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

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The Times of India

      Zimbabwe warns of ban on newspapers

      AFP[ THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2002 01:20:29 AM ]

      HARARE: Zimbabwe's information minister said Wednesday that newspapers
that print falsehoods risk being banned under tough press laws.

      The comments came after the private Daily News earlier this week
printed a story -- which later proved untrue -- that President Robert Mugabe
attended a ruling party conference in South Africa.

      "They (Daily News) are endangering themselves," Jonathan Moyo told
state television. "They are digging their own graves and they look
determined not only to dig those graves but to also bury themselves."

      "Believe me, anything that needs to be banned should be banned and
will be banned. Nobody should entertain any foolish notions about that," he

      The comments come at a critical time for the country's independent
journalists and foreign correspondents, whose ability to carry on working
will be determined by a government media commission at the end of the month.
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Business Day

Zimbabwe fails to meet Libya's terms

HARARE - Zimbabwe's energy minister says that a vital fuel deal with Libya
includes conditions the fuel-starved Southern African country cannot meet.
Speculation has been rife in Zimbabwe that the deal with Libya, which
supplies 70% of the country's fuel needs, has collapsed.

Over the past two weeks, the fuel situation in the country has become

The admission by Energy Minister Amos Midzi came after President Robert
Mugabe at the weekend blamed fuel distribution companies, some of them
foreign-owned, for the crisis and threatened to nationalise them.

Under the deal with Libya Zimbabwe is permitted to pay for fuel in local

In return Libya has been allowed to invest in tourism and banking in
Zimbabwe and to obtain agricultural products such as beef, sugar, coffee and

"In terms of commodity trading, it has been very difficult, as all
honourable members are aware that some of the commodities that the Libyans
wanted to buy from Zimbabwe are in short supply," Midzi said.

Midzi said the shortages had contributed to the country's inability "to
clear the outstanding balance", but did not say the deal with Libya had

Petroleum is now almost unobtainable in the country, while diesel is running

A controversial land reform programme by the government has been blamed for
cutting agricultural output in Zimbabwe, once dubbed "the breadbasket of
southern Africa".

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Dear Friends

Below is a copy of the final statement from the recently held National Peace Building Convention.  Please distribute it among your networks.
Thank you


Crisis in Zimbabwe
P.O. Box CY 434  Causeway, Harare&
Phone: 793246/7
14 December 2002
Zimbabweans have had enough of violence, agreed church leaders and civil society actors gathered from across the country at a National Peace Convention in Bulawayo.  The group met from 13-14 December, 2002, to develop an action-oriented, non-partisan response to Zimbabwe’s growing crises and spiralling violence.
Church leaders resoundingly agreed to drive the peace process in their congregations, and civil society leaders committed to immediate responses to address the growing violence and intolerance in Zimbabwe.
The gathering was attended by over 300 people, including 8 bishops from a variety of denominations such as Catholic, Anglican, Brethren in Christ and Evangelical churches.  Over 70 pastors also attended.  In addition, delegates from over 50 civil society organisations (including women’s, youth, labour and municipal representatives) participated in the convention. 
The gathering opened up dialogue across denominational divides and outlined practical steps designed to address specific issues through a national Solidarity for Peace Accord.  The document is a framework for peace building in Zimbabwe, and sets out a code of conduct as well as procedures and mechanisms designed to mitigate violence.
Speaking with a united voice, church leaders and civil society actors identified the agenda of peace as a rallying point on which to win the struggle for democracy, eradicate violence, intolerance and polarisation, and allow for coexistence.
“We commit ourselves to working to achieve stability and to consolidating the peace process by the introduction of reconstruction actions aimed at addressing the worst effects of violence at a local level,” reads part of the national Solidarity for Peace Accord.
Discussion at the Convention also focused on the methodology and time frame required to establish a process of truth, justice and reconciliation in Zimbabwe.  Participants also raised the issue of regional solidarity and what Zimbabweans can do to draw support from the region and ensure that the country does not become isolated in its hour of crisis.   Delegates developed concrete action plans to tackle these issues, and the others raised at the convention.
Specifically, discussions about governance called for a restoration of democratic institutions and civil rights as well as the cessation of the politics of chaos witnessed over the last two years.  In his opening remarks, Reverend Charles Chiriseri urged participants to break the historical cycle of violence plaguing Zimbabwe.  He said, “we must shun stone age politics that base human relationships on who has a bigger stick to beat with or a larger stone to throw.  I urge you all, across all creeds, races, and ethnicities, to build relationships on respect, tolerance and human dignity.”
Participants agreed on the urgent need for agrarian reform, but insisted that it be a non-partisan, equitable and long-term process designed around national development, social stability and economic growth.
Linked to the agrarian reform debate was the issue of food security. Participants condemned the current partisan distribution of food aid which threatens over 8 million Zimbabweans with starvation.   Archbishop Pius Ncube of the Catholic Diocese of Bulawayo urged that immediate action be taken to feed starving Zimbabweans, sentiments which were echoed by Bishop Sitshebo of the Anglican Church Matabeleland.  Delegates established a taskforce to end the state monopoly on importation and distribution, and to promote the liberalisation of food importation to permit business, churches and civil society groups to help feed the nation. 
Participants labelled the AIDS pandemic a “crisis within the crisis,” as economic hardship, poor implementation of assistance programmes, and non-transparent disbursement of relief funds are exacerbating the suffering of those infected with and affected by HIV.  A call was made for government’s multisectoral approach to HIV/AIDS to be consolidated into an implementable plan of action agreed on by all stakeholders. Participants agreed that the action plan should be specific in offering support to people infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS.
Pastor Patson Netha of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa reiterated the commitment of church groups to bringing peