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

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Hunger as political tool
         Rachel L. Swarns The New York Times  Friday, December 13, 2002

Opposition says Zimbabwe denies it food

INSIZA, Zimbabwe The cornfields that once flourished here are just memories
now. The surging rivers have become sandy grazing grounds where goats feed
on withered grass.
In this village of parched earth and wilting crops, more than half of all
families need emergency food aid to survive. It is here, amid the hungry and
the vulnerable, that members of Zimbabwe's governing party stand accused of
trying to crush their political rivals by denying them food.
The militants seized sacks of cornmeal and peas from a UN distribution site
and gave them to their supporters, turning away others because they were
followers of the opposition party.
And in the days before a local election, the governing-party activists kept
bags of food in polling stations, to make their message plain: Vote against
the party of President Robert Mugabe and you will go hungry.
The United Nations suspended its operations in Insiza in October, protesting
"the misuse of its resources for political ends," and the government
promised that it would not happen again. But the culprits, though known,
have not been arrested. And, at a time when drought and land redistribution
have left nearly half of Zimbabwe's population at risk of famine, incidents
It is difficult to determine their frequency; they seem to occur much more
often in the distribution of government-bought food than international aid.
But the willingness of at least some officials to deny food to the
opposition shows how rapidly Zimbabwe has transformed itself from a
promising democracy into an authoritarian state.
Mugabe, 78, who once won praise for building one of Africa's most prosperous
and educated nations, has after 22 years seen his popularity plummet. In a
desperate bid to hold on to power, he has condoned the killings and arrests
of scores of supporters of the opposition over the past three years.
The withholding of food for political reasons might seem consistent with
such tactics. But officials say the opposition has yet to prove that these
problems are widespread. A senior official recently told Western diplomats
that "lessons had been learnt from the unfortunate incidents" in Insiza.
Despite such assurances, however, supporters of the opposition in the
capital, Harare, and in other towns say officials still demand party cards
at some government distribution sites to ensure that only Mugabe's
supporters buy grain. Here in Insiza, some frightened people say they have
already stopped supporting their party publicly, to ensure that they will
get food when distribution resumes.
Zimbabwe's catalog of recent changes under Mugabe includes curbs on
political meetings and threats against judges and journalists who challenge
the government.
White farmers have been forced to give their land to blacks as part of a
government effort to undo the legacy of British colonialism. But the farm
seizures and rights violations have discouraged foreign investment, which
has in turn worsened an inflationary economy.
Yet of all Zimbabwe's problems, it is the politicization of food that has
been ringing alarm bells in Western capitals recently, with strong
statements of concern coming from the United Nations, Europe and the United
Andrew Langa, the governing-party candidate who won the parliamentary
election here in Insiza, says he understands why political interference
happens during food distributions, although he denies using food to
manipulate the voters.
"No one should politicize aid; I'm quite clear about that," Langa said in an
interview. "I represent everybody, all the citizens of Insiza, and I know
they all need food. "But I also understand how our people feel," he said.
Speaking of the leading opposition group, the Movement for Democratic
Change, and its perceived colonialist ties, he asserted: "People see the MDC
as a British-sponsored party. They're against land reform, so people regard
them as an enemy. So if I have maize and you and one of my party supporters
come to me, who do you think I would sell to first?"
Supporters of the opposition, for their part, feel crippled by such
attitudes. "My supporters don't come to me now, because they know I have
nothing," said Mathilda Dube, a local opposition official. "They know we are
not allowed food because we are MDC."
So far, there are no signs of imminent starvation, no hollow faces or
emaciated bodies among the people lining up for food. But malnutrition
levels are rising, because many people subsist on one meal a day.
Western diplomats say that in the distribution of relief aid - as opposed to
government-bought food - incidents of political interference have been
relatively infrequent.
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Zim Independent - comment

Mugabe's Egyptian bondage needs to be reviewed
ZANU PF holds its National People's Conference in Chinhoyi this weekend
amidst very serious economic and political problems which we hope will help
temper its celebratory mood after a dubious victory in the March
presidential election.

Of particular importance is President Mugabe's statement that the party
would seek at the conference to consolidate the "gains" made in the past 12

We believe this review period should cover the entire bloody patch of
post-Independence Zimbabwe from the February 2000 constitutional referendum
up to now. The violence that has taken place during this period is without
parallel and has left the nation more divided than it has ever been since
the Gukurahundi massacres of the mid-1980s.

It might be convenient in the heat of political polemics during an election
campaign to skirt issues of human rights violations, claiming that "noone
can teach us anything because we brought human rights" along with
Independence in 1980.

President Mugabe's admission that the atrocities committed in Matabeleland
and the Midlands during Gukurahundi "were an act of madness which should not
be repeated" is a case in point. But worse things have happened on a wider
scale since February 2000 when Zanu PF lost the referendum on a new
constitution. The subsequent parliamentary election in June witnessed
unprecedented violence against anyone perceived or known to sympathise with
the opposition MDC.

Many people were tortured, harassed or killed in cold blood in violation of
the constitution which guarantees every citizen the right to belong to any
association of their choice. Government condoned or even encouraged the
setting up of illegal torture camps across the country by so-called war
veterans who became a law unto themselves. Since that ignominious election,
the pattern of systematic abuse and torture of Zimbabweans has been
relentless while Mugabe and his government have pretended otherwise.

It is our most sincere appeal to the few men and women of conscience still
left in Zanu PF that they redeem their party's soiled reputation and fight
for the restoration of our civil liberties at the so-called National People'
s Conference in Chinhoyi this weekend. Zimbabweans have been traumatised by
the brutality surrounding by-elections which have become harbingers of
violence throughout the country. They are hungry and need peace in their
search for the means of survival.

We cannot continue any longer to pretend that Mugabe is being deceived by
his spin doctors about the state of political lawlessness in the country. He
is fully aware of the Border Gezi militia and its mandate during elections.
The Zanu PF leadership individually and collectively is responsible for the
institutionalised terror that has gripped the country since 2000 which they
justify on the specious grounds that the MDC wants to return the country to
colonial rule.

Nobody seriously buys the illusion that nearly half the population are
puppets of the Tony Blair government in the United Kingdom.

If the gathering in Chinhoyi cannot solve our immediate problems of
shortages of almost all basic commodities, it can at the very least devise
better strategies of uniting the people in addressing the nation's
multifarious problems. And they must admit that such a monumental
undertaking is hard to achieve when we have consigned much of our skilled
labour to foreign cities across the globe.

The symbolic significance of Chinhoyi in the liberation of this country is a
matter of record. But we do not believe that those first shots fired against
the settler regime in 1966 were meant to confer the right to belong to only
one political party.

We do not believe that the thousands of young men and women who responded to
the call to arms to liberate their country were in any way inspired by
visions of a glorious future under a one-party state which delivers nothing
but hardship.

That is why we find it incomprehensible that people should be forced to
produce the membership card of a political party before they can receive
food bought using their tax dollars or donated by well-wishers from far off

We hope Mugabe will use this historical retreat in Chinhoyi not to bury his
head in the caves but to elicit the finest details of what is happening in
the country, what people want and how we can move forward as a united nation
in our cultural and political diversity.

Mugabe boasts that we have all been transformed into a nation of his
cronies; that the damaging land seizures that have left the countryside
around Chinhoyi desolate were the product of the ruling party's negative
view of the British.

These are shocking admissions. But it is now time to reflect on productivity
and rebuilding the economy.

It is unconscionable that so many years after the liberation war ended
Zimbabweans should be forced by circumstances of virtual servitude to
compare their predicament to the bondage of the Egyptian pharaohs as their
search for the elusive Promised Land continues.

Let's hear less in Chinhoyi about Mugabe's bitter private war with the
British which has brought nothing but isolation and national destitution and
more about what plans he might have for getting us out of this mess!
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Zim Independent

Zanu PF in campaign to export land policies
Mthulisi Mathuthu
THE ruling Zanu PF party is involved in an international campaign to sell
its controversial land acquisition programme with a view to sparking similar
seizures across the continent. This has not gone down well with the South
African authorities, the Zimbabwe Independent understands.

It emerged this week that President Robert Mugabe's party was working with
the South African opposition party, the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC),
Namibia's Swapo and local NGOs to mobilise like-minded movements across the
region ahead of a land summit scheduled for June next year.

PAC secretary-general Thami ka Plaatjie confirmed to the Independent in a
telephone interview from Pretoria this week that there was an all-out effort
to forge alliances with other landless people across the region to work out
a "pragmatic solution" to the land problem.

"From our own research there is obviously much land hunger in the region,"
he said. "So we are calling for a regional summit to discuss regional land
problems and to review the Zimbabwe exercise and avoid the pitfalls."

Plaatjie, who has repeatedly rapped the South African government for its
slow land reform programme, was in Zimbabwe a fortnight ago to consult with
NGOs and chiefs on the agrarian exercise. He said they were working with
NGOs in Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland whom he declined to name.

But Zanu PF sources have said the Inyika Trust, Ibbo Mandaza's Sapes Trust,
and the Institute for Public Policy and Research in Namibia who have called
for an international conference on the land question in that country, are
some of the NGOs supporting the project.

Other NGOs linked to the regional land reclamation drive are Africa Strategy
and Davira Mhere which recently held a conference in the United Kingdom to
market Mugabe's controversial programme.

Plaatjie said the agenda of the land summit will be discussed at the PAC's
8th Congress in Pretoria tomorrow which will be attended by Zanu PF and the
Landless People's Movement (LPM) of South Africa. He said they were
currently scouting for funding for the regional summit likely to be held in
South Africa.

A Zanu PF source told the Independent that the LPM's Thato Lesupi has been
in the country before while a representative of the Manenzhe Community in
the Limpopo province was expected soon to meet Vice-President Joseph Msika
who chairs the Land Acquisition Committee.

Both the LPM and the Manenzhe Community under Chief Takalan have been
calling for a land summit and have threatened land invasions Mugabe-style.
Zanu PF sponsors their visits to Zimbabwe, the source said.

The Independent understands that the Office of the President in Pretoria is
deeply concerned by the way in which the Zimbabwe authorities are
encouraging the landless lobby in South Africa to undertake an agenda that,
while embarrassing President Thabo Mbeki, provides Mugabe with a regional
political support network.

Officers based at the Zimbabwe High Commission in Pretoria frequently
undertake activities that in any other country would be seen as incompatible
with their diplomatic status.
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Zim Independent

Chinamasa rejects subpoenas in land-grab case
Dumisani Muleya
AS legal battles over land seizures continue, cabinet ministers have been
trying to frustrate challenges from farm owners by resisting subpoenas to
appear in court.

Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and his counterparts, Stan Mudenge of
Foreign Affairs and Environment and Tourism minister Francis Nhema, have
been refusing to give evidence in a legal wrangle over Leenfontein Ranch,
which government is trying to acquire for resettlement.

The case, which has been dragging on for sometime now, recently intensified
with sharp exchanges between Justice ministry permanent secretary David
Mangota representing government and Advocate Adrian de Bourbon acting on
behalf of Leenfontein.

Correspondence seen by the Zimbabwe Independent reveals efforts by ministers
to interfere with the court process.

Confrontation heightened on October 22 after Mangota wrote to de Bourbon
telling him Mudenge and Nhema would not be able to appear in court as
witnesses because Chinamasa had been chosen by cabinet to represent them.

"Following upon a discussion of the matter, it has been decided that
counsels for respondents who desire to call evidence from cabinet ministers
on matters which pertain to the acquisition of land by government should
subpoena the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs," Mangota

He told de Bourbon to issue a fresh set of subpoenas to Mudenge and Nhema
but the veteran lawyer was not impressed.

"I am sure that your letter under reply was not intended to convey the view
that your ministry will dictate to litigants the identity of witnesses who
can be called to give evidence in any matter before any of the courts of
Zimbabwe," de Bourbon said.

"Not only would that be arrogant, but it would be contrary to all laws of
Zimbabwe, as well as the constitutional rights of those litigants, and would
in effect amount to state interference with the process of the courts."

Mangota wrote back on October 25, saying Chinamasa was chosen to represent
colleagues in land cases because he "is thoroughly conversant with all
issues which pertain to the acquisition of land by government".

He, however, returned the subpoenas for Mudenge and Nhema and advised de
Bourbon to issue new ones directly to the ministers himself.

The same day, de Bourbon replied to Mangota's letter saying the Justice
ministry was partly to blame for Mudenge's and Nhema's failure to appear in
court. But he said he was pleased to hear Chinamasa was "thoroughly
conversant with issues which pertain to the acquisition of land by
government" since nobody else in power actually appeared to be.

After the two ministers' failure to appear in court on October 25, the case
was postponed to December 2. But only Nhema eventually appeared.

Chinamasa refused to do so. Mudenge simply did not bother.

But Mangota was on November 11 forced to retract his claim that Chinamasa
was familiar with all land cases and represented colleagues.

He said Chinamasa had "advised that he is not conversant with any factual
issues which are involved in the cases which are the subject of this
correspondence". Mangota said Chinamasa also "declines to give evidence as
your client's witnesses or any witness".

The case it still continuing.
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Zim Independent

Mudzuri inherits $250m debt
Augustine Mukaro/Godfrey Marawanyika
THE Elijah Chanakira-led commission which managed the Harare City Council
ran up a $250 million debt before leaving office in March, executive mayor
Elias Mudzuri has said.

The revelation, carried in a circular to ratepayers, comes at a time when
the Minister of Local Government and National Housing, Ignatius Chombo, is
understood to be mulling recommending the appointment of governors for
Harare and Bulawayo as watchdogs over the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change-dominated councils.

The move would further balloon the two councils' wage bills.

Chombo's plans would require legislative approval. As it is, he is only
empowered to appoint commissions.

"A minister can only appoint a committee or commission which reports to him
when there is a council in place, but as it is right now, Chombo cannot
appoint governors to oversee the operations of Harare or Bulawayo," said one
legal expert.

Some of the names being bandied around for governor of Harare include former
public relations manager Leslie Gwindi and James Chitauro who is the husband
of Zimbabwe's High Commissioner to Australia and Singapore and a former
deputy to Chanakira.

Yesterday Gwindi said he knew nothing about the proposal.

In a circular to residents dated November 5, Mudzuri revealed that the $250
million debt was mainly due to corruption which affected the undertaking of
capital finance projects.

"The previous council had plunged Harare into a debt of nearly $250 million.
Corruption, inefficiency and favouritism had allegedly become endemic.,"
Mudzuri said in the circular to ratepayers.

"Council has not been able to raise capital finance to undertake projects
for close to three years. This means capital development had to be met from
the rate account this year."

Mudzuri said central government was no longer providing funds for capital
development - both infrastructure and superstructural development - yet it
had a constitutional obligation to fund development.
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Zim Independent

Foreign currency deficit hits US$660m
Barnabas Thondlana
ZIMBABWE'S total foreign exchange requirements for the period April 2002 to
March 2003 amount to US$1,14 billion, a far cry from the expected inflows of
only US$486,4 million, a Ministry of Finance report says.

The resultant deficit of US$660 million would be reflected in critical
shortages of essential inputs and a further build up in external payment
arrears. Government was made aware of the situation in June by then Minister
of Finance, Dr Simba Makoni, in a document entitled "Memorandum on Foreign
Currency Position by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development".

"Zimbabwe's foreign currency situation remains critical, largely as a result
of poor export performance coupled with the drying up of international
balance of payments support," Makoni said. "The country has no usable
foreign exchange reserves and this has adversely affected the capacity to
procure critical imports such as drugs, fuel, electricity and raw materials.
This has been compounded by the need to import edible grain."

According to his memorandum, from January 1 to June 30 Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe inflows from gold, tobacco, 40% export proceeds, currency swaps and
other inflows amounted to US$289,8 million. Payments for the period amounted
to the same figure, US$289,8 million - mostly for grain, fuel, power,
currency swaps, water treatment chemicals, gold producers, tobacco growers,
embassies and government commitments.

"Demand for foreign exchange clearly outweighs supply," Makoni said.

The country had also failed to meet its foreign payment obligations,
resulting in the suspension of disbursements of critical project-related
loans, thus worsening the balance of payments position. By mid-June 2002,
the total external payments arrears were US$1,03 billion.

The report said operations at power utility Zesa had been seriously affected
by the acute shortage of foreign exchange to service a debt of US$33,71
million, part of which stretched back to 2000. The utility's monthly foreign
currency requirements averaged US$12 million, but the Ministry of Finance
could only allocate an average of US$5,3 million from January 2002 leaving a
shortfall of US$6,7 million as at June 30.

As a result, HCB of Mozambique, owed US$6,67, had decided to reduce
electricity supplies to Zesa effective from June 30 due to non-payment.
Eskom of South Africa, owed US$5,07 million, decided to make Zesa an
interruptible customer, "which means our supplies can be reduced at any

Air Zimbabwe had a debt of US$22,6 million due to the Export/Import Bank of
the United States which had to be paid between June and September 2002.

"In the event that Air Zimbabwe fails to pay, its aircraft will be
impounded.and result in an immediate global scramble for Zimbabwe's assets,"
Makoni said.

The report said over the years the RBZ had been borrowing foreign currency
from local banks to finance fuel, electricity, drugs and grain and other
essential requirements at the expense of the private sector.
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Zim Independent

Census omits millions
Augustine Mukaro
THE population census carried out in August left millions of people
uncounted, especially displaced commercial farm workers and the
newly-resettled farmers, it emerged this week.

Over three million people are suspected to have slipped through the 2002
census net cast between August 17/27, resulting in a serious underestimation
of the Zimbabwe population put at 11,6 million.

Demographers said millions of people could have been left out of the
enumeration because of the maps used, unqualified personnel and an
inflation-eroded budget allocated to the exercise.

"The maps used in the exercise did not take cognisance of the displacements
taking place on the commercial farms," one demographer said.

"Over 150 000 farm workers were displaced as farms were designated and that
figure is multiplied by six to include the worker and at least six of his
dependants," he said.

"This effectively means plus or minus 900 000 people were not counted from
the commercial farming area alone. Remember the figure does not include the
farmers themselves who were staying at friends' places in town and the
newly-resettled farmers in unserviced bush," he said.

Census manager Washington Mapeta conceded there were discrepancies in the
final figure but denied they would make a big difference.

"The maps we used at ward level date back to 1979," Mapeta said. "We started
upgrading the maps in 1999 to prepare for the exercise. The maps originated
from the surveyor-general as well as provincial and district offices
throughout the country," he said.

Demographers said the two-and-a-half years of map-updating took place before
the peak of farm invasions, making the whole process irrelevant since there
was massive movement of people.

Mapeta said the enumerators in all census exercises should ideally be people
who knew the life patterns of the people and the areas they were enumerating
to avoid omitting some.

"One was supposed to be employed in that area to qualify to be one of the
enumerators, which explains why the bulk of our enumerators were teachers,
nurses and Arex officers," he said.

However, population experts said in the case of displaced people or
resettled farmers, no-one knew the area because the whole process was

"We can safely say the census was a non-event because it was carried out
when the country was going through uncontrolled movements of people," one
expert said.

"If the figure of 11,6 million Zimbabweans leaked to the Herald is anything
to go by, then the census would have been a waste of resources and time
because that is far from the truth, even excluding those living out of the

Mapeta said he was not in a position to comment on the figures published by
the Herald since his superiors were handling it.

"I can't comment on the Herald story, but we will be releasing our
preliminary findings by the end of this month," he said.

Mapeta said the whole process would be completed in 2005 with analysis of
the data being the last stage.
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Daily News

Students query national service expenditure

      12/12/2002 9:17:44 AM (GMT +2)

      From Kelvin Jakachira in Mutare

      STUDENT leaders yesterday questioned the government's motive in
spending millions of dollars in the so-called national youth service
programme, and not on the needs of students in tertiary institutions.

      "The government is failing to cater adequately for students' needs at
all levels, but has money to feed the Border Gezi militia students," the
students leaders said in a petition handed to Dr Swithun Mombeshora, the
Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education.

      Mombeshora was in Mutare to officially open a three-day national
students' leadership conference.

      "As the intellectuals of the nation, we need to know what this
programme is all about and its relevance, the syllabus and the effects it
has on those who would have decided not to enrol for it," the students said.

      The petition was signed by student leaders from the University of
Zimbabwe, Midlands State University, Masvingo University College, Bindura
University of Science Education, Seke Teachers' College, Belvedere Teachers'
College and Chinhoyi Teachers' College.

      "The students are viewing this programme with a lot of suspicion and
feel it is being used to brainwash and indoctrinate students," the students

      Mombeshora declined to commit himself on the petition. He told the
students attending the conference that the officials responsible for the
programme would clarify the matter to them.

      An official from the Ministry of Youth Development, Gender and
Employment Creation was yesterday scheduled to address the students.
      Youths from the Border Gezi youth training centre in Mt Darwin have
been accused of beating up people suspected to be members of the MDC.
      "We are very sorry and concerned with what happened to recent graduate
nursing students whose certificates and transcripts were withheld, till they
complete national service," the student leaders said. "It is at least better
to introduce this programme as a module, which is optional, and not to make
it compulsory, assuming there is a need to introduce it at all."

      The student leaders complained that government security agents were
victimising students. They said the siting of police posts at academic
institutions was aimed at instilling fear among the students.
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Letter 2: J.L.Robinson (11th December 2002)

The President,

Dear Sir,
Over thirty years ago C. Northcote Parkinson wrote about `The Law of
delay.' I am asking if you have encountered Mr. Parkinson's works and
ideas, and will quote the little bit which I think might interest you and
your Learned Council.

`There is nothing static in our changing world and recent research has
tended to show that the Abominable No-man is being replaced by the
Prohibitive Procrastinator. Instead of saying "No" the Prohibitive
Procrastinator says "In due course," foreshadowing Negation by Delay. The
theory of Negation by Delay depends upon establishing a rough idea of what
amount of delay will equal negation. If we suppose that a drowning man
calls for help, evoking the reply "In due course," a judicious pause of
five minutes may constitute for all practical purposes, a negative
response. Why? Because the delay is greater than the non-swimmer's
expectation of life. The same principle holds good in a case at law. Delays
are thus deliberately designed as a form of denial and are extended to
cover the life expectation of the person whose proposal is being
pigeon-holed. Where the urgent matter requires remedial legislation, delay
takes on a new dimension. The judicious pause will correspond,
nevertheless, to the life expectation of the man from whom the proposal

The problem that many evicted farmers are faced with is that they are not
sure how many "Abominable No-men" or "Prohibitive Procrastinators" sit on
your Council. I believe that Mr. Parkinson touched on the core when he
wrote "requires remedial legislation."

Sometime in the future, the farmers will find out the truth. Sometime in
the future a large number of ordinary people will also find out the truth.
Sometime in the future we will see if it is true that over six million
people face starvation (or do not?) in Zimbabwe. Sometime in the future,
there is a chance that some people will ask if the CFU President and
Council were in fact "Prohibitive Procrastinators" - in the classical sense
mind you - when six million starving people `called for help.' (never mind
the farmers when they called for help!)

For the farmers the `judicious pause' has been about thirty four months, I
For the starving people, the `judicious pause' has been long enough for
some to die, I believe.

Mr. President, Sir, please give a little thought to Mr. Parkinson's words.
He seems to have quantified the immense power of "Procrastination" and a
"Judicious Pause." It would be most unfortunate to have these three words
associated with the CFU, or Council, or yourself - if people die of
starvation in Zimbabwe, this year, and "Prohibitive Procrastinators" become

                                        Yours faithfully,
                                               J. L. Robinson

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Daily News

      Trade unionists released without charge

      12/12/2002 9:11:17 AM (GMT +2)

      By Columbus Mavhunga Court Reporter

      WELLINGTON Chibhebhe, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)
secretary-general and eight other union leaders, who were arrested by the
police on Monday while attending a labour meeting, were yesterday released
by the police without being charged.

