholic aid agency Cafod, in Harare. "But the destruction of commercial farming is contributing to hunger. The problem is, you need tools and fertilisers to be able to grow food. People don't only need land."

It's not just an issue affecting white farmers. Human rights groups said yesterday that up to 100,000 farm workers were likely to be made homeless.

In the dry, dusty south of Zimbabwe where the drought has hit hardest, the fields are barren. Hlau Mufemi is being denied food aid, distributed by Mr Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party, because her son is an active member of the Movement for Democratic Change, the main opposition party.

"How can I provide for my mother when I no longer have a job?" her son, Shoko, asked. "My house has been burnt by Zanu youths and I have my four children and my sister's four children to care for as well. We have nowhere to live and can't get any food. All I want is my job back so I can provide for my family."

John Makumbe, chairman of the Zimbabwe Crisis Committee, said: "It is a catastrophe. These farm workers are real people and the government is taking away their livelihoods and their homes, without giving them an alternative."

On Tuesday 60 farmers in Mutorashanga, 60 miles north-east of Harare, gathered for an end-of-an-era group picture. About 40 of the group were planning to quit their farms by the week end. "The mood around here is generally depressed. Most of us want to stay in Africa. I want to stay, but my government doesn't want me because of my colour," one of the farmers said, speaking anonymously.

One of the few farmers preparing yesterday to leave his 2,000-acre arable farm in Chinoi - an area particularly affected by Mr Mugabe's land seizures because of its proximity to the president's homeland in Mashonaland - said it was clear why there was hunger in Zimbabwe.

"There should be 5,000 acres of wheat outside my door, but there's not a tip of wheat to be seen. Instead, there are poor people sweeping the road for the odd bit of grain that falls from trucks. It's madness," said the farmer, who did not wish to be named.

The government claims that veterans of Zimbabwe's independence war are at the forefront of the land invasions. But, in reality, few of the squatters took part in the struggle. "This white land isn't for true war veterans," said Wilfred Mahanda of the Liberators' Platform, an association for former combatants. "It's for politicians and their cronies - all the prime land is for the politicians."

Many white farmers in the Chinoi region did not realise that their eviction was due tonight, assuming instead that the deadline was Saturday, the day of Zimbabwe's national liberation celebrations.

"Everything's very unclear but most people think we've got until Saturday," said one farmer, who asked not to be named. "Anyway, no-one's budging, we're staying exactly where we are, and if they have to lock up 4,000 farmers in one day, it's going to be a hell of a job."

This farmer did not expect to be evicted imminently either, although he said there were worrying signs. "The squatters stole a load of my machinery over the weekend but the police said they couldn't arrest anyone because there's no room in the jails. I wonder if that means they're leaving room for us?"

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Posted on Thu, Aug. 08, 2002
Crunch day arrives for Zimbabwe's white farmers


Thousands of white Zimbabwean farmers face a midnight deadline on Thursday to leave land they have farmed for generations or risk jail, although a last-minute High Court ruling could provide a grace period.

The High Court ruled a mortgaged farm could not be taken for resettlement by blacks if the state had not properly informed the mortgage institution. A decision could throw a lifeline to most of the farmers.

In a landmark decision on Wednesday, High Court Judge Charles Hungwe said the state could not confiscate land owned by Andrew Kockett because it had not informed the National Merchant Bank, which has a mortgage registered over the property.

"Farmers in the same situation as me -- which is I believe the majority -- in very few cases or in no cases has the bond holder been served with these notices," farmer Kockett told South African radio on Thursday.

"Whether that automatically gives the other farmers cover I don't know," he added. The ruling was made available to Reuters on Thursday.

Mugabe has given nearly 3,000 of the country's 4,500 white farmers until midnight to hand over their land or face a fine and up to two years in prison.

The independent weekly Financial Gazette said banks and other financial institutions lending for commercial agriculture stood to lose nearly $12 billion because of President Robert Mugabe's chaotic land reforms.

Mugabe launched his drive to take white-owned farms for black resettlement two years ago, but this would mark the first mass eviction. It comes as the country -- once the region's breadbasket -- faces severe food shortages.

Analysts say disruption to farming through the state-backed farm invasions has compounded both the food shortages and a severe economic crisis blamed on government mismanagement.

Mugabe -- Zimbabwe's sole ruler since the former Rhodesia gained independence in 1980 -- says his land seizures are meant to right the wrongs of British colonialism, which left 70 percent of the best farmland in white hands.

In May, he passed a law giving 2,900 farmers 45 days to wind up operations and another 45 days -- expiring at midnight on August 8 -- to leave their land and make way for black settlers.


Some of the farmers say they will go. Others have vowed to fight the land seizure and eviction orders through the courts.

The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), which represents the white farmers, says it supports land redistribution, but is opposed to the system employed by the government.

But a new CFU splinter group is urging farmers to fight on.

"Our position is that people should not give in because we are in a crisis as a country," Justice for Agriculture (JAG) chairman David Connolly told reporters.

The official Herald newspaper reported on Thursday that the High Court was expected to hear another appeal from a white farmer challenging the constitutionality of the Land Acquisition Act. No date has been set so far.

The European Union and the United States have imposed sanctions on Mugabe and his ruling elite over his land policy and after his controversial re-election as president in March.

Many Western powers say the election was rigged and are backing demands by the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) for a fresh poll.

Mugabe insists he won fairly, and dismisses calls for a rerun as attempts to impose MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai as leader of the southern African country.

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ABC Australia

Posted: Thu, 8 Aug 2002 22:05 AEST

Last-minute reprieve for Zimbabwean farmers

The Zimbabwean High Court has thrown a lifeline to thousands of white farmers ordered to leave their farms by midnight local time.

It has ruled the Government cannot seize mortgaged or bonded white-owned properties without first informing the lending agency.

The 11th-hour ruling related to Andrew Kockett's farm which has a mortgage bond registered with a local bank.

The ruling says failure by the government to comply with laws regarding notification of acquisitions rendered any land seizures "null and void."

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Daily News
LEADER PAGE Wednesday   7  , August
Disaster preparedness is highly questionable

8/7/02 10:08:26 AM (GMT +2)

FOR the second time in as many months, Zimbabwe’s state of disaster preparedness is under scrutiny and it’s questionable whether agencies dealing with emergencies are up to the task.

The first major test for the country’s emergency services was during the devastating Cyclone Eline in 2000. The verdict on the response was that the country was far from prepared. Cyclone Eline exposed the fallacy that Zimbabwe was prepared or that it had some kind of a rapid response mechanism. Others more generous argued no one could have anticipated the ferocity of Cyclone Eline and were, therefore, prepared to give the emergency services the benefit of the doubt.

But Masvingo bus disaster in June in which 37 people, mostly students from Masvingo Teachers’ College, perished in an inferno after a collision involving a haulage truck and the bus they were travelling in, exposed the state of hopelessness of the emergency services.

Not all the 37 victims need have perished in that road accident if the emergency services had the capacity to respond rapidly to disasters. Quite understandably there was outrage at the tardiness with which this tragedy was handled. But if anyone had been understanding of the ineptitude of the emergency services, the collapse of a disused mine shaft at Zimbo in Mhondoro nearly two weeks ago is enough to make one’s blood boil. An estimated 20 people were trapped and died in the mine. While the actual number may be debatable, the point is at least five of those who died and others as yet unidentified were buried alive in the disused mine shaft.

But it was only nine days after the tragedy occurred that a visit to the site was undertaken and a decision to hire an excavator was made. Then after such a decision was made, still no excavation took place as planned, even though payment had reportedly been made to the company hired to retrieve the bodies. Another day of agony for relatives of the dead illegal gold panners ensued. The point is that the response and the demonstration of disaster preparedness in this instance were grossly unacceptable. Heads should roll.

The relatives of the victims maybe poor, but even they expected some kind of rapid response. Many people will expect an explanation on why it took nine days before the site was visited and a decision to hire an excavator was subsequently made. They will also expect an explanation on why, when there are so many mining companies, the Chamber of Mines was not approached to enlist the expertise of their members and why the rescue work was not farmed out to mining companies. It is possible that if an immediate rescue bid had been launched hours after the collapse of the mine shaft, fewer lives would have been lost. If what happened in the three major disasters during the past two years is the sum total of the country’s state of disaster preparedness, then it has to be roundly condemned for lack of readiness in dealing with disasters, whatever their magnitude.

The Civil Protection Unit, which was formed in 1989 for disaster aversion and preparedness, has proved to be totally out of depth whenever the country is faced by a disaster or threatened by one. Even in the cities, this inadequacy has also been exposed. The Harare Fire Brigade failed to save a block of flats in Eastlea suburb when fire broke out. The apartments were gutted and scores of families lost property running into hundreds of millions of dollars. The government shoulders responsibility in the Zimbo mine disaster. If there were more employment opportunities the miners would not have been driven to burrow into disused mines in order to fend for their families.

Zimbabwe’s emergency services are long on theory and during mock disasters, but are woefully pathetic during real disasters. Attitudes played a major role in the response of the emergency services. Some people must start explaining this gross conduct.

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Daily News
LEADER PAGE  Wednesday   7  , August 
There is no other way but to confront the government over the worsening situation 
8/7/02 10:14:12 AM (GMT +2)
A friend of mine in Australia told me that Zimbabweans were people who must not be taken seriously by a reasonable person. He told me that “there was a free and fair election in Zimbabwe, and in fact, there is no evidence of dissenting voices except from a few individuals like you whom we read were arrested mainly because of the use of violence”.
I agreed with my friend totally after realising a lot of contrast between the behaviour of most people in Zimbabwe, especially when we compare their actions and the social, political, economic and moral environment that is supposed to be the source of influence of any behaviour.
People are all living well below their desired standard of living, yet they continue to keep quiet. The privatised police brutalise people, yet still this is not a point of concern. At universities and colleges students languish in hunger and someone can go for a good three days or more without anything to fill their stomach and without any hope for a normal meal. Girls are taken advantage of by capitalists who provide them with money, but most probably spread HIV/Aids to the desperate and unsuspecting young girls, yet they keep on at their studies in order to accomplish their ambitions. Workers are grossly underpaid, yet they go to work every day to trade the only energy in their bodies to ensure food for their families.
The rural people voted for Robert Mugabe, yet they are the most pathetically deprived of resources and information, and the truth is that they are still wearing Third Chimurenga T-shirts believing there is a revolution in Zimbabwe even though there is no map that shows where the revolution starts from and goes to; that is if there is such a revolution at all. The media is victimised on a daily basis; journalists arrested and if human rights activists raise questions about it, they too are harassed and victimised, but surprisingly all the Zimbabweans continue to keep quiet. The judiciary has been torn apart and senior officials like the Minister for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs have criticised judges openly in cases they are directly implicated, thereby occasioning blatant contempt of court.
Those who have money are no longer different from those who do not even have a cent because they can only buy bread, sugar and milk if these are available, but if they are not there then there is no difference between the haves and have-nots. The government instilled fear in the majority of its citizens and it seems people have accepted it as normal to queue for basic commodities, while the government-controlled Herald proudly trumpets in one of its headlines “Yellow maize arrives in Zimbabwe”‚ as if there is anything good about having stockfeed for our food.
The list is endless and to continue repeating them is a waste of time because everyone, including those who are causing the problems, are familiar with the problems Zimbabweans are facing. The best way forward is a united voice and to be above party politics. This means a coalition of supporters from various parties. Zimbabweans from all political parties must demand the following from Robert Mugabe and his government:
A free and fair presidential election under the supervision of the African Union, the European Union, the Southern African Development Community and any other interested parties; .
A new constitution prior to the rerun of such an election, while a proposal for a new constitution such as that of the National Constitutional Assembly can be put to a referendum;
Restoration of the rule of law;
Independent security organs (police, Central Intelligence Organisation, soldiers and army) and judiciary;
Provision of drugs required for the hospitals;
Courtship of donor programmes and activities designed to attract more funding in the form of foreign currency;
Restoration of international relations in order to boost tourism;
Sacking of all arrogant ministers who are not unanswerable to the people;
Allowing the media to operate freely, while the independent media are freed of State harassment;
Freedom of expression and freedom after expression;
A non-racial transparent land resettlement and redistribution programme;
An Immediate end to hate language and speech;
A free education system, especially at institutions such as universities and colleges;
An end to politically motivated violence;
A transparent food relief distribution not based on party affiliations; and
A national youth service free from exploitation by any of the political parties and free of abuse of ignorant unemployed youths
Zimbabweans must realise that these and other unlisted demands do not come on a silver plate. During colonialism courageous people like Mugabe endangered their lives to obtain the independence.
Those who believe they are unjustifiably treated and are convinced the government is not addressing their problems, must confront the government through dialogue first. If this fails as has been always the case, then by any means necessary we must build a Zimbabwe we want because we are all citizens of Zimbabwe. 
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Daily News
A leader who is God-fearing, loving and trusting will come

8/7/02 10:35:40 AM (GMT +2)

I would like to say to all Zimbabweans that it is now time for earnest prayers. Prayers for truth, peace, law, sanity and justice. Only the truth will set us free. Lord God Almighty will guide us only if we acknowledge that He is Lord at all times. We live by His grace through the power of His salvation.

Let’s not forget the times of Pharaoh, whose heart was hardened, but our Lord is God. Remember King Saul who thought he would defy God. Indeed our situation in Zimbabwe is no different; a leader who is God-fearing, loving and trusting will come. To all those who were maimed, killed, abducted, tortured, raped etc, the time is now to come before God and humble yourselves for a new life. Turn away from that ruthless party, a party of wickedness, evil, greed and vice, full of murder, fighting, deceit and malice; those who are hateful to God, always against the truth and reality; people who are insolent, proud and boastful; they who think of more ways of doing evil.

No matter how much wicked or oppressive they are, their time will come. We only trust in God. They will not remain rich for long, neither in power; nothing they own will last; even their shadows will vanish.


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Daily News
LETTERS/OPINIONS Wednesday   7  , August
Robbing the poor to feed the fat cats

8/7/02 10:37:22 AM (GMT +2)

The tax-free threshold for this year is $90 000. If you earn $1 more than $7 500 a month, you have to pay tax.

With the poverty datum line at $25 000 per month, cooking oil costing $700 for 750ml and maize-meal $460 a 10kg, how does one survive? What is totally unfair is that salary or allowances of the following people are free from tax: the President and his wife, the Vice-Presidents, ministers, deputy ministers, provincial governors, speaker, deputy speaker, the chief whip and leader of the opposition. In this country, the poor are being robbed to keep the fat cats fatter.

Disgusted Taxpayer

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LETTERS/OPINIONS Wednesday   7  , August
Mugabe should put people’s interests before self and resign

8/7/02 10:38:22 AM (GMT +2)

I would like to give PresidentMugabe some good advice.

As the current President of this deteriorating country, he should try, at least this once, to put people’s interests first and do away with his selfishness. If Mugabe is genuinely concerned about the people’s welfare as he claims, why can’t he resign? He should retire from active politics and let Morgan Tsvangirai take over. If he hates Tsvangirai to the extent that he would not live under his leadership, then Simba Makoni should become the next President. Every rational thinker in and around the country knows very well that Mugabe is the source of the problems our country is facing.

There are two options for him: either to resign and let the country prosper or to cling to power and let the country fall apart. A great leader with vision and people’s welfare at heart would go for the former option – that of resigning. Mugabe should not think that there is no Zimbabwe after him or that without him land cannot be distributed. Any leader can do that and Tsvangirai is more than capable. Mugabe should spend the remaining years of his life lecturing and giving inspirational speeches to the Zimbabwean youths who are suffering a lot, instead of dragging his beautiful country into a bottomless pit.

Glen Norah C

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Daily News
NATIONAL NEWS Wednesday   7  , August
Herald workers back down

8/7/02 9:40:22 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

SCARED about possible job losses, workers at the troubled government-owned Zimbabwe Newspapers company yesterday developed cold feet and withdrew their earlier threat to strike over wages.

On Friday last week, representatives of hundreds of workers at the publishers of The Herald, among other titles, said they would go on strike today if the company did not award them a 65 percent cost of living adjustment, backdated to July. They expressed serious concern over the attitude of the new chief executive officer, Justin Mutasa, accusing him of “extreme arrogance”.

In an apparent climbdown, the workers yesterday said they had extended the strike notice which expired yesterday. They said they were advised by officials in the Ministry of the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to extend the notice because the labour relations officer dealing with the case had not made a final
determination on the matter. “The company has not moved from its earlier position and people want to go on strike but we are advised that we can extend the date to 15 August,” a representative of the workers said.

A row erupted between Zimpapers workers and their management after they had been offered a zero percent cost of living adjustment which they rejected, forcing the company to increase it to 20 percent.

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NATIONAL NEWS Wednesday   7  , August
Resettled farmers face hunger as government fails to assist

8/7/02 9:45:15 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

RESETTLED farmers in Chief Chivero’s area in Mhondoro have lambasted the government for not fulfiling its promises to assist them to get started. The farmers, interviewed at the weekend, said they had fallen on hard times. Lydia Muzenda, 62, of Muzindaweshumba resettlement scheme, said they were near starvation.

“We have nothing to eat,” she said. “We are buying a bucket of maize at an unaffordable price of $1 000 or more.” Muzenda said she feared the worst if they failed to secure draught power to till their newly-acquired land. The settlers said they had made several vain attempts to secure maize grain at the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), as the government had promised to help them with food relief until the next harvest. Joseph Made, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, has repeatedly assured the settlers that the government would support them with farming inputs, including seed and fertiliser. Muzenda said when she moved to Mhondoro from her original home in Gokwe, she sold five of her cattle to raise money to transport her property.

“Most of us on this scheme don’t have cattle to till the land,” she said. “We have waited, in vain, for a long time to get the District Development Fund tillage tractors.” Muzenda said they held monthly meetings to discuss their problems and possible solutions, but there was still no positive response from the government.

She said the settlers had spent a lot of money travelling to the Chegutu GMB depot to get maize grain without success. Nelson Takawira, 42, of Stokesay resettlement area, said: “The rainy season is only a few months away but we are still to prepare our fields for planting.” “We haven’t received the promised maize seed from government,” he said. Another settler at Zimbo, who refused to be identified, said non-governmental organisations involved in the food aid programmes should them help to avert starvation which he said was now very imminent in the area. The government has discouraged the NGOs from distributing food unless this is done through the government or Zanu PF channels.

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NATIONAL NEWS Wednesday   7  , August
17 MDC members arrested in Chipinge

8/7/02 9:47:23 AM (GMT +2)

From Our Correspondent in Mutare

SEVENTEEN MDC members, including ten aspiring candidates in the September rural district council elections in Chimanimani and Chipinge in Manicaland, were arrested in connection with the burning of government tractors.

Of the 17, seven were charged with malicious injury to property while the others were released without charge. The seven are expected to appear before a Chipinge magistrate this week. Last week, three government tractors were burnt by unidentified people at the Chipinge government complex housing the CIO and the police headquarters. The complex is fenced and has tight round-the-clock security. MDC officials in Manicaland hired Arnold Tsunga, a Mutare lawyer, to lead a team of lawyers to secure the release of their members. Speaking from Chipinge, Tsunga said he was battling to secure their release.

Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC spokesman in Manicaland, said the MDC members were arrested at their homes. “The police in Chipinge told us our members had been arrested because their conduct was likely to cause a breach of the peace before the council elections,” said Muchauraya. “The police are cracking down on all aspiring MDC candidates to force them to withdraw from the election. But that will never happen. We will win the elections, whether the police like it or not.”

Dennis Simango, a candidate in Ward 32 Chipinge North, Brighton Mugwazi, Chibuwe Ward 20, Paradzai Manyerenyere, Masimbe Ward Chipinge South and Julius Mozandakaya, a headman in Chibuwe and candidate for Mutovoti area, are among those arrested.

The others are Mathias Mtetwa Ward 16 Chipinge South, Zacharia Makoni, Ward 30 Chipinge North, Prosper Mutseyami MDC vice-provincial chairman and candidate for ward 31 Chipinge North, Daniel Ngorima Ward 11 Chipinge North, Buster Carter, Ward 10 Chipinge North, and Shane Kadd contesting the Charter Estate seat in Chimanimani. Brian Makomeke, Mutare District police spokesperson, confirmed the arrests but denied the suspects were aspiring MDC candidates for the rural council elections. He said: “They were arrested in connection with the burning of the tractors but we have no knowledge they are aspiring candidates for the MDC.”

Meanwhile, Menyard Mashapa, another MDC aspiring candidate in Tanganda, who was allegedly abducted and beaten up by a group of Zanu PF youths, was said to be recovering at a hospital in Harare. Muchauraya said Mashapa sustained serious injuries following the beatings. He would not disclose the name of the hospital for fear of another attack on Mashapa.

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NATIONAL NEWS Wednesday   7  , August
Chitungwiza residents owe council $171 million

8/7/02 9:41:14 AM (GMT +2)

Municipal Reporter

CHITUNGWIZA residents owe their cash-strapped council about $171 million in unpaid rates and water charges. The council, reeling under a debt of over $100 million, has hired a debt recovery company.

The Chitungwiza Executive Mayor, Misheck Shoko, yesterday confirmed the debt. He said the council had hired a debt recovery company before he assumed office. “I appreciate the problems that the residents are facing because of the economic problems in the country but for a small council like Chitungwiza, $171 million is a lot of money which we could use for our various projects,” he said. He said some of the individual residents owed over $30 000 and it would be difficult for them to clear the debts in one-off payments, as demanded by the debt collection agency.

“One wonders how the previous council allowed the debts to mount without taking any action,” he said. Shoko said his office was inundated with residents trying
to negotiate flexible repayment arrangements. He said the council would appreciate it if the residents paid their monthly rates and made part-payments towards their arrears. Chitungwiza, with a population of close to one million, owes Harare City Council over $50 million in unpaid water bills. The town gets most of its water from Harare.

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NATIONAL NEWS Wednesday   7  , August
Zimbabwe is a pseudo democracy, says UNDP

8/7/02 9:50:14 AM (GMT +2)

By Fanuel Jongwe

THE United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has cited Zimbabwe and Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet Union state, as being among the world’s “pseudo-democracies” where elected governments behave like their authoritarian predecessors.

In the last two years, Zimbabwe has been slowly sliding towards dictatorship as the Zanu PF government battles to maintain its stranglehold on power in the face of a strong threat from the opposition MDC. The UN agency’s 2002 report, released last week, laments that several countries which embraced democracy after the Cold War, had retrogressed, while “many others have limited political competition and continuing abuse of political and civil rights”. Today, only 47 of the 81 countries are considered as functioning democracies, said the report titled Deepening Democracy in a Fragmented World.

“Then there is the disturbing spread of ‘illiberal’ democracies, as in Kyrgyzstan and Zimbabwe, where elected governments act the same as their authoritarian predecessors, depriving citizens of human rights and ignoring constitutional limits on power,” the report said. Late last year, the government repealed the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act crafted by Ian Smith’s Rhodesian government to suppress black nationalist movements. The colonial law was replaced by the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) which has been condemned as more draconian than its predecessor. POSA, among other repressive clauses, empowers the police to shoot at demonstrators when they deem it necessary and prohibits the holding of political gatherings without clearance from the police.

The largely partisan police force has invoked the law to ban opposition rallies. “In Zimbabwe in 2000-2, the elected government has undermined democracy and personal security by using the country’s security forces to pursue its ends.” The report says many countries worldwide are a long way from having genuinely free and independent media. “Journalism also remains a hazardous occupation,” says the report. “In several countries the vague crime of ‘dangerousness’ has been used to curtail independent journalism. “The Democratic Republic of Congo outlaws reporting that might ‘demoralise’ the public. “In Zimbabwe, with a history of vigorous and independent media, the president has forced through legislation that severely constrains Press freedoms,” said the UNDP report.

The government enacted the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act after the controversial presidential election won by Mugabe in March. The new law has been invoked to arrest at least a dozen journalists from the private Press including Daily News Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Nyarota and reporter Lloyd Mudiwa. They are being charged with publishing a story reported to the newspaper by a con-artist alleging his wife was beheaded by Zanu PF militants in Magunje.

In 2001, 37 journalists were killed in the line of duty, 118 imprisoned, while more than 600 journalists were intimidated or physically attacked mostly because some people did not agree with what they reported, according to the report.

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NATIONAL NEWS Wednesday   7  , August
Students to miss November examinations

8/7/02 9:50:45 AM (GMT +2)

By Loveness Mlambo

TEN “O” Level students attending evening classes at Budiriro 3 Primary School in Harare will not write the November examinations because their fees did not reach the examinations branch.

The students who paid their examination fees in March were shocked when they were refunded their money on 19 July 2002, well after the closing date for late entries. Two of the affected students, Enoch Mbizi and Roy Chisango, last week said they paid $1 000 each for five subjects and centre fees for the examinations to the supervisor but were not given any receipts. The students discovered that they would not write their final examinations when the statements of entry were given to other candidates last month. Contacted for comment Lameck Marunga, the evening school supervisor at Budiriro 3 Primary School, said the institution was not a centre for examinations.

He said students use Glen-View 2 Secondary School as their examination centre. Marunga said he forwarded the students’ examination fees to Luke Nyawo, the evening school supervisor at Glen View 2 Secondary School. But Nyawo denied ever accepting any money from Marunga, saying their centre bookings were already full. Marunga, however, claimed that he thought all was well because he had been given some registration forms by Nyawo. He said he even tried to approach the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council, when he realised the students had not been registered, but it was too late. Dr Isaiah Sibanda, the Zimsec director, said there were no reports received from Marunga but they only got to know of the case of the 10 students when a parent came to them complaining about the issue in July.

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Daily News
BUSINESS Wednesday   7  , August
Beef exports to Libya soon

8/7/02 9:56:29 AM (GMT +2)

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Tanganda Farm Listed for Acquisition

Farming Editor

THE long-awaited beef exports to Libya may begin in the next few weeks, bringing into the country much needed foreign currency, an official from the beef industry, has said. Zimbabwe is currently not exporting beef due to the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak first reported in August last year.

Apart from the new beef exports to Libya, Zimbabwe used to export 9 100 tonnes and 5 000 tonnes of beef to the European Union and South Africa respectively, as well as 10 000 slaughter stock to Mauritius. Chairman of Farirayi Quality Foods Private Limited, John Mapondera, told farmers attending a Cattle Producers’ Association meeting last Thursday that the company would begin exporting beef to Libya in a couple of weeks following an agreement between the company and the government of Libya.

He did not specify when exactly the exports would begin. Exports to Libya would be 5 000 tonnes of deboned beef valued at US$6,5 million (Z$357,5 million) tonnes a year. A contract to supply the 5 000 tonnes of deboned beef to Libya was signed on 5 April 2002. Negotiations to export beef to Libya have been on the table for the past year. Mapondera said: “Libya is still sorting out its administration and that has caused the delays in commencing exporting.” He said cattle would be sourced from Mashonaland provinces (East, West and Central) and Makoni district in Manicaland. These areas are said to be free of the foot-and-mouth disease.

Farirayi Quality Food would use the unused Cold Storage Company (CSC) facilities to export the beef. The CSC, currently faced with a $4,4 billion debt has ceased its operations. Mapondera said while traditional cattle beef came from the commercial sector, the company would draw cattle from both the commercial as well the communal sectors to encourage producers to invest in the export business which is more lucrative than keeping stock. He called for a united cattle industry which would embrace newly resettled farmers, communal and large-scale commercial beef producers.

He said: “The next step for us is that over the next few months, we shall be developing markets in the Middle East, North and West Africa and Southern African region, for cattle from the buffer zone in particular. Initially we would propose that the cattle for those markets should come from the Midlands and Masvingo provinces especially from those districts that do not directly border on quarantine zones.” Buffer zones are those areas between zones free of foot-and-mouth disease and those that have had outbreaks.

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The Daily News (Harare)

August 8, 2002
Posted to the web August 8, 2002

Takaitei Bote Farming Editor

A farm belonging to Tanganda Tea Company Limited has been listed for compulsory acquisition although the government is on record as saying it will not acquire plantations.

Tanganda Tea, which employs more than 7 000 workers, is the largest producer, packer and distributor of tea products.

Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Minister, Joseph Made announced in a Preliminary Notice to Compulsorily Acquire Land published in the Press last Friday that the government intended to acquire New Year's Gift Estate, a Tanganda Tea property in Chipinge measuring about 2 424 9044 morgen (more than 484 980 088 acres).

Contacted for comment, Tanganda spokesperson Lydia Mavhengere said: "We are going through the procedural process and there is nothing more we can say now."

Other estates designated and appearing in the Friday list of 95 farms include Prestons Coffee, Hfestede, and Southdown Estates, all in Chipinge.

The government has in the past two years been listing thousands of commercial farms for its land reform programme but properties earmarked for acquisition also include church properties and plantations.

The government said it would not acquire church properties and plantations when it launched the programme in 1997.

Among the farms listed soon after the presidential elections in March were eight church properties, one of which is Copota Mission for the Blind, run by the Reformed Church in Zimbabwe.

Major agricultural estates, Hippo Valley, Triangle, conservancies and Border Timbers Estates, which employ hundreds of workers, are to be acquired under a new regulation which does not allow individuals or companies to own "large" farms.

The farm size limits now range between 250 and 2 000 hectares, depending on the type of land.

This effectively means that agro-industry properties, plantations and conservancies would be reduced to a maximum size of 2 000 ha.

Economists have criticised the government decision to reduce the sizes of agro-industry, plantations and conservancies as an economic setback because it "would result in a massive disinvestment of by owners of the properties from Zimbabwe".

Most large agro-industrial investments in Zimbabwe, for example, Border Timbers forestry projects are protected by foreign investments and therefore should not be compulsorily acquired.

Border Timbers is protected by the Germany-Zimbabwe Investment Protection Agreement for the government of Zimbabwe signed in 1995.

The government has also been criticised for relisting farms as this has resulted in civil servants working extra hours processing the farms and wasting tax-payers' money in the process.

The Commercial Farmers' Union says as of 28 June 2002, out of the 6 037 properties listed, 338 farms had been relisted. Some farms have been relisted by mistake while some of them were relisted for the second time in line with the Land Acquisition Act legal requirements where the government is expected to relist a property after 12 months expire from the first preliminary notice.

More than 95 percent of commercial farms have been listed to date.

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Magistrate Orders Probe of Councillor Over Stand Scam

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The Daily News (Harare)

August 8, 2002
Posted to the web August 8, 2002

Sam Munyavi

Christine Rambanapasi, a Chitungwiza councillor, allegedly sold a commercial stand allocated to her by the council to two different people.

On 25 June, Chitungwiza provincial magistrate, Caroline-Ann Chigumira, ordered the police to investigate her for possible criminal activities.

She issued the order after Rambanapasi admitted she had sold Stand Number 21792 in Seke Unit C to Simbarashe Mupinga for $270 000. She later sold the same stand to Zondiwa Nyamande for $150 000.

Chigumira said: "First respondent (Rambanapasi) is likely to be engaging in criminal activities and by virtue of this judgment the court orders that she be investigated by the police and prosecuted for bad behaviour, if any."

Nyamande took Rambanapasi to court after she allegedly failed to transfer the stand into his name by 31 July 2000 as agreed.

Chigumira ruled that Nyamande's purchase was valid. Mupinga then filed an application in the High Court on 3 July, for an order to have Rambanapasi's rights, title and interest in the stand ceded to him.

But Rambanapasi on Tuesday said the matter had been settled amicably.

Repeatedly stressing that Mupinga was her nephew, and Nyamande her cousin, Rambanapasi said: "It was just a misunderstanding between Mupinga and Nyamande and it has been resolved.

"In fact, we are meeting at Chitungwiza head office tomorrow (yesterday) to finalise the matter."

Misheck Shoko, the executive mayor, recently said it was illegal for anyone to sell an undeveloped stand allocated by the council.

In his High Court application, Mupinga said he entered into a verbal agreement with Rambanapasi on 30 March 2001 to buy the stand for $270 000.

They had put the agreement in writing on 25 September 2001.

The 350-square metre stand is designated for a bottle store.

Mupinga said: "A deposit of $100 000 was paid before we reduced this agreement into writing and this is clearly indicated in the agreement of sale signed by myself and respondent." The balance of $170 000 was to be paid in two instalments of $80 000 and $90 000.

Mupinga said he paid $80 000. The remaining $90 000 was to be paid after the property was transferred into his name.

He said: "The respondent has, contrary to the agreement, refused to have the cession done or the property transferred into my name."

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Farmers Divided Over Exit Packages

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The Daily News (Harare)

August 8, 2002
Posted to the web August 8, 2002

Takaitei Bote, Farming Editor

CRACKS showed within the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) membership yesterday over whether or not farmers should challenge a new labour statutory instrument, which some farmers say is unfair.

Speaking during the CFU's 59th annual congress held in Harare yesterday, some of the farmers said Statutory Instrument 6 (SI 6) promulgated this year for farm workers affected by the compulsory acquisition of commercial farms should be resisted in courts because the terminal benefits suggested were too high and farmers could not afford the packages.

This is not the first time that the CFU leadership and farmers have clashed over how to deal with issues related to the land reform programme.

The stance of appeasement adopted by the CFU, which does not want to appear confrontational by taking the government to court, has been rejected by some farmers who have decided to form a new pressure group, Justice for Agriculture (JAG).

JAG says it will not seek dialogue but will use the courts to resist the compulsory acquisition of their farms.

The CFU's Agricultural Labour Bureau (ALB) said its board had decided it was not prudent to challenge SI 6 in court.

About 2 900 farmers are expected to have vacated their farms by midnight today (8 August) as they were served with Section 8 (eviction) orders. They are required to have paid exit packages to their workers.

The SI 6 of 2002 has superceded Statutory Instrument 404 (SI 404) of the Labour Relations Act which dealt with retrenchment issues.

Under SI 404 employers and workers had room to agree on what redundancy packages would be given to farm workers but SI 6 stipulates that terminal benefits are not negotiable.

CFU regional executive for Mashonaland West (South), Ben Freeth, said some farmers who had employed their workers for about 30 years were paying as much as $17 million in exit packages. This is because they were paying workers amounts equivalent to twice their current monthly wage for each completed year according to SI 6.

SI 6 stipulates that farmers are also expected to make severance payments equivalent to employees' full wages for a period of three months prior to the date of termination of their employment, a relocation fee of $5 000, a gratuity on termination of employment payable to the worker, wages in lieu of notice, and cash equivalent of any vacation leave due to employees in the year in which the termination of their employment occurred.

Farmer after farmer called on the ALB to consider challenging SI 6 because it gave rise to some bogus trade unions which were inciting workers to force their employers to pay packages even in cases where the farmer had not been issued with Section 8 orders.

The Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU) is alleged to be instigating farm workers to force employers to pay them redundancy packages.

The ZFTU is alleged to have extorted more than $3 billion meant for farm workers' exit packages from commercial farmers issued with eviction notices in the past four weeks.

A Nyamandlovu farmer said: "The CFU must challenge SI 6 in the courts because it has caused chaos in the industry and we cannot pay the money being demanded by the workers now."

Another farmer said: "We must be prepared to stand up for our rights to challenge this statutory law. Something must be done as there are gray areas in SI 6."

ALB chairman, Nigel Juul, told the farmers that his board had decided they would not challenge SI 6 as it would create problems for farmers. He did not say how but said he was thankful that the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare was working flat out to curtail illegal activities caused by SI 6.

But one irate farmer shouted: "Fire the ALB if it does not want to challenge the SI 6!"

The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare's registrar, Paul Dzviti, who attended the CFU congress told farmers they should only be concerned with whether or not they were following the provisions of the law and that farmers could pay exit packages and be reimbursed later when they receive their compensation from the government.

He however castigated some farmers who he said were retrenching workers and not paying them their terminal benefits.

