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'Gukurahundi--Zimbabweans ready to testify against perpetrators'


      From Themba Nkosi in Bulawayo
      15 December, 2005

      Human rights activists and genocide survivors around the world have
hailed the continued arrest of war criminals who had been in hiding in other
countries. The net is also closing in on other war criminals such as army
generals and politicians who gave orders for the massacres in the former
Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Liberia just to mention a few.

      The killers and those who gave the orders for the massacres of
innocent people are discovering that the world is too small for them to hide
forever. Thanks to the international police organisation, Interpol, which
has been helping the International Criminal Court at the Hague in the
Netherlands to bring the war criminals to justice.

      The latest arrest by Interpol involved one of the most notorious war
criminals, General Onte Gotonica of Croatia. Gotoniva was arrested while
having dinner at a restaurant in Spain last week. Here at home in Zimbabwe,
thousands of survivors of the massacres in Matabeleland and the Midlands
provinces are still waiting for justice.

      The families and relatives of those who perished during Robert Mugabe's
own ethnic cleansing in Matabeleland have called for the arrest of the 5th
Brigade commanders and ruling Zanu (PF) political leaders who gave the
orders for the slaughter of more than 20 000 ZAPU supporters.

      The massacres took place between 1983 and 1985 in the Zapu strongholds
of Matabeleland and Midlands. Zapu, led by the late Joshua Nkomo, was the
official opposition in the 80s. SW Radio Africa spoke to some former members
of the killer brigade after giving them assurances that they would not be

      During separate interviews recently, the former soldiers told SWRADIO
that the killing of Zapu supporters was political and had nothing to do with
villagers supporting dissident guerrillas and former Zipra cadres. They said
they would be willing to give evidence before a commission of inquiry if
given security assurances.

      'The killings still haunt me. Others died after suffering from
mysterious diseases related to witchcraft', said one of the former Five
Brigade members. He is now running his own business in Bulawayo. His
neighbours where he lives at Emakhandeni don't know he was a member of the
killer brigade.

      'The day people find out I was in the Five Brigade, they will kill me',
said the former soldier who wanted us to call him Francis. According to
Francis, the killings of the villagers in Matabeleland were ordered by
senior government officials, ruling party leaders and army commanders. They
also planned the operations with the help of the state security committee,
which was allegedly chaired by the late Ernest Kadungure.

      The day the decision was made to deploy the 5th Brigade, there were
serious disagreements over the strategy. According to another former
soldier, the operation against Zapu was planned in Mozambique just before
independence. The Zanu (PF) leaders code-named it operation Iron Fist and
its intention was to crush Zapu once and for all and pacify Matabeleland

      SWRADIOAFRICA also spoke to Gideon, now based In Masvingo. He is
currently a security consultant with a security firm. During an interview at
his house he says that he regrets having been a member of the 5th Brigade.

      'When some of us were drafted into the Five Brigade, we were not told
the truth about what we were going to do', said Gideon. He is now 47 and is
married with three children. Gideon is now a born again Christian and said
that after he gave his life to God, he returned to Matabeleland where he
operated, and adopted two children who were orphaned after their parents
were shot dead by the brigade in Tsholotsho's Phelindaba village.

      'I decided to adopt these two kids to show the world that I regret
what I did in Matabeleland. I killed innocent people who had nothing to do
with dissidents, said Gideon. At Phelindaba village, his battalion
slaughtered 23 villagers some of whom were put in one hut and executed.

      The Roman Catholic Church documented some of the killings in that
      'I really regret what I did as a member of the brigade but as soldiers
we were following orders', said Gideon. He said he paid the school fees for
the two children he adopted in Tsholotsho four years ago.

      'I know many children in Matabeleland are disadvantaged and I would
like to help if I can', adds Gideon. He asked that we go go and see his
church pastor. The pastor said that Gideon had confessed to him the killings
of innocent people in Matabeleland. 'God has forgiven him', says the Pastor
who asked not to be named for fear of getting into trouble with security

      The relatives of the two children adopted by Gideon in Tsholotsho also
asked us not to identify them. Fear still rules among the people in
Zimbabwe. In the late 90s, former Defence minister Enos Nkala told a meeting
organised by Imbovane pressure group in Bulawayo that he would be prepared
to give evidence before a commission of inquiry about the Matabeleland

      Nkala confirmed what a former member of the brigade said about those
who ordered the massacres. According to Nkala, the killings were ordered by
the security committee which involved people like Emmerson Mnangagwa,
Perrence Shiri, Mugabe, Kadungure and top army commanders.

      Nkala denies he was involved in the Five Brigade operations although
in the eyes of the people in Matabeleland, he stands accused of having a
hand in the slaughter of civilians. When he was minister of Home Affairs,
Nkala told Zimbabweans that he would finish Zapu within a few weeks.

      That never happened and Mugabe removed him and gave him the Ministry
of Defence where he again threatened to wipe out Mozambican Renamo rebels
who were fighting Zimbabwean troops in that country in the '80s.

      The Matabeleland victims say they are being denied justice by the
government, which has protected the killers. In 1986, the police arrested
six members of the Five Brigade for the murder of army officer Eddius Ndlovu
at a road block in Lupane in 1983. Ndlovu was a former Zipra army officer
and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant after independence.

      He was stopped at a roadblock by the brigade soldiers and asked to
identify himself, which he did. However the soldiers went on to shoot him
despite the fact that he was wearing an army uniform. The soldiers who
killed him were arrested, tried in Bulawayo High Court and sentenced to
death. A few months later, they were pardoned by Mugabe.

      Ndlovu's relatives are still waiting for justice.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Poisonous Zimbabwean peanut butter spreads across the UK

      By Lance Guma
      15 December 2005

      A national food alert has been triggered in the United Kingdom after
an Environmental Health worker in Luton discovered poisonous peanut butter
in shops that sell mainly Zimbabwean products. A major investigation has
been launched after several batches containing jars of Willard's smooth
peanut butter on sale in Luton were found to contain high levels of
aflatoxin, which causes cancer in animals and is poisonous to humans.

      This has sparked a nationwide withdrawal of the product from shops all
over the UK. Several quantities of the peanut butter, which arrived via
Gatwick Airport from Zimbabwe, have been discovered in Zimbabwean owned
shops in the Luton area. Routine food tests at the airport alerted
authorities who then tracked down the destinations for the product. Health
workers have so far destroyed all the contaminated products.

      The incident has created Luton town's first ever national food hazard
warning and concern is growing over how big the problem really is in terms
of the whole UK. Hittess Vhagela the health worker who made the discovery
says over 100 jars have so far been identified in just one shop and its
warehouse. He told Luton Today Newspaper, "The retailer not only sells
direct to the public but is also a distributor to other shops across the
country. They quickly agreed to stop selling the affected batches and put up
a notice asking customers to return contaminated products for a full refund'.

      Zambezi Foods have since alerted businesses that received the supplies
and arranged for them to also issue a warning to their customers. Zambezi
Foods owner Marvin Muchando said: "This is the first time we have had a
problem since the business started four years ago. We began importing this
peanut butter a few months ago and one batch was recently found to be
contaminated during a routine check.'

      Principal Environmental Health Officer Alison Parker told Newsreel
that aflatoxins in food products do not normally cause serious illness in
humans but all the same remained poisonous. She commended Zambezi Foods for
their level of co-operation as this had helped contain the problem. A
spokesman for Zambezi Foods told Newsreel the number of products had been
slightly exaggerated in the media and was not as high as reported. He
assured their customers the peanut butter had been withdrawn and would not
pose a health hazard.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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A passport is not a gagging instrument

Mail and Guardian

      Trevor Ncube: COMMENT

      15 December 2005 11:05

            When I woke up in Johannesburg last Thursday morning, I was
surprised to discover that the Australian government had included my name on
a list of more than 120 Zimbabweans barred from doing business with that
country's Reserve Bank for allegedly aiding and abetting President Robert
Mugabe's government.

            By the time I boarded the plane heading for my brother's wedding
in Bulawayo, the Australians had already called to apologise for the error
and I promptly put the matter behind me. Being included on the Australian
list never bothered me for a moment. My sense was that it is the prerogative
of the Australians to decide who is allowed to visit their country and who
is not.

            On arrival at Bulawayo airport on Thursday afternoon I
discovered that I was on another list -- this one comprising 17 Zimbabweans
whose passports had been invalidated and were due to be withdrawn. I was to
learn the following day that the instruction to withdraw and invalidate my
passport was made by Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede in a letter dated
November 24 addressed to Chief Immigration Officer Elasto Mugwadi. Mugwadi
sent out a circular four days later to all ports of entry.

            Being on two lists of undesirables in one day is quite an
experience! While the Australians at least apologised for their faux pas, I
still have not received an explanation from the Zimbabwean authorities.
Meanwhile, my lawyers have lodged an urgent application at the Harare High
Court challenging the illegal seizure of my passport on several grounds.
These include that the action is unlawful, a violation of the rules of
natural justice, and lacks procedural fairness.

            The confiscation of the passport is also grossly unreasonable
and irrational. Assuming the impounding of the passport is based on things I
have written or said on what is happening in Zimbabwe, this action violates
my freedom of thought and expression. The fact that I find myself under
"country arrest" means that my constitutional right to freedom of movement
has been severely vitiated.

            I must hasten to add that the actual seizure of my passport was
effected by a youthful member of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
who identified himself to me. And because of internal divisions within
Mugabe's spooks, many have been talking to me and my colleagues. The reasons
for this abuse of authority and heavy-handed action are beginning to emerge.
I think what is heartening in all this is the number of immigration
officials and CIO operatives who are appalled by this action and the obvious
injustice of it all.

            Apparently the Mediagate scandal uncovered by Dumisani Muleya at
the Zimbabwe Independent, one of my newspapers in Zimbabwe, a few months ago
is at the heart of the confiscation of my passport. In a nutshell, the
exposé revealed that the CIO had taken over three privately owned
newspapers, namely the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the Financial
Gazette, leaving the Zimbabwe Independent and the Standard as the only
independent newspapers in the country.

            It is now common cause that the founder of the Mirror group of
newspapers, Dr Ibbo Mandaza, has lost his business to the CIO after becoming
indebted to them and is in the courts at the moment to seek relief.

            The Mediagate expose was a big blow to the CIO's ability to
continue to use public funds to finance the Mirror newspapers. And this has
put the director general of the CIO, Brigadier Happyton Bonyongwe, the
author of this media strategy, in a pickle.

            The Mediagate strategy is part of the CIO's broad plan
code-named Project October whose two main objectives are to ensure that the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is severely weakened and
that there should not be any privately owned newspaper group in the country
by 2010, thus ensuring the only voice heard across the land is Mugabe's.

            Zanu-PF intends to postpone the presidential election due in
2008 to 2010 through a constitutional amendment, which is expected soon. To
all intents and purposes, they have achieved the first objective as the MDC
is hopelessly divided and they are now working on the second. My continued
ownership of the Independent and Standard stands in the way of achieving the
second goal.

            Apart from being an autocratic approach to dealing with
perceived critics and instilling a climate of fear across the country, the
confiscation of my passport is thus expected to deliver on the second
objective of winning the hearts and minds of Zimbabweans through a
sycophantic and pliant media. My sources tell me that the thinking within
the CIO now is that I have a lot to lose by staying in the country without a
passport and that I will be forced to flee the country illegally. If I did I
would be termed a "fugitive", paving the way for a takeover of my
businesses. They would have killed two birds with one stone: settled their
grudge over the Mediagate story and muzzled the last private newspapers in
the country.

            With their mission accomplished, the CIO -- who are effectively
running this country following the failure of civilian structures and the
deep divisions within the ruling party and the government over the
succession issue -- would be well placed to play king makers and anoint a
candidate of their choice to succeed Mugabe. At the moment the defence
forces commander, General Constantine Chiwenga, enjoys the support of the
security chiefs as a candidate to succeed Mugabe although he is said to be
concerned about the CIO newspaper ownership issue. Chiwenga is currently
locked in a multimillion dollar legal battle with the Mirror papers over a
false story written about him. He is said to have complained to the CIO
about their use of the media to damage reputations. As this shows, the
problem with CIO newspaper ownership is that it is calculated to serve
factional interests in Zanu-PF and not the national good. This is why it has
created divisions in the Cabinet, the ruling party and the government. The
whole thing is about rigidly controlling the media, not just to win hearts
and minds, but specifically to influence the outcome of the Mugabe
succession struggle.

            The Zimbabwean government has increasingly become a
quasi-military dictatorship both in form and style. Currently seven members
of Mugabe's Cabinet are former military or intelligence strongmen. Of the 31
key government institutions or parastatals, 13 are headed by former military
or intelligence officers. These include the National Parks, Prison Services,
the Grain Marketing Board and the CIO itself. Government bureaucracy,
including electoral supervision, is now run by the army. We have even seen
the military being deployed to implement command agriculture -- Operation
Maguta -- to deal with food shortages.

            It is no surprise then that it was the CIO, headed by a military
man, that hatched the infamous Operation Murambatsvina that destroyed the
homes and businesses of thousands of Zimbabweans. The United Nations report
on this dastardly act estimated that 700 000 people had been left homeless.

            This was a military-style pre-emptive strike intended to flush
out opposition supporters from the urban slums of Zimbabwe. The
preponderance of the military and the abuse of state intelligence structures
is a growing cancer in the politics of Zimbabwe. It has led to
securocracy -- control by state security agencies -- taking root in the
country, something politically dangerous and a source of future instability.

            It must be pointed out that the two men at the centre of the
seizure of my passport, Mugwadi and Mudede, work in cahoots with the
military and intelligence structures that meet every week under the auspices
of the Joint Operations Committee (JOC) to discuss security issues.
Bonyongwe, whose media department compiled the list of 17 names, is a rising
star in this gang. He has become even more powerful against the backdrop of
the succession squabbles in the ruling party.

            While I have not officially been given the reasons for the
seizure of my passport, there is speculation that the list of 17, believed
to be a prelude to a longer list of 64, which Mugabe ordered to be drawn up
at his party's recent conference, is perhaps the first salvo in implementing
the provisions of Constitutional Amendment No 17, which gives the government
the right to seize the passports of people it perceives as "threatening the
interests of the state". The problem is that currently there is no enabling
legislation to implement this Orwellian provision. But then laws are not
usually allowed to stand in the way of Mugabe's grand political designs.

            There is evidence already that the seizure of my passport has
had the desired results across the country and on Zimbabweans living abroad.
Many in and outside the country will be terrified to speak out against
current abuses for fear of losing their passports. Many now fear coming home
to their loved ones because there is no guarantee that they will not lose
their passports on arriving home.

            While terribly inconvenienced by the seizure of my passport I am
not at all intimidated. I will always exercise my birthright to speak out
against misrule and injustice. A passport cannot be used as a gagging

            I shall not be silenced by a regime whose leadership and policy
failures have reduced Zimbabwe to a wasteland and that wants to blame
everybody but itself for the colossal disaster it has caused through corrupt
and incompetent rule.

            The list of people whose passports have been invalidated by the
ZImbabwean government includes:

              a.. The former owner of the banned Daily News and owner of the
Econet cellphone company, Strive Masiyiwa; former Daily News editor-in-chief
Geoff Nyarota,

              b.. his successor, Nqobile Nyathi;

              c.. journalists Basildon Peta and Lloyd Mudiwa are also on the

              d.. former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation journalist
Caroline Gombakomba;

              e.. freelance journalist Bernard Mandizvidza;

              f.. media lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa;

              g.. human-rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba;

              h.. lawyer Brian Kagoro;

              i.. civic activist Raymond Majongwe;

              j.. opposition Movement for Democratic Change's former MP
Tafadzwa Musekiwa;

              k.. the party's Brussels representative, Grace Kwinjeh;

              l.. journalist Lionel Saungweme;

              m.. Noble Sibanda, a spokesperson for the United Network of
Detained Zimbabweans;

              n.. National Constitutional Assembly chairperson Dr Lovemore

              o.. MDC politicians Morgan Tsvangirai, Paul Temba Nyathi,
Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, Welshman Ncube; and Roman Catholic archbishop Pius

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Out in the Cold

Business Day (Johannesburg)

December 15, 2005
Posted to the web December 15, 2005


OPERATIVES of the South African Secret Service, and spies in general, are
well aware of the pitfalls of unnecessary media attention and go to great
lengths to avoid the spotlight. Spies the world over undergo years of
intense training in the art of moving in the shadows, and intelligence
services commit massive resources to maintain operational secrecy.