      Their lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, said the State wanted them charged
under Section 5 of the draconian Public Order and Security Act (POSA).

      "The State's facts were not in order. It will follow them by way of
summons, should it find anything that is worth charging, but it said they
will be charged under section five of POSA," Muchadehama said.

      Section five of POSA, among other things, says it is a crime to
organise or to suggest the organisation or setting-up of any group with a
view to overthrow or attempt to overthrow the government by unconstitutional

      If found guilty the offender is liable to imprisonment for a maximum
sentence of 20 years without the option of a fine.

      The ZCTU meeting was held on the eve of a failed national stayaway
called by the National Constitutional Assembly. Chibhebhe and his colleagues
came to the Rotten Row Magistrates' Courts around 4pm in an open truck when
the sky was showing that it would rain at any minute. They were ordered to
remain in the vehicle. After about half an hour they were told to alight and
go home.

      Chibhebhe complained of the conditions they were subjected to while in
police custody."The cells were filthy and we were literally living in human
waste. We were not given blankets and mosquitoes feasted on us," Chibhebhe

      He was detained at the notorious Matapi Police Station in Mbare. The
unionists were transferred to Harare Central Police Station yesterday before
appearing in court in the afternoon.

      On Tuesday, Lovemore Matombo, the ZCTU president, reacted angrily to
the arrest of the unionists.He said they were attending a legitimate
workshop on strategic planning at Adelaide Acres near Boka Tobacco Auction
Floors along the Masvingo-Harare highway when they were arrested.
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Daily News

      Cotton wool runs out in Mutare

      12/12/2002 9:09:49 AM (GMT +2)

      By Paidamoyo Chipunza

      THE introduction of price controls has led to a critical shortage of
cotton wool in Mutare. The wool is used by most women, as an alternative to
sanitary pads.

      Sanitary pads are expensive and beyond the reach of most women, the
majority of whom are hard-pressed for cash in the deteriorating economic

      Craig Hodgson, the managing director of Innsco Distribution, a
Harare-based company that markets healthcare products - including cotton
wool and sanitary pads - attributed the prevailing shortages to both price
controls and a ravaging drought. Hodgson said poor cotton yields caused by
the drought have led to reduced production of cotton-related products.

      He said: "We are entitled to sell 100 grams of cotton wool at $29,72,
yet that is the price we pay when we purchase cotton from our suppliers -
which is impossible for us to run a business."

      Currently, 100 grams of cotton wool costs about $250 on the parallel

      Hodgson said: "For the last seven months, we were not selling anything
and we have lost millions of dollars during that period."

      He said while the reason the government introduced price controls,
initially in February this year and expanded the products' list in November,
was an attempt to control inflation, the end result had been an escalation
in the rate of business failures - a majority of which cannot continue to
operate unviably.

      On 15 November, through Statutory Instrument 301 of 2002, the
government expanded the list of products and the duration of the price
controls regime by six months.

      The statutory instrument reads: "With effect from the fixed date
(Friday 15 November 2002) and for a period of six months thereafter no
person shall provide any service related to the distribution, disposal,
purchase and sale of goods generally at a charge exclusive of sales tax
which exceeds the charge at which he provided at a service or a similar

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Daily News

      Forex dealers outwit police

      12/12/2002 9:08:46 AM (GMT +2)

      From Ntungamili Nkomo in Bulawayo

      THE government's crackdown on Bulawayo's illegal foreign currency
dealers has hit a snag, as the Vapostori women have abandoned the streets to
operate from their houses and offices in the city centre.

      The women, the major players in the business, were easily identified
by their long, white robes. They are no longer seen on the streets where
they conducted their business before the government ordered an end to
foreign currency agencies on 30 November.

      The women vowed then that the police would never stop their
operations, and that their business would still flourish despite repeated
arrests and harassment by Zanu PF youths.

      Sibekiwe Ndebele, one of the foreign currency dealers, said defiantly
this week: "Police have long been on the warpath against us, but they must
surely admit we're cleverer than they are.

      "The only thing they have succeeded in doing is to drive us
underground. Most of us are now operating from our houses while some liaise
with shop owners in town to do their business safely."

      She said most of the women no longer wore their usual long, white
dresses. She said shop owners were paid a fee by those they offered rooms in
which to do their business.

      Another dealer, identifying herself only as Rukweza, said business was
still booming as they received more clients from South Africa and Botswana.
"There is more business these days because people are coming home for
Christmas, especially those working in South Africa and Botswana. Now that
the police do not want to see us on the streets, we now operate safely from
our houses, and our clients are fully aware of that development," she said.
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      Fuel shortage worsens

      12/12/2002 9:06:26 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporters

      The fuel situation worsened in most parts of the country yesterday as
the long queues of vehicles which began on Monday could be seen at the few
service stations that had petrol in Harare and other cities and towns.

      Thousands of motorists spent the greater part of yesterday in the
queues, with some saying they had spent the night parked at service stations
after being promised petrol by the suppliers.

      "I spent the whole night parked here," said Merlba Snell, of
Waterfalls.She said she had gone without petrol for three full days and
decided to spend the night at the service station after learning that there
would be deliveries yesterday.

      Kudzai Chisongo, who runs a fleet of commuter omnibuses in Warren
Park, said he lost a lot of business yesterday because of the fuel crisis.
      "We can't go on like this. This is a crisis and our government appears
to be taking it easy. Something should be done. The government is to blame,"
he said.

      Most service stations had run out of petrol with only a few offering
diesel.The pattern was the same in Bulawayo, Mutare and Masvingo.

      Reports from the Midlands say only one service station, Mobil Mart,
had fuel in Kwekwe yesterday and hundreds of motorists queued for it the
whole day.

      There has been no petrol in Mvuma and Gweru since Sunday and this has
greatly affected business.The National Oil Company of Zimbabwe, Noczim and
Amos Midzi, the Minister of Energy and Power Development have made no
statements on the crisis, while motorists and commuters are worried that
they might spend a dry festive season.Meanwhile, a Harare motorist yesterday
survived what could have been a fuel-related death when a long distance
truck rammed into the left side of his vehicle in a fuel queue along Samora
Machel Avenue.

      Hundreds of motorists spent most of the day blocking part of Samora

      A woman constable, who only identified herself as Constable Jura,
confirmed the accident. Joseph Kanguwo, the truck driver with Freightliner
Transport of Ruwa, said the accident occurred when he tried to avoid a car
in a fuel queue at the corner of Samora Machel Avenue and Julius Nyerere

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Chingwena determined to turn round Air Zim

      12/12/2002 9:22:49 AM (GMT +2)

      By Precious Shumba

      AIR Zimbabwe's recently appointed managing director, Rambai Chingwena,
has set himself very high targets - a money-spinning national airline within
the next six months.

      Chingwena said he wanted to ensure that Air Zimbabwe became one of the
elite African airlines which maintained regional routes and well-equipped
maintenance bases.

      He said despite criticism that they had been sending their planes to
South Africa for routine A, B and C checks, it was common practice in the
airline business to service aeroplanes at the best air bases.

      "The 15 engineers we hired from South African Technical are some of
the best in the world," Chingwena said. "We will continue to send our planes
to South Africa for maintenance because they have everything that we don't
have. They possess Joint Aviation Regulations 145, the highest international
standard that can be achieved by any maintenance base under the sun."

      He said the South African engineers had the advantage of possessing
Federal Aviation Airways qualification, an American qualification that is
unmatched anywhere in the world.

      Chingwena said the standards of servicing their planes would be much
improved within the next six months once their capacity-building exercise
      had been completed.

      He said they were training 80 of their new engineers to match the
South Africans. He said they had a training school that produced hundreds of
engineers for the airline, including the 139 engineers who went on strike,
before 89 of them were eventually dismissed.

      "We have a serious programme of equipping our engineers with
international qualifications," he said. "The engineers will be fully geared
to carry out A and B checks. Afterwards, we will depend less and less on the
South Africans."

      An "A" check is undertaken after a plane has flown for about 200 hours

and a "B" check is carried out after flying for about 400 hours. During a "C
'"check, a major check, a plane is stripped and serviced after about 6 000
flying hours.

      Chingwena, born on 30 November 1960 at Nyadire Hospital in Mutoko,
said he believed in success and would not accept any failure. Chingwena was
born to Boniface Batanai and Mary Chinhamo, both career teachers.

      "I just believe in being forthright, hard work and treating people
fairly," he said. "I am very dependent on my extended family."He is married
to Florence Tafadzwa and has two children. His hobbies include reading and

      He started his primary schooling at Manhemba School and completed his
Grade 7 at Chitimbe School in 1973, before enrolling for his secondary
school at Hartzell High School in Mutare, which he attended between 1974 to

      He said: "Because of the war, l could not complete my Advanced Levels
at Hartzell and did not want to be conscripted into the Rhodesian Army. I
was given a scholarship to complete my Advanced Levels at Park Lane College
in the United Kingdom before l returned to undertake law studies at the
University of Zimbabwe from 1982 to 1985."

      Soon after completing his law studies in 1985, Chingwena worked with a
Harare law firm as a legal practitioner until 1988, when he became the
senior legal officer (industrial relations) at the Posts and
Telecommunications Corporation for one year.

      In 1986, he was admitted as a legal practitioner in the High Court. He
is a member of the Law Society of Zimbabwe .

      Afterwards, he became the corporate secretary and legal adviser at the
Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe for seven years.
      Since June 1996 he has been the general counsel and corporate
secretary for Air Zimbabwe, until his recent appointment.

      Chingwena acted as the chief executive of the national airline between
February 1999 and June 1999, and again between November 2000 and September
2002 before his appointment as the managing director of the airline on 1
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Daily News

Chaibva apologises for absence from parliament

      12/12/2002 9:18:55 AM (GMT +2)

      Municipal Reporter

      GABRIEL Chaibva, the MDC's shadow MP for Local Government, Public
Works and National Housing, yesterday apologised to the nation and to his
colleagues in the opposition party for being absent from Parliament when he
was expected to move a motion on the water crisis in the Greater Harare

      Chaibva (Harare South) was outside the House after moving notice to
debate on adjournment on a matter of urgency, the water problem.

      Chaibva said in an interview yesterday: "It was a grave error on my
part. I shoulder the blame. It was such an important motion that I should
never have left Parliament, even to go to the toilet.

      "As a leader, I have learnt to accept both victories and setbacks and
this was one of the setbacks. Yesterday (on Tuesday), the devil was with the
Zanu PF government and they were very, very lucky that I failed to move the

      He regretted that he failed to move the motion after convincing his
fellow MPs in the MDC, without even calling for a caucus of the party's MPs.
      Edna Madzongwe, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, on Tuesday called on
MPs to take the business of the House seriously and justify their election,
after Chaibva failed to turn up to move his motion in the House.

      Chaibva was supposed to have called on the government to make
available foreign currency for the upgrading of the city's water treatment
plant and the procurement of water purification chemicals, as well as to
stop the political bickering over the water crisis.

      Chaibva said the reason for the water supply problem in Harare was the
lack of foreign currency to import the vital chemicals, as the country was
bankrupt due to bad governance.

      Harare Executive Mayor Elias Mudzuri has already applied for the
equivalent of $757 829 520 at the official exchange rate in foreign currency
from Dr Leonard Tsumba, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, for
the council to buy the chemicals for next year, he said.

      "May I also take this opportunity to advise you of the city's foreign
currency requirements for the year 2003," reads Mudzuri's letter to Tsumba,
dated 15 November 2002.

      "I hope this will enable you to plan ahead to ensure that adequate
stock levels are maintained for all essential chemicals."
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Daily News

 Mugabe prepares for ZANU PF Conference

      12/12/2002 9:16:36 AM (GMT +2)

      By Pedzisai Ruhanya Chief Reporter

      PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday addressed Zanu PF's politburo and central
committee, the party's highest organs, ahead of its Sixth People's
Conference to be officially opened tomorrow at Chinhoyi State University.

      The ruling party's annual conference comes at a time when the country
is facing serious shortages of fuel and almost all basic commodities
including the staple maize-meal.

      The politburo and central committee meetings which took place
yesterday morning and afternoon respectively and were addressed by Mugabe
were meant to discuss the agenda of the conference and also to try to find a
solution to the rapidly declining economy.Philip Chiyangwa, the chairman of
Mashonaland West province which is hosting the conference, said 3 000
delegates from Zanu PF's 10 provinces would be attending it.

      Chiyangwa said: "So far things are going well." He said that the
conference would discuss the state of the economy, the land reform
programme, the shortage of basic food commodities, and try to work out
solutions to these issues.

      Zimbabwe is facing one of its worst economic crises ever, with the
official inflation rate at 144,2 percent. Economic analysts put it at 300
percent and project that the inflation rate will rise further next year.

      Attempts by the government to control the prices of basic commodities
such as cooking oil, mealie-meal and bread have failed because the items are
scarce and when they are available, they are very expensive.

      Where maize-meal has been made available, Zanu PF has not been ashamed
to deny its political opponents access to it on the basis that they did not
have Zanu PF membership cards.

      There have also been accusations that in some parts of Masvingo, Zanu
PF supporters were allegedly forcing civil servants to contribute money for
its conference in Chinhoyi.

      The controversial fast-track land reform programme has not helped the
situation either, as nearly seven million people are facing severe food
shortages due to drought and the topical land programme.Dr Nathan
Shamuyarira, the Zanu PF spokesperson, said that the issue of Mugabe's
retirement would not come up for discussion because he was elected to lead
the party until its next congress in 2005.The Zanu PF congress, which takes
place every five years, was last held in December 2000. Mugabe and his
leadership were elected by the delegates to lead Zanu PF for the next five
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Daily News

  Hunger fuels marriages

      12/12/2002 9:14:58 AM (GMT +2)

      From Brian Mangwende in Chipinge

      HUNGER and starvation are driving Zimbabweans into marriages of
convenience with refugees at Tongogara refugee camp in Chipinge.

      David Mlambo, the camp's administrator, confirmed this week that
several women from the surrounding villages had married refugees in order to
benefit from the food guaranteed for the exiles.

      Mlambo said: "Once they are married and are accommodated at the camp,
there is very little we can do. We can't stop them from receiving the food
relief. It's just impossible. Some refugees have gone to the extent of
paying lobola for the Zimbabwean brides they bring to live with them at the
camp. My hands are tied."

      A woman, who refused to be identified, said she married a refugee
after she learnt there were monthly deliveries of food at the camp.

      Asked whether she loved the man, she said: "Well, I have no choice but
to love him. If I do not show him love, he will simply kick me out of here
and I'll starve. Nobody wants to die of hunger, but the situation is so bad
that it's now a game of survival."

      About 800 000 people in Manicaland face hunger, starvation and
possible death amid reports that food relief is not reaching the needy,
because it is being distributed among millers, Grain Marketing Board
officials, so-called war veterans, youths from the Border Gezi training
programme and politicians, who sell it on the black market above the
government-regulated price.

      Oppah Muchinguri, the Governor of Manicaland Province, last week
attacked police officers she alleged were involved in shady deals over

      Tongogara is home to at least 800 displaced people from countries such
as Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and

      Through World Vision, a non-governmental organisation, refugees
receive salt, sugar, cooking oil, maize-meal and bath and washing soap
monthly - all commodities in short supply in the country. But the refugees
have complained the rations are not enough.

      "We need bread," said Aloysie Ingabire of Rwanda. "Bread is a luxury
here. There is no meat so we have to rely on those who go into the villages
to buy beasts and later sell the beef to us. We do not even know whether the
beef is suitable for human consumption."

      Women with babies strapped to their backs were loitering around the
camp when The Daily News crew visited Tongogara refugee camp this week.
      Of every four people interviewed, one turned out to be Zimbabwean.
Some said they lived in the camp with their relatives, while others said
they were married to the refugees.

      Meanwhile, the refugees celebrated a belated World Aids Day and 23 of
them volunteered to be tested for HIV/Aids.

      The tests were conducted by officials from the New Start Centre in
Mutare. At least 400 people attended the celebrations.

      Traditional dancers thrilled the enthusiastic crowd. Children held
placards written "Think before you act, Aids kills" and "Stop pointing
fingers, Aids is like any other disease".
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      MDC attacks Zanu PF

      12/13/2002 8:51:42 AM (GMT +2)

      From Ntungamili Nkomo in Bulawayo

      THE MDC has strongly condemned Zanu PF for harassing its mayors and
meddling in the MDC-led municipal councils' affairs.

      The party described the harassment as a "desperate and deliberate ploy
to frustrate the smooth operations" of the councils led by the MDC.

      In an interview on Wednesday, Paul Themba Nyathi, the MDC spokesman,
said Zanu PF had been on the warpath against "democratically elected MDC
mayors to hinder them from efficiently delivering services so that the
people would conclude that those mayors are failures and then pass a vote of
no confidence in them".

      The MDC, which has a strong base in urban areas, has mayors heading
councils in Bulawayo, Harare, Chegutu, Masvingo and Chitungwiza.

      Most MDC-led councils have been on a collision course with Zanu PF top
officials, with the mayor of Harare, Elias Mudzuri, constantly clashing with
Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National
Housing over council issues.

      The MDC has accused Zanu PF of plotting to oust Mudzuri and Francis
Dhlakama, the mayor of Chegutu, and has called on Chombo to stop interfering
in Harare's City Council operations.

      "The pattern is the same; Zanu PF has launched a desperate and
deliberate strategy to thwart all MDC mayors from operating conveniently so
that it would appear as if they are failing to run their councils, and then
lose popularity with the people," said Nyathi.

      He urged the public to show solidarity with the MDC, to remain patient
and support their mayors to resist the domination and interference of Zanu
PF in council proceedings.

      He said: "People have to condemn Zanu PF hypocrisy, and help the MDC
mayors to fight the battles they are currently embroiled in against Zanu

      "They should be patient and give the mayors a chance to do the best
they can."

      Nyathi described the situation in Harare as "sad" and said that
      people's lives were compromised by politicians who wanted to bring
Mudzuri into disrepute.

      Since last week, a health hazard has loomed in Harare as there has
been an acute shortage of clean water. The crisis has reportedly been caused
by lack of water treatment chemicals, and the MDC says the shortage is a
"deliberate conspiracy" by Zanu PF and the chemical manufacturing companies
to turn the city residents against the MDC-dominated council.

      "The situation in Harare is very sad, and It is a pity that we have
      become so compassionless and partisan that people's lives can be
compromised in such a manner," said Nyathi.

      He condemned the vicious attack on the Chegutu mayor, Francis
Dhlakama, on 29 November by a mob of Zanu PF youths who held him hostage for

      Meanwhile, the MDC lashed out at the orders by the government for the
mayors to report to district administrators (DAs).

      Nyathi said: "The decision is the most offensive development that Zanu
PF has brought about, and it is contemptuous of the people. It is a clear
indication that the ruling party holds the people in such contempt it has
decided to impose unelected people over duly elected ones.

      "In fact, DAs are juniors to mayors, and what Zanu PF has done is an
insult to the people."
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      Madlela urges public to confront ZANU PF

      12/13/2002 9:07:02 AM (GMT +2)

      From Oscar Nkala in Bulawayo

      THE Zapu president, Agrippa Madlela, has called on the people of
Matabeleland to continue fighting Zanu PF and not individuals, as debate on
the marginalisation of the region continues.

      The debate on the alleged deliberate marginalisation of Matabeleland
by Zanu PF has been re-ignited by a document, purportedly written by Zanu
PF, to review its alleged Grand Plan of 1979 which sought to deliberately
sideline Matabeleland in economic development and education.

      In an interview in Bulawayo this week, Madlela said as people discuss
the document, they should be careful not to blame it on everyone who speaks
Shona but interpret it as a Zanu PF scheme.

      Madlela said: "As we talk about this document, which sounds authentic
to me as I can see most of the things listed happening every day, people
should gear themselves to deal with the system of governance which Zanu PF
has visited on the region since 1980. They should target the system.

      "We have always said that the only way to solve this problem is by a
system of federal governance. That is the only way to get rid of such
problems which really constitute a threat to national security and

      He said federalism was not a new idea, as it had been tested in South
Africa and other countries with diverse ethnic groups and histories.
      "Federalism is the only solution. Anyone who dreams of holding
together a country where one group is being milked of its resources by
another would be fooling themselves.

      "In that case, Zanu PF should just swallow its pride and give
Matabeleland autonomy."Madlela said he viewed Matabeleland as a territory
colonised by Zanu PF. "Colonialism takes away a people's right to control
and benefit from their resources. In Matabeleland, we of Zapu will continue
to advocate federalism. People have this problem of viewing anyone who talks
about equitable distribution of resources as a secessionist, but I think it
only demonstrates how shallow-minded our leaders are. "Can you say South
Africa and Nigeria are tribalistic states because they have federal
governments?" he asked.

      Madlela accused Zanu PF of behaving like a colonial power by
plundering the resources and killing the identity of Matabeleland. "Zanu PF
colonialism in Matabeleland is as evil as the British colonialism from which
we fought to liberate this country. But we did not liberate it to deliver
Matabeleland into subjugation by Zanu PF.

      "Whether people like to hear it or not, the truth is that Matabeleland
is not different from the occupied territories of Palestine. Instead of
asking who wrote the document or debating the authenticity of its content,
we should look at what is happening on the ground and find ways of
correcting it in as peaceful a manner as we can.

      "We do not want this country to end up in strife as is happening in
Palestine, but if we do not act now, history will be there to judge us
correctly as failures, people who cite -isms, as reasons for failing to
confront our own reality," he said.

      On the arrest of Paul Siwela and George Mkhwananzi for allegedly
calling on the people of Matabeleland to take up spears and fight Zanu PF
hegemony, Madlela said he could not comment as he was not privy to what
Siwela had said.

      "I don't know what Siwela said, but I'm surprised that Zanu PF can
arrest somebody who was hobnobbing and toyi-toyiing with them only a few
months ago."

      "Both Siwela and Mkhwananzi have not hidden their sympathy for Zanu PF
and their hatred for the MDC. I feel the party is using its own cadres to
scare people into silence. I do not think the two have suddenly realised
that they were supping with the very devil they are supposed to fight,"
Madlela said.
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      Madhuku admits failure of stayaway

      12/13/2002 8:43:07 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) yesterday admitted that it
had failed to properly organise Tuesday's stayaway to protest against
worsening economic hardships.

      Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA national chairman, said the stayaway failed
because there was lack of substantive consultations among the major

      The abortive mass protest action was backed by the MDC, the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the Zimbabwe National Students' Union.

      Madhuku said: "It is true that we failed. The truth, though, is that
we succeeded in raising people's hopes for change. It is hoped that these
demonstrations will gain momentum."

      But he said the failed mass action had exposed the government's fear
of a mass uprising by citizens tired of repression and abuse of their

      Madhuku said the government panicked and deployed its repressive
machinery in anticipation of the planned stayaway.

      "The panic by the State is what we really desired," he said. "We want
the public to see that the State is no longer confident with its rule.
Zimbabweans saw for themselves that zizi harina nyanga (the government is
not as fearsome as it projects itself to be). That was a political victory
for us."

      He said next year they would engage in confrontational and more
organised demonstrations.

      Madhuku said it was ironic for the government to dismiss the protest
action as having been a failure when it had arrested senior trade unionists,
and continued to arrest NCA officials countrywide.

      Wellington Chibhebhe, the secretary-general of the ZCTU, and eight
other union leaders were on Monday arrested while attending a labour meeting
in Harare.

      In Masvingo, Felix Mafa, the NCA provincial chairman, and another
official were arrested for allegedly organising the stayaway.
      But they were all released without being charged.

      "Our objective is to expose the government for what it is to the
public - a panicking regime, afraid of its people," he said. "In so doing
that will only increase Zimbabweans' determination to rid themselves of this
illegitimate regime that thrives on force to rule."

      The NCA is a coalition of civic organisations, churches, labour
unions, political parties and individuals pushing for a democratic
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