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What a crazy way to run a country
Chido Makunike
8/1/02 8:10:57 AM (GMT +2)
Robert Mugabe is finding out that it is one thing to allege that you won
an election and call yourself president, but quite another to rule
Mugabe has been reduced to roaming parts of the world that still
entertain him, looking for validation for his presidency, and issuing threats
virtually every time he opens his mouth.
In terms of half-hearted attempts to solve the many problems bedevilling
the country, he and his regime seem completely out of ideas. Cornered as the
regime is, it is sort of understandable that the only response they have
been able to master is childish aggressiveness. It is like saying "we
may be helpless and incompetent, but we still have the power to threaten, beat,
jail and persecute you, so there!"
A big deal was made about Mugabe's trip to Cuba, with the "success" of
that junket said to be the sending of some medical doctors from there to
Zimbabwe. Many have pointed out that rather than making Mugabe look like
a dynamic problem solver, it only showed the deficiencies of a regime that
has to go and plead for skilled personnel because it has done such a
splendid job of alienating its own trained people, who have been leaving the
country in droves to escape his disastrous rule. It apparently had not occured
to Mugabe and his propagandists that this is the connection people would
make with his pleading for help from Cuba.
Cuba has been diplomatically and economicallty isolated from much of the
world for 40 years now, but has still managed to do rather well for
itself in biotechnology and medicine. Zimbabwe, a once proseperous, well
connected country of well educated citizens that once enjoyed the world's goodwill
for most of its two decades of existence, should not be in a position of
pleading for technical skills from the likes of Cuba.
Despite Castro being a despot, he has shown vision and dynamism for his
country that Mugabe and his regime embarassingly lack.
Cuba, despite the lack of political freedom and its economic depradations,
has more to show for its brand of "revolution" than Zimbabwe does, which
continues to fall behind despite all the many things going for it. It is
a question of a lack of vision, concern, imagination and common sense on
the part of Mugabe's regime.
When Mugabe and his ministers visit countries like Cuba and Malaysia,
they would do better to try to find inspiration on how to learn to fish for
posterity, than to merely make a nuisance of themselves by begging for
fish to eat for a month or a year.
Never has there been a character like Mugabe's propagandist, Jonathan
Moyo, on Zimbabwe's political scene. Here is a man whom people acquainted with
him say is intellectually brilliant.
Why then does he talk and act in the unschooled way he does? I do not
know many people who any longer expect him to say anything to help improve
Zimbabwe's image, but even evaluated as Mugabe's personal public
relations operative, it is truly shocking how incompentent the man has turned out
to be.
Let us ignore for a minute the many Zimbabweans who have no use for
Mugabe that he alieanates every day with vitriol even worse than Mugabe's. How
do you explain the lengths to which Moyo goes to step on the toes of his
ministerial colleagues and his seniors in ZANU-PF? What has Moyo
achieved other than making himself arguably the most hated man in Zimbabwe?
There is nothing even remotely clever about the way he has conducted
himself since becoming a minister.
I had to laugh last week when Mugabe, trying to pass himself off as the
caring, concerned president for a change, attended a memorial service
for the students of the Masvingo college who died in a horrific road
accident recently. He promised that every major highway in the country would be
widened as part of efforts to make the roads safer. Yet his government
has neither the money nor the concern to pay medical doctors a living wage
commensurate with their training and responsibilities. If there is no
money for food imports, where will money to widen roads come from?
Even if road money could be begged from Libya or Malaysia, what would it
say about Mugabe, his priorities and sense of planning to plead for money to
widen roads when he is too "presidential" to roam the world raising
money for urgent, life or death crises like hunger and AIDS? I no longer have
any respect for Mugabe the man, but I would be relieved to see him get
things right once in a while.
Another comic non-event was the meeting between agriculture minister
Joseph Made and some bankers.
Made excitedly announced afterwards that the banks were now fully on
board the land reform wagon. So much so that they would now do the
unprecedented and lend billions of dollars to new farmers, accepting their leases as
collateral! "That's a brilliant concession for Made to have wrung from
the banks", I thought to myself, "I wonder how he pulled off such an unheard
of stunt?"
It turns out that the banks had agreed to no such thing. A lease to an
inexperienced, first-time farmer that can easily be overturned on the
whims of some minor ZANU-PF operative is hardly likely to make any bank worth
its salt rush to advance millions of dollars. Yet all this seems to have
by-passed Made. I was extremely dissapointed at this because my
impression had been that he was a crack technocrat hired into the Mugabe regime to
impart some brilliance, worldileness and realistic innovation, not pie
in the sky daydreaming.
"Rule of law" is one of the most bastardised expressions in Zimbabwe in
recent years. I do not know why Mugabe and ministers like Chinamasa and
Moyo bother with trying to convince us that it is important to them, when
they also openly declare that they will only respect the concept when it is
favourable and convenient to them. In this regard characters like Castro
and Gaddaffi are more honourable because they make no pretence of being law
respecting democrats.
They are quite comfortable with being the absolute dictators that they
are, while others imagine that despite their actions they can still lay claim
to a veneer of democratic legitimacy.
The first lady, who this year has loyally accompanied Mugabe to
fashionable Rome, Durban and New York, could not make it to Havana, Socialist
Republic of Cuba. I wondered why, but the mystery was solved when it was
announced that duty called her to be away from her husbands side, in Switzerland,
allegedly to attend an AIDS conference. I caught myself wondering why
somebody more professionally suited was not sent to deliberation on a
problem that is every bit as serious to Zimbabweans as Mugabe's misrule,
but I decided to lighten up. Nothing might have been achived by the first
lady in Switzerland, but hopefully with the change from her foreign currency
allocation she brought us a few bars of those delicious luxury
chocolates the Swiss are so famous for.
Such is a tragic comedy - its all hard to beat, but what a hell of a way
to run a country.
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