Thus Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils' recent behaviour has been
puzzling. This week the minister went public with the identity of an SASS
agent, presenting him in front of TV cameras and other media which meant the
agent's picture was splashed on the front pages of several newspapers here
and in Zimbabwe. The minister effectively "outed" his own spy.

But earlier in the week, Kasrils' chief spin doctor was adamant the ministry
would not "expose" Aubrey Welken upon his return to SA. This came after
Welken was released from a Harare prison where he had spent a year for
spying activities. Kasrils' office refused requests to interview him, or
even take photos. Obviously, this decision was changed at the last minute.

The question is why. Is there a bigger game, political or otherwise, under
way here? Kasrils' has acknowledged that the move was unusual, and his
office says it decided to go public because the Zimbabwean media had already
revealed Welken's identity. This does not hold water. It's one thing if his
identity leaked out. It's another matter entirely for the minister to
purposely out him.

Kasrils then punted Welken's release as a vindication of President Thabo
Mbeki's disastrous policy of "quiet diplomacy" in Zimbabwe. It is
unfortunate that this demonstration of the efficacy of quiet diplomacy came
with the high price of publicly exposing an active agent of the state.
Welken should be treated as more than a mascot for government's quiet
diplomacy policy.

Further, quiet diplomacy has always been about facilitating much needed
political reform in Zimbabwe, not about the return of bungling spies. Far
from being proof of SA's diplomatic prowess, the Welken incident shows up
the ineptness of our involvement in Zimbabwe.

Another explanation for the minister's actions is that Welken is, in the
eyes of government, expendable. If the secret service believed that Welken's
cover was already blown, or if he had proved ineffective in his performance
and had potentially endangered other covert operations, there would be
little to lose by going public with his identity. But that, surely, is a
matter between the service and Welken, and one which did not need to be
aired in quite such a public manner.

There is, of course, always the possibility that the spy saga has been drawn
in at the edges of the bigger political drama being played out in this
country. The intelligence ministry has already been caught up in this, with
three top NIA bosses being suspended in recent months.

The link is tenuous, and there remain more questions than answers in this
spy saga. Why was it necessary for Kasrils to fly to Zimbabwe to receive
Welken? Surely the minister should not involve himself in what was clearly
an operational matter? Why and how was Welken and his mission exposed in the
first place? It is commendable that the South African government managed to
secure his release, but what concessions did we have to make to the
Zimbabweans? How are our long-term strategic interests in the Southern
African Development Community affected by this deal?

These are the questions the minister must answer, rather than trying to
divert the issue. Much as we encourage and welcome transparency within
government departments, the secret service is one organisation where
discretion is advised. In many cases, lives depend on it.

The handling of the spy saga leaves a bad taste, whichever way you look at

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'Notorious' CIO Raid VoP Radio Station Offices

Zim Daily

            Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 04:10 PM GMT
            Contributed by: correspondent

             Central Intelligence Organisation operatives today raided the
Harare offices of Voice of the People (VoP) - an independent radio station
that broadcasts to Zimbabwe via the Radio Netherlands Madagascar relay - and
frisked the offices before confiscated tapes and files. Reporters at the
radio station who spoke on condition of anonymity said five CIO officers
came to the station in the afternoon and asked for John Masuku, the station
manager who was out on business at the time.

            The officers then produced a search warrant which, according to
the reporters, stated that the CIO had reason to believe that Masuku was in
possession of subversive material. The warrant was to search the VoP
offices. The officers proceeded to search the three offices and studio and
took away some documents and tapes. They also recorded the details of the
station's seven employees. The reporter said that the officers questioned
him in a "harsh manner."

            At the time of writing, the officers were still at the offices
where they were said to be looking for the station's transmitter. The
reporter said he was questioned on the activities of VoP. This is not the
first time that government has cracked down on the station. In 2002, the
radio station's studio was bombed, completely destroying its production
facilities. The independent radio station broadcasts into Zimbabwe on

            Since its inception six years ago, it has been a thorn in the
side of the Mugabe government which has consistently refused to allow
opposition views to be expressed on the state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation (ZBC). Faced with the overwhelming ZBC bias towards Mugabe and
the Zanu-PF party prior to the general election in 2000, former employees of
the ZBC got together to create Voice of the People, with funding from the
Soros Foundation and a Dutch non-government funding organisation. They
decided to hire airtime outside the country, and chose a 50 kW transmitter
at the Radio Netherlands' Madagascar relay station since this provided
blanket coverage of Zimbabwe.
            Media watchdog Media Institute of Southern Africa condemned the
raid on the radio station.

            "This developments is sad and unprecedented," Misa Zimbabwe
director Rashweat Mukundu said. Government describes VOP as a "pirate radio
station", which "churns out anti-Zimbabwe propaganda from Europe." The
government is quoted as describing VOP as "nothing short of a criminal and
terrorist group." The Minister of State for Information and Publicity in the
Office of the President, Ambassador Tichaona Jokonya recently said he was
piqued by independent radio stations and journalists and said he would deal
with them. Government is on record saying the setting up of the Voice of the
People was an example of European interference in Zimbabwe's affairs.

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MDC members launch fresh bid against leader

Mail and Guardian

      Harare, Zimbabwe

      15 December 2005 08:11

            Members of Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party said on Wednesday they will launch a fresh bid to win
legal backing for their decision to suspend party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

            High Court Judge Yunus Omerjee on Friday dismissed an
application by MDC deputy secretary general Gift Chimanikire, who asked him
to enforce a decision taken three weeks ago by a party disciplinary
committee to suspend Tsvangirai.

            "We will appeal against the court ruling or resubmit the
application," the MDC's vice-president, Gibson Sibanda, told journalists
after a meeting of the party's national council.

            "The judge ruled on technical issues such as Mr Chimanikire's
legal standing in the matter. He [Omerjee] did not look at the substance of
the court application."

            The meeting scoffed at a suspension by a faction of six top
party officials two weeks ago on charges of abandoning their official party
while leading a clique opposed to Tsvangirai's leadership.

            "The entity that seeks to carry out the suspensions is
unconstitutional," Sibanda said of the committee that suspended him and five
other party officials, including secretary general Welshman Ncube and
treasurer Fletcher Dulini Ncube. "The said officers should not cooperate
with or appear before the bogus disciplinary committee."

            Sibanda accused Tsvangirai of hiring thugs to bar members of his
faction from entering the party's headquarters in Harare.

            Once a major political force challenging President Robert
Mugabe's grip on power, the MDC has been bogged down in infighting over
Tsvangirai's decision to call a boycott of the November 26 Senate elections.

            Tsvangirai maintained that the elections were a waste of money
at a time when the country was facing severe food shortages, but his
opponents within the MDC contended that voters should be given a choice at
the ballot box.

            Tsvangirai had dismissed the suspension as unlawful and defied
the committee's ban on holding rallies, making public statements, visiting
party offices or using party property.

            Mugabe's Zanu-PF won 43 of the 50 contested Senate seats, while
the MDC picked up seven seats in the elections that were marred by poor
turnout. -- Sapa-AFP

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'Training' for Zim journalists

The Herald, Port Elizabeth

Report by Sapa-DPA


ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe's ruling party is calling for journalists
to complete a controversial national youth training scheme, State radio
reported yesterday.

Saviour Kasukuwere, deputy youth minister for Zanu-PF, told the radio he
welcomed a suggestion by deputy information secretary Ephraim Masawi that
aspiring reporters should complete the training.

Masawi is reported to have made the suggestion at a party conference last

"I think this is a very welcome development by Comrade Masawi," Kasukuwere

"It will encourage most of our young cadres who are going to be joining the
journalism fraternity to go through national youth service."

Kasukuwere said it was important for aspiring journalists to understand
national values and the country's independence war against Britain in the

"When they join and start serving our national mass media they will be even
more aware of the challenges at stake," he said.

Thousands of young Zimbabweans have already graduated from Zimbabwe's
National Youth Training Service, which was started back in 2001.

However, the programme has been tainted with controversy.

Critics, including the main opposition party Movement for Democratic Change
say graduates of its military-style camps are reported to be indoctrinated
by Zanu-PF propaganda.

Some have been accused of violence against opposition supporters, charges
the ruling party denies. - Sapa-DPA

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MDC spokesman accuses rival faction of sowing confusion

Zim Online

Thu 15 December 2005

      HARARE - The spokesman of Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party, Nelson Chamisa, has accused a faction of the
party opposed to leader Morgan Tsvangirai of sowing confusion in the
opposition party and attempting to block its congress scheduled for

      The MDC split into two rival factions after failing to agree on
whether to contest last month's senate election. One faction is led by
Tsvangirai and the other is led by secretary general Welshman Ncube and
includes deputy president Gibson Sibanda, deputy secretary general Gift
Chimanikire and treasurer Fletcher Dulini Ncube.

      Ncube's faction has attempted to suspend Tsvangirai from the party
presidency but suffered a major setback last week when the High Court
rejected their application seeking the court to enforce a decision by the
party disciplinary committee - led by Sibanda - to suspend Tsvangirai.

      The Ncube group yesterday said it had managed to convene a meeting of
the MDC's national council at which it was resolved that Tsvangirai be
suspended from the opposition party.

      But Chamisa dismissed the meeting by Ncube's faction as an
unconstitutional gathering motivated by bitterness after the group failed in
their bid to enlist the High Court to help bar Tsvangirai from leading the

      Chamisa, who is also the MDC national youth chairman, said: "These are
a group of individuals who we know have been hobnobbing with Mugabe and
having tea with the dictator. They want to create a parallel process with a
view to cause confusion and stop the congress.

      "They know the mood of the people on the ground and that is why they
do not want congress to sit. They know they will lose positions at congress
because MDC members know their true colours."

      The MDC spokesman said a disciplinary committee scheduled to sit next
Saturday to hear charges against Ncube and the other senior MDC leaders
would proceed with the process "whether they attend or not".

      Infighting in the MDC has paralysed the party which in its six years
of existence had offered Zimbabweans their first viable alternative to
President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party. - ZimOnline

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Chaos as MDC faction claims it has won backing for Tsvangirai's suspension

Zim Online

Thu 15 December 2005

      HARARE - Infighting in the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party took a new twist yesterday after a faction of the party
that lost a court bid to have Morgan Tsvangirai blocked from leading the
party claimed it had finally convinced the national council of the
opposition party at a meeting in Harare yesterday to back its bid to remove
Tsvangirai from the helm.

      MDC deputy president Gibson Sibanda, party secretary general Welshman
Ncube and deputy secretary general Gift Chimanikire have pushed for
Tsvangirai's removal from the helm of the opposition party since disagreeing
with him over whether to contest last month's senate election.

      But they appeared to have suffered a major setback last week when the
High Court threw out an application lodged by Chimanikire on their behalf
seeking the court to enforce a decision by the party's disciplinary
committee to suspend Tsvangirai from the position of party president.  The
discplinary committee is headed by Sibanda.

      Justice Yunus Omerjee rejected the application, agreeing with
Tsvangirai's lawyer, Selby Hwacha, that the matter was wrongly before the
court because Chimanikire did not have authority from the MDC to act on its

      Hwacha also told the court that Sibanda's committee had wrongly
suspended Tsvangirai because he had not been convicted of any offence, which
should happen before a member can be suspended from the party. The lawyer
also added that in any event, a meeting of the national council - the
opposition party's highest decision making authority outside congress - had
subsequently set aside the disciplinary committee's decision.

      Sibanda yesterday told journalists that his faction had finally
managed to gather the national council at Mendel training centre in Harare's
Marlborough suburb at which it was agreed that Tsvangirai's suspension be

      ZimOnline was unable to independently confirm whether all members of
the national council attended the meeting at Mendel.

      Sibanda did not say whether he was taking over as interim president of
the opposition party but said yesterday's national council meeting had
resolved to appeal against Omerjee's decision refusing to uphold
Tsvangirai's suspension.

      The MDC deputy president also said he and other leaders opposed to
Tsvangirai would no longer be appearing before a disciplinary committee
chaired by party chairman Isaac Matongo to face various charges among them
their decision to suspend Tsvangirai.

      Sibanda and his colleagues had last week pleaded with Matongo to have
the disciplinary hearing postponed to Saturday.

      The chaos rocking the MDC has effectively robbed Zimbabweans of their
only alternative to President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party. -

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Zim court slams seizure of passport


          December 15 2005 at 07:56PM

      Harare - Zimbabwe's High Court on Thursday declared "unlawful" the
seizure of a leading newspaper publisher's passport under new measures to
punish government critics, a lawyer told AFP.

      "We went to the High Court today and Justice Chinembiri Bhunu declared
that the conduct was unlawful," lawyer Sternford Moyo said, referring to the
seizure of Trevor Ncube's travel document by immigration officials on
Thursday last week.

      "He also said immigration and the registrar general's office should
not interfere with Mr Ncube's possession of his passport."

      Immigration officers seized Ncube's passport at the airport in
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, moments after he flew in from South Africa
where he is based.

      They said they were under instructions to withdraw the passport and
showed him a letter with a list of 17 people whose passport were to be

      The list includes human rights lawyers Beatrice Mtetwa, Brian Kagoro
and Gabriel Shumba, journalists Geoffrey Nyarota, Basildon Peta and Lloyd
Mudiwa, leading opposition official Paul Themba Nyathi, trade unionist
Raymond Majongwe and former opposition lawmaker Tafadzwa Musekiwa.

      Parliament in August approved changes to the constitution that allow
the state to seize the passports of people perceived to be anti-government.

      The seizure of Ncube's passport marked the first time that the
provision had been applied.

      On Wednesday immigration authorities returned Ncube's passport while
he awaited the hearing for a legal appeal he launched on Monday to get back
his passport.

      "With the list still in place it would not be safe for Mr Ncube to
travel abroad because there was nothing to stop another immigration officer
from taking the passport from him again," Moyo said.

      "That's why we went ahead with the court case to get a declaratory
order which have got. The judge has declared the purported withdrawal,
cancellation or invalidation of Mr Ncube's passport unlawful."

      A veteran Zimbabwean journalist, Ncube is the publisher of the weekly
Zimbabwe Independent and Sunday Standard as well as the Mail and Guardian,
published in South Africa.

      All three papers have been openly critical of Mugabe's policies.

      On Wednesday immigration also returned opposition official and former
human rights activist Nyathi which they seized on Friday but took trade
unionist Raymond Majongwe's passport as he arrived at the Harare airport
from a conference in Abuja.

      "I am not going to bother myself going to court to recover the
passport," Majongwe told AFP.

      "Those people know what they did was unlawful so they are going to
return it." - Sapa-AFP

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Zim 'muzzling free speech'


15/12/2005 10:38  - (SA)

Vienna - Zimbabwe aims to confiscate the passports of scores of journalists,
human rights lawyers, poets and politicians in an attempt to curtail freedom
of expression, an international media watchdog said on Wednesday.

The Vienna-based International Press Institute called on South African
President Thabo Mbeki in a letter to lean on President Robert Mugabe's
government after a newspaper publisher's passport was confiscated.

Zimbabwean authorities on Friday seized the passport of Trevor Ncube, owner
of South Africa's Mail & Guardian and The Independent and The Standard in
Zimbabwe, under a constitutional amendment allowing the state to confiscate
the travel documents of anyone deemed a threat to the state.

There was "growing evidence that the Zimbabwean government intends to target
a list of around 60 people in the same manner under an amendment to the
Zimbabwean Constitution", the institute said.

"The list of those apparently targeted is a disturbing roll call of
individuals committed to defending press freedom and freedom of expression
within Zimbabwe."

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No forced removal of failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe, says UK Court

      By Makusha Mugabe

      15 December 2005

      The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal has refused the Minister for
Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality permission to appeal against its
determination that the way its officers were enforcing returns of failed
Zimbabwean asylum seekers was unsafe.

      It has further determined that any Zimbabwean citizen who will not
return to Zimbabwe willingly is a refugee. There should therefore be no
forced removals to Zimbabwe until, and if, the Minister appeals to the Court
of Appeal and the appeal is upheld. Assisted voluntary removals, however,
are possible.

      The Minister, Tony McNulty, in a written Ministerial statement to the
House of Commons, said on 18 October the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal
issued a determination in relation to the treatment of failed asylum seekers
whose return to Zimbabwe was enforced.

      He said further: "The Tribunal found that the particular way we were
enforcing returns of failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers from the United
Kingdom to Harare airport put them at risk of mistreatment. The Tribunal has
refused permission to appeal their determination so we will be seeking
permission to appeal from the Court of Appeal. In the meantime, as we made
clear at the time of the Tribunal determination, we will not be enforcing
returns of Zimbabweans to Zimbabwe whilst we work to resolve the concerns
identified by the Tribunal."

      The tribunal was taken to task to explain the significance of its
October 18th determination and on November 16 said that the effect of the
determination is that any Zimbabwean citizen who will not return there
willingly is a refugee.

      The Minister said his office was reviewing the method by which it
enforces returns and was therefore in strong disagreement with the
Tribunal's conclusion.

      He said his office would be appealing this determination or others
which rely upon it and would continue to take decisions based on the
individual merits of the claims.

      A spokesman for the Refugee Legal Centre, which won the case on behalf
of Zimbabwean asylum seekers, said it was not a sensible use of public funds
for the government to insist on deporting Zimbabweans.

      "The sensible course of action is for them to abide by the Tribunal's
decision pending the outcome of their appeal, because, with this judgement
we can confidently expect to win any case that is brought before us," said
the spokesman.

      The Minister insists that the Tribunal did not find that Zimbabwe was
unsafe generally for failed asylum seekers or that those who return
voluntarily are at risk, even though he admitted that the Government was
"deeply concerned" about the political and economic crisis and the
"appalling human rights situation in Zimbabwe".

      "Voluntary returns to Zimbabwe are possible and are continuing. We
therefore expect failed asylum seekers to return voluntarily to Zimbabwe and
will assist them in doing so through the International Organisation for
Migration (IOM)," said the Minister.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Exiled Novelist Speaks Out

Financial Gazette (Harare)

December 15, 2005
Posted to the web December 15, 2005


Exiled novelist, Chenjerai Hove, who now lives in Norway, longs for home,
but believes that there are times when an individual has to be himself or
herself and take a deep introvertive look at themselves and avoid taking
risks. Hove is the author of several novels including Bones, Shadows,
Ancestors and a host of poems and articles. Weekend Gazette's Stanley Kwenda
spoke to him on a wide range of subjects. Before leaving Zimbabwe he wrote a
candid column on social and political issues for a weekly newspaper.

What do you think is your role as a writer in present day Zimbabwe?

Seeing and recording the heartbeat of the people as they go through the
prevailing hard times. I see the smiles and the sorrow on the faces, and I
want to write about them so that we do not forget the pain, as well as the
joy of remaining hopeful even when we have so many wounds on our bodies and

Some people claimed that you feigned persecution so as to seek asylum but
why did you leave Zimbabwe and what are you doing in exile at the moment.

I lived a haunted life for many years in my country. Death threats were so
many that I even stopped counting them. I decided that I could not continue
to live under those circumstances. My crime was that I was and still
continue to be critical of what those in power have done to our country.
Many items, including my computer hard disks and diskettes, were stolen from
my house and a police officer told me there was nothing the police could do
because " it was a political crime."

How do you feel about living in exile?

I long to come home, and that nostalgia gives me new perceptions of our
country. I carry my country in my heart and soul. I am Zimbabwean, African,
than before. It is another life. At least I am free from daily harassment
and surveillance for many years. I can walk in the street without the fear
that so many Zimbabweans. I can walk in the street without the fear that so
many Zimbabweans back home are burdened with every day and night. Even when
I was home, I was in some form of exile. I took positions on public issues
and many people did not like it. So I became excluded. Most writers are
excluded by the system because our society at the moment does not respect
open criticism.

It must be about five years since you wrote your last novel, can you tell me
what is happening to your career as a writer and don't you think your role
as a human rights activist is taking its toll on your career.

No, my writing includes everything, human rights, art, cultural debate,
everything. I have since written and published a collection of essays,
'Palaver Finish', a collection of poems, 'Blind Moon,' a children's book,
'The Key.' A writer is a citizen with responsibilities which go with that
citizenship. I have the talent to write and it is my duty to use those
skills to make social and political statements to awaken a sense of public
responsibility among our arrogant politicians.

Literature is total life presented on the page. And a writer has no business
locking himself up in his study and blocking off the world in the name of
writing a novel or a poem. A writer needs to join the public marketplace of
ideas and social possibilities. You can even ask yourself: what is the use
of writing dozens of books when even the educated, those with degrees, have
decided to either make themselves the new illiterates, or the economy makes
it impossible for children and workers to even imagine buying a book? People
are living a miserable life, and it is absurd to expect them to sacrifice
everything for books.

Most people expect writers to be machines producing books as if they were
producing loaves of bread.

What do you think about the current political situation in Zimbabwe?

The current political situation is sad for our country. We should not have
gone this bad so fast. Our politicians have made so many mistakes and sadly
they continue to blame some imagined enemies. They should sit down by
themselves and take a hard, sober look at what mistakes they have made. The
country is being run by what I could call hysterical nationalism, as if we
were at war and everyone else who does not agree with certain political
decisions is a traitor or is unpatriotic.

Our country is being traumatised by bad political decisions. There is hardly
a sense of self-evaluation on the part of the leaders. They have been
behaving as if it is their 'right' to rule and ruin the country.

What if you were to be made president of Zimbabwe today?

One thing for sure is that we can do without rule by arrogance, which we
have been subjected to for many years. Farming land should have been given
to those who have the skills to farm, and are willing to do so, not braai

The education system is another important aspect of our life which has to be
brought back to its former quality. The education system would need to be
revamped urgently. Exam papers are leaked every year. There are no books in
schools. And the ministers of education congratulate themselves for a job
well done! It is a shame! Young people have been taught how to destroy life
and property instead of being given skills to develop our country. There has
to be a serious effort to rehabilitate the youths, giving them a sense of
dignity and respect for life in all its forms. If I were president today, I
would ensure that corruption is eradicated from our way of life. National
looting will never develop a country. And it seems looting is rampant in the
current Zimbabwe.

Your thoughts on the senate elections and the divisions within the MDC.

The senate is another way of looting. It has no purpose except to be a kind
of old people's home, rewarding those President Mugabe had either forgotten
or feels obliged to give a "thank you" to before his days end. It is a waste
of energy and time.

There seems to be a maturing of the mind in all your writing, can you tell
me your state of mind when you write these days?

As I grow older, I lose the romanticism which I had 25years ago. My language
has to change as new situations demand new visions. But at the same time I
get frustrated by the stagnation in national vision and aspirations. So I
celebrate life in my writing, but at the same time I acknowledge the heavy
hearts which have become part of our life.

How would you describe yourself and do you have a family.

A: I am a writer, an activist in all aspects of life. My family is in
Zimbabwe and I live in Norway, in the south west. It is not a permanent home
because I will come back one day soon.

How are you helping other young writers from home?

A: I get sent piles and piles of manuscripts, especially from those in the
diaspora, to help them with advice and suggestions on improving the quality
of their writing.

When should we expect your next novel.

Don't be anxious. You will see my next novel when it comes. All you should
know is that it will come.

What are your plans for the future?

To continue writing books. I will come back and contribute to the nation in
my own way, writing and teaching. I also continue my other work, human
rights, cultural activism, many other tasks which fulfil my life and

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Harare Now A Showcase of Ill Government

      By Makusha Mugabe


Related stories: Democracy matters  12-15-05, 8:45 am

      As Zimbabwe's capital city Harare is the world's window to the country
it is now a showcase of President Robert Mugabe's failure to run the
government, says the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

      The capital is being run by a commission following the suspension of
all councillors and the Mayor who were all from the opposition, MDC.

      Water is frequently cut off because of reduced pumping capacity due to
lack of spares, and when it is available, the water can cause illness
because of poor purification, also due to lack of foreign currency to buy
the necessary chemicals.

      Traffic lights no longer work; roads are in a permanent state of
disrepair and sanitary lanes have filled up with uncollected rubbish, which
was deplored by the MDC new spokesman, Parliamentarian Nelson Chamisa.

      The youthful MP said public amenities, neighbourhood parks, park
benches and rest havens for senior citizens, swimming pools, libraries and
ablution facilities and public conveniences had long collapsed - many of
them beyond repair, which he said Mugabe's ruling Zanu (PF) and his Local
Government Minister Ignitious Chombo should be held responsible for.

      His statement was issued today following the decision by the Zanu (PF)
government to extend the life of the commission instead of calling for
elections of new councillors and a mayor.

      Minister Chombo suspended councillorsnd dismissed Engineer Elias
Mudzuri, the last democratically elected mayor of Harare, but four years
later no reasons have been given.

      He appointed an MDC turncoat Sekesai Makwavarara chairperson of the
commission to run the city, aided by Zanu (PF) and Chombo's appointees,
which has seen Harare's "sunshine city" status virtually extinguished and
supplementary charges increased for non-existent services, including
essential services for its estimated three million residents.

      "It is common cause that Harare has become an extremely dangerous
place to live in. Burst sewers disgorge raw contents onto the streets and
remain unattended to for months. The quality of the water has deteriorated
to a level where residents escape disease by sheer luck.

      "Harare's decay reflects and mirrors a deepening national crisis of
governance and a serious political emergency, with roots firmly stuck in a
25-year Zanu PF culture of patronage and misrule," nsaid Chamisa

      Other signs of the the city's deterioration are that the Harare
Sheraton ran out of running water during an international confrerence,
forcing guests to go without bathing and the international Sheraton
franchise organisation to withdraw its franchise from the hotel.

      Chamisa said Engineer Mudzuri and his council could have cleaned up
the city had it not been for Minister Chombo's constant interference in
local government. "Undaunted and without shame, Chombo has moved into
Chitungwiza, Mutare, Chegutu and other cities, leaving a trail of
destruction and mayhem - simply because these urban centres are in the hands
of the MDC councils," he said.

      A much touted about Harare City Council turnaround strategy has failed
to materialise, but this is the pretext under which Makwavarara and her
associates have had their appointment extended.

      "No turn around strategy is possible either locally or at a national
level without embracing a radical paradigm shift in the way Zimbabwe is
governed... We need food and jobs. We need to create an investor-friendly
climate to strengthen our revenue base. We need to revive commerce and
industry and to re-join the international community. We must respect people's
basic political and human rights. We must restore our dignity and
self-esteem," said Chamisa.

      He urged Harareans to reclaim Harare and demand that Zanu (PF) and
Minister Chombo explain the extension of the Commission's mandate to the
people of Harare and account for imposing their favoured Commission when
nothing stops the government from granting political space to the people of
Harare by allowing them to elect their own leaders.

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House of Assembly Approves 2006 National Budget

The Herald (Harare)

December 14, 2005
Posted to the web December 15, 2005

Tandayi Motsi

THE House of Assembly yesterday approved estimates of expenditure of the
2006 National Budget for 27 Government ministries and departments amounting
to $124 trillion, without amendments.

Finance Minister Cde Herbert Murerwa is today expected to present a Finance
Bill in the House that will give effect to the budget.

Cde Murerwa told parliamentarians that the budget had been crafted under
difficult conditions characterised by high inflation, hence ministries and
Government departments should live within their means.

He was responding to concerns raised by lawmakers during debate on the
budget that money allocated to some ministries was not sufficient.

Cde Murerwa said ministries had made total bids of about $437,7 trillion,
translating into financing requirements of at least $446 trillion, an amount
which was not bearable.

"This was not going to be sustainable and this could only be achieved
through highly inflationary money printing. A sustainable budget would need
to be a balanced one," he said.

Cde Murerwa said it was not prudent for the Government to continue incurring
a budget deficit as in the past years.

Performance agreements for various line ministries and departments were
being developed. Cde Murerwa said a reduction in the inflation rate was
critical for the attainment of macro-economic stability.

The Government decided to do away with price controls because these had
contributed to the shortage of basic commodities, which were resurfacing on
the black market. The removal of price controls, Cde Murerwa said, would
improve production of basic commodities as well as thwart black market

He said the objective of the Incomes and Pricing Commission was to monitor
prices of basic goods in a manner that protected vulnerable groups.

Cde Murerwa said the resumption of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum was
expected to offer a solution in the stabilisation of incomes.

The Government, he said, had moved in to plug loopholes in gold leakages to
make sure that all the gold produced was accounted for and a 30 percent
increase in deliveries of the mineral was projected next year.

Cde Murerwa said the State was aware of funds it owed to local authorities
and other service providers such as the CMED (Pvt) Ltd and $600 billion had
been allocated towards servicing such debt.

He said $117 billion had been set aside for the construction of nine primary
schools in resettlement areas while $300 billion had been earmarked for
social protection. A further $30 billion had been allocated towards catering
for the welfare of children living on the streets.

Economic Development Minister Cde Rugare Gumbo told the House that the
formulation of the budget was guided by National Vision 2020 and the
National Development Priority Plan (NDPP) 2006 that incorporates provincial
development priorities.

Some of the priorities for next year included ensuring agricultural
development as a guarantee of food security, promoting value addition and
import substitution as well as promoting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

"The success of the budget will require a co-ordinated approach in its
implementation and the budget is rooted in enhancing co-operation between
the Government and the private sector through a shared national vision," Dr
Murerwa said.

"This budget is the best that could be crafted under the very difficult and
challenging conditions that we face."

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'The only lasting solution will come from inside Zimbabwe'

December 15, 2005

The following is a statement from Ehsan Mani, the ICC president, and Malcolm
Speed, the ICC chief executive, issued to Cricinfo

Leading cricket is a job that crosses the often conflicting areas of sport,
culture, business, politics, diplomacy and the media. In navigating this
complex landscape, it is a poor leader that chooses the popular path at the
expense of his own judgment.

There is understandable concern in many ICC Member countries, particularly
in Australia, England and New Zealand, over a range of issues in Zimbabwe.

These are concerns that are shared by the ICC. To see players cut short
their careers because of a dispute with their Board, to see a cricket
community split on how to take the game forward and to see the financial and
the behavioural allegations that are being made is unhealthy for the sport
and unsatisfactory for the game.

It is all the more disappointing as it is happening when cricket is enjoying
a wonderful period in its history. Terrific cricket is being played on the
field as evidenced by wonderful recent series such as India v Pakistan and
England v Australia.

Strong opinions from many stakeholders have been expressed in opposition to
the stance the ICC has taken on Zimbabwe.

No doubt the ICC could become more popular with many more people if it
adopted a more strident position against Zimbabwe but such a role would do
little to find a solution to this complex issue.

The simplistic view expressed by some is that it is time for the ICC to roll
up its sleeves, flex it muscles and get in and "fix it" - although how this
is to be achieved is left, not surprisingly, vague.

In reality, if Zimbabwe is to reunite its fractured cricket community, the
only lasting solution will come from within the Zimbabwe cricket community,
be it through an agreement between the current factions or through the
intervention of the Sports and Recreation Committee.

The ICC has repeatedly offered to assist the stakeholders to help them find
a solution to their difficulties. This is an offer that all the parties in
this dispute have been made aware of. It is an offer made with the support
of the ICC Executive Board but, in line with Board policy, it is conditional
on it having the support of Zimbabwe Cricket, an entirely necessary
pre-condition if any progress is to be made.

In looking for a way forward, it is important to recognise that Zimbabwe
Cricket is no more a "branch office" of the ICC than the Board of Control of
Cricket in India (BCCI) or Cricket Australia (CA).

All our members are independent sovereign entities with their own authority,
their own constitution and rules and their own legislative obligations. The
idea that the ICC can simply walk in and "take over" one of our members is
quite simply nonsense.

Many other ICC members have faced and addressed grave domestic issues.

In recent times, there have been threats of a players' strike in Australia;
complicated television issues that have cost the game millions of dollars
and disputed Board elections in India; a players' strike in New Zealand and
the sacking and replacement of Boards by governments in Sri Lanka and
Pakistan, but no-one has seriously suggested that the ICC should
unilaterally intervene to "fix it" in these cases and rightly so.

Where the ICC Board has drawn a distinction is between the autonomy of a
member to manage their own domestic issues, and the international
responsibility each member has to seek to protect the integrity of
international cricket.

While members have the freedom to manage their own sovereign affairs, they
do not have the right to risk the integrity of the international game.

It is often overlooked but the ICC Board showed its willingness to address
this issue in May 2004 when the ICC President and Chief Executive proposed
that Zimbabwe's Test status be suspended due to concerns about the strength
of the Zimbabwe team at that time.

Ultimately, Zimbabwe Cricket voluntarily withdrew from its Test commitments
but a similar move by the ICC Board cannot be ruled out in the future.

This is a point that the ICC has made to all parties in this dispute during
the discussions it has had with them in recent weeks.

The ICC is well aware of the arguments against its stance and respects the
rights of its stakeholders to take and express other opinions on the best
way to resolve these difficult issues affecting Zimbabwe cricket.

What is more difficult to respect are the attempts by some people to link
issues that are not joined, to use rhetoric ahead of reason, and to advance
extreme positions at the expense of striking a balanced view.

This may play well to their audience, attract media attention and perhaps
give some people the public profile they crave but populism doesn't equal

The ICC has made significant progress since the corruption scandals of just
five years ago. In addition to the issues in Zimbabwe, the ICC is currently
dealing with a number of major issues in the sport including:

a.. re-establishing the importance of the Spirit of Cricket;
a.. overhauling the way that the game deals with illegal actions;
a.. aggressively seeking to improve the quality and performance of umpires;
a.. ensuring that Players' Associations - where they exist - are properly
recognised and have an input into the running of the game; and
a.. showing a willingness critically examine the role of technology in
decision making.

The truth is that what is happening is Zimbabwe is of great concern to the
ICC, but those who are arguing for the unilateral intervention of the ICC
without the support of all the stakeholders in the game are failing to
properly understand the process that is needed to make progress or the
challenges that cricket faces in Zimbabwe.

The ICC is watching the developments in Zimbabwe cricket with a critical
eye. It respects the autonomy of Zimbabwe Cricket but has made its concerns
clear to the sport's stakeholders in Zimbabwe, as well as the risks that are
being run if they fail to find a solution.

No doubt the ICC's policy on this issue will continue to attract much
criticism, but it is a policy which in the ICC's judgment provides the
greatest opportunity for cricket in Zimbabwe to survive the crisis it
currently faces.

© Cricinfo

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'SA relations with Zim guided by law'

Thu, 15 Dec 2005
South Africa has conducted its relations with neighbouring Zimbabwe "by the
principles of justice and international law", says South African Foreign
Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

In reply to a question from official opposition chief whip Douglas Gibson,
who asked whether her department had a strategic foreign policy document and
how did it help determine South Africa's policy, the minister said there was
a strategic plan running from 2005 to 2008. It set policy objectives, she

Gibson also asked what her policies towards Zimbabwe were.

She also said that the priorities of the policy were the consolidation of
the African agenda, the promotion of South-South cooperation, North-South
dialogue and global governance.

The strategic objectives included protecting South Africa's national
interests through bilateral and multilateral interactions, the protection of
the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity, the monitoring of
international developments and the maintenance of a modern, effective and
excellence-driven department.

In addition South Africa's international engagements - including Zimbabwe -
were guided by a commitment to the promotion of human rights, democracy, a
commitment to justice and international law in the conduct of relations
between states, a commitment to international peace and internationally
agreed upon mechanisms for the resolution of conflicts and a commitment to
economic development through regional and international co-operation in an
interdependent (and globalised) world.

I-Net Bridge

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Zimbabwean Cotton Farmers Say Subsidies Damage Small-Scale Producers


      By Heda Bayron
      Hong Kong
      15 December 2005

Zimbabwean cotton farmers say the developed nations' refusal to end cotton
subsidies is killing the small-scale African producer. The Zimbabweans'
plight illustrates the effect of rich-nation subsidies on underdeveloped

Elizabeth Paradza traveled halfway across the globe, from her dusty village
in Central Zimbabwe to the concrete jungles of Hong Kong, to deliver a
message to the United States and other developed nations. She wants them to
know that the subsidies they pay their cotton industries is plunging her and
other African cotton farmers into poverty.

Mrs. Paradza says the arid climate allows her to grow only cotton on her
15-hectare farm. But cotton fetches only some fifty cents a kilogram on the
world market, and she says it is a struggle to survive.

"We are suffering, we cannot send our children to school. Life is very, very
hard. We cannot afford to buy food with these prices of cotton. Please, if
they want human beings in Africa to survive, cease these subsidies, or else
they are killing us," she appealed.

Mrs. Paradza's story is a specific example of the message thousands of
protesters and activists are trying to deliver this week as the World Trade
Organization debates and negotiates over proposed trade liberalization.

The WTO says liberalization will help all countries. The protesters say the
policies of the developed nations, most particularly agricultural subsidies,
distort world prices and harm individuals in the undeveloped countries.

Cotton is Zimbabwe's top export, going mainly to China and earning the
impoverished nation about $150 million a year. Small-scale farmers like Mrs.
Paradza produce much of the crop.

But Zimbabwe has its own problems. The authoritarian polices of President
Robert Mugabe have placed the country at odds with the United States and
European countries. The economy is in a shambles, with high unemployment,
inflation and food shortages. People like Mrs. Paradza suffer the

"Our government is poor. They cannot subsidize us. It is worsening our
situation because it seems like everybody is closing the doors on us," she

Ntando Ndlovu is program coordinator of the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and
Development, an organization that advises cotton farmers on trade issues.
She spells out the economics that people like Mrs. Paradza have to deal

"In terms of their income, after selling maybe five bales of cotton the most
they can hope to get $200, and that's an annual income," explained Ms.
Ndlovu. "And it will be by and large offset by the cost, because in cotton
production you need to buy pesticides, so at the end of the day their net
profit would be less than $20 for a season."

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Portman says slashing subsidies is not the
sole answer to Africa's cotton problem. He says Africa needs to raise its
production efficiency if it wants to be competitive.

"I am concerned that somehow we are saying the problem is all the subsidies,
but the problem is much bigger," he noted. "Example: the yields in Africa
are one half the yields of the rest of the world for cotton."

The United States has been giving $7 million worth of aid to West African
cotton growers to increase efficiency. On Thursday, Mr. Portman told the WTO
conference that the United States had decided to allow duty-free access to
West African cotton.

But Zimbabwe, in Southern Africa, will not be among the beneficiaries of
this new policy.

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Motoring Woes Worsen in Zimbabwe

Financial Gazette (Harare)

December 15, 2005
Posted to the web December 15, 2005

Richard Wiley

HARDLY a day goes by when you don't hear some tale of woe involving motoring
in Zimbabwe and it's not all related to the abysmal driving standards and
alarming lack of enforcement of basic rules other than so-called "speeding".

On Saturday afternoon I had the misfortune to bend the pristine front rim of
my CBR Honda, having been unable to avoid one of the thousands of potholes
that litter Arcturus Road.

This particular hole was lurking in the dappled shadows of a msasa tree and
only became evident when it was too late and too dangerous to take evasive
action, notwithstanding that I was doing a mere 60 km/h at the time.

This followed hot on the heels of an 18-hour period without ZESA during the
course of which my generator gave up the ghost and I discovered that a
replacement of the same capacity would cost me a shocking and untenable $500

In the meantime, I learned of another unfortunate motorist who had, note the
tense, a set of nice alloy wheels and new Firestone tyres. He too became the
victim, in the rain, of a pothole which burst a tyre and bent one of the
aforementioned rims beyond repair. These are just two examples of what must
be a daily nightmare for every motorist but the sum of nothing is done about
sorting the problem except, I might add, proposing to increase rates further

As I've said a thousand times before, road markings are virtually
non-existent and traffic lights remain inactive for days on end. When you
encounter a set of these dead lights, assuming the lights themselves haven't
been stolen, that is, just watch the law of the jungle swing into action.
Here, the rule is use the most force you can to clear the intersection
first, but first of all, make sure you make your intentions apparent by
turning on your 4-way flashers. The use of these flashing lights would seem
to give you carte blanche to head on regardless of any rule which states
that in the absence of specific indications, you should give way to traffic
approaching from the right.

All these woes at dead lights gives more credence to my oft-stated request
to employ more roundabouts, especially at large intersections such as the
one in the vicinity of Borrowdale School. The roundabout near Westgate
Shopping Centre works just fine as long as you're not following a moron
driving a metallic maroon 2.4 Nissan Hardbody. This gentleman was one of
those who drives with an arm hanging out of the driver's door -- a sure sign
of trouble to come -- and who decides to turn right around the circle having
approached the obstacle from the extreme left and then carved up every
vehicle correctly positioned to take the route he's chosen for himself but
from the wrong side of the road.

It's also self-apparent that the number of unroadworthy vehicles is
increasing by the day as is the number of vehicles that belch out huge
clouds of half-burned diesel. About six weeks ago, an individual who claimed
some authority on the matter was billowing on about curbing these smoking
monsters. What a joke! They continue on their unfettered way releasing
enough fumes into the atmoshere to make the Hemel Hempstead fuel depot
conflagration look reletively insignificant.

The real point, ladies and gentlemen, and I make no apology for raising this
issue for the umpteenth time, is that these motoring anachronisms exist
because of the humungous cost of replacements triggered to a great extent by
the ridiculous rate of import duties applied.

Where else in the world would you find a relatively mundane vehicle (in this
case, a Toyota Land Cruiser) retailing for approximately twice the price of
a large house situated in a top suburb? That's the reality in Zimbabwe,
believe me.

My mate in London who shares all my motoring adventures overseas, lives in
Twickenham, a suburb in the south west region of the capital city. A couple
of years back, a Victorian house nearby was demolished and in its place, two
pairs of three-bedroomed semi-detached houses were built. These went on the
market for around £560 000 each. That amount would buy you no fewer than 12
of the self-same Land Cruisers mentioned above.

As a final comment on motoring woes, I continue to hear about simply
outrageous repair costs, another factor which encourages continued use of
unroadworthy jalopies. A friend went into orbit recently when he received
the bill from a franchised outlet for servicing his vehicle. Included in the
costs was an eye-watering $9 million for front brake pads. He established
that the self-same pads could be sourced from an independent spares outlet
for $2,5 million. It's also a fact of life that spares are mostly
unobtainable from franchised outlets yet the relevant manufacturers continue
to supply vehicles for sale when it's a known fact that support cannot be
properly provided. Just this week, the importer of a well known German brand
could not provide a single belt for one of our company vehicles let alone a
simple electrical relay for the fuel system.

They said it

About a month ago, I was standing in a check-in queue at the airport when
the person behind me apparently recognised my visage from the Top Gear
masthead and asked me questions about cars and his car in particular. His
steed was/is a Peugeot 607 of which he seemed particularly proud.

Unfortunately, I could not give any personal opinion because in the six
years I've been writing this column. let alone any other columns before
then, I have never been offered a Peugeot of any description to assess.

Given this sad state of affairs, I could only regurgitate to my questioner,
the opinions of some of Britain's leading motoring journals, and sadly those
opinions are common in their negative outlook. Previous attempts by Peugeot
to join the "big" car brigade were markedly unsuccessful, witness the
ill-fated 605, and it seems the present efforts are not much better. "Stick
to what you do best" is the common cry and that's to make smaller cars such
as the 107, the 1007, the 206 and the 307.

Autocar magazine gave the big Pug a measly one-and-a-half stars, describing
it as "a big French saloon way off the pace" while UK Car was a lot more
cynical although it was more generous in its issue of stars, handing out two
on this occasion. The magazine, after asking "when will they ever learn?" (a
reference to the making of large cars), suggested that the majority of 607s
on Britain's roads must be company cars and that the recipients of these
vehicles would be best advised "to switch jobs!" So, in few words, that is
the answer to the aforementioned gentleman's question from two of the most
respected sources in the business.

RSA sales

The top 10 selling cars by specific model in RSA in the period January to
June 2005 looked like this:

1VWPolo 13342

2 VW Citi Golf 12598

3 Toyota Tazz 11185

4 Toyota Corolla 10765

5 Opel Corsa 10393

6 Mercedes C-Class 9710

7 BMW 3-Series 6986

8 Toyota RunX 5643

9 Ford Fiesta 4970

10 Nissan Almera 4743

ADIEU 2005

Having vented my spleen on the sad state of motoring in Zimbabwe, I guess
it's time for me to cool off by taking a rest in anticipation of the
"festive season". The next Top Gear column will therefore appear, God
willing, in the early part of 2006. I hope you've enjoyed the read and found
some of my ramblings useful and informative if sometimes controversial!
Drive as safely as you can and above all, enjoy the break.

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Renewed calls for culling in wildlife reserves raises alarm

among conservation groups

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 15 Dec 2005 (IRIN) - Wildlife conservation groups in Southern
Africa have united in rejecting calls by some governments for a return to
culling as a way of controlling the region's growing elephant population.

The call comes amid fears that elephant populations were ballooning beyond
the carrying capacity of national parks, leading to a scarcity of water and

The debate around elephant population control methods comes at time when
drought is affecting Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique.
South Africa also faces a growing elephant population in its Kruger National

Zimbabwe blames the death of over 100 elephants on a serious shortage of
water and grazing pasture. Environment and Tourism Minister Francis Nhema
told IRIN that the Hwange National Park, which has a carrying capacity of
15,000 elephants, was supporting over 45,000 of them.

He said the large elephant population threatened the bio-diversity of the
area because the animals consumed so much food and water that other animals
were left with nothing to eat.

"This does not affect elephants alone - it also leads to widespread
starvation and death for the other smaller species that cannot compete for
resources. To say we have too many elephants would be a gross
understatement: people living on the edge of the game reserves are in
constant war with elephants that leave the parks in search of water and
food," Nhema told IRIN.

He said the country had joined others in calling for the lifting of the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) on trading
in elephant products to no avail since the last, limited, trade was allowed
in 1999. Together with Botswana, South Africa and Namibia, Zimbabwe has lost
successive bids to get the regional ban on trade in elephant products

"We support culling if it can save our parks and other smaller species. We
keep on asking CITES to lift this ban so that we can be able to maintain the
elephants at a manageable number, but no one is listening. Zimbabwe will
support any elephant control measures that save the people and all the other
animals, not just elephants," said Nhema.

According to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, Zimbabwe's
elephant population grows at a rate of 4,200 per year and occupies a surface
area of 78,550 square km.

Last month, government attempts to relocate some of the elephants to Namibia
hit a snag when the Namibian Department of National Parks and Wildlife said
it was facing the same problems with a 16,000 strong herd.

Namibian parks director Ben Beytell was quoted in local media as saying that
the human-elephant conflict was worse in the northeastern Caprivi Strip,
where villagers share wells with elephants. He attributed the crisis to the
drying up of the Chobe River and Lake Liambezi due to drought.

In Botswana, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DPNW) authority
blamed the growing elephant population for the destruction of perimeter
fences around the Chobe National Park. Elephants straying out of the reserve
in search of water and food have almost made human-elephant conflict an
almost permanent feature in the north of the country.

South Africa's recent call for culling to control about 12,500 elephants in
the Kruger National Park has been dismissed as "too cruel" by wildlife

In a statement responding to the Environmental Affairs and Tourism
Ministry's plans to resume culling, the International Fund for Animal
Welfare (IFAW) said the country's reputation as a custodian of wildlife
would suffer if the shooting started.

"Culling is a cruel, unethical and scientifically unsound practice," the
IFAW statement read in part. The group has proposed the promotion of
trans-frontier parks and migration corridors to allow greater movement of
animals between countries. They also argued for the use of contraception to
control population growth, a proposal rejected as expensive and prone to
practical problems by South African Environment Minister Marthinus van

However, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has urged governments to
consider culling only after exhausting all other alternatives. South Africa,
which slaughtered 14,562 elephants between 1967 and 1994, stopped culling in
1995 in response to growing local and international pressure.

Johnny Rodriguez, chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Taskforce (ZCTF),
said his organisation supported the creation of better-managed habitats
rather than culling. He said the country could not afford more losses
because it had already lost too much valuable wildlife to commercial and
subsistence poachers since farm invasions began in February 2000 as part of
the controversial fast-track land reform programme.

The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), a US-based conservation group running
projects across Southern and East Africa, called culling a "last option".

"We know of no African government agency which would choose to consider
culling where other options exist - culling is heart breaking, difficult,
dangerous and extremely cruel. It can only be considered as a last option
where the long-term wellbeing of wildlife is at risk," the AWF said in a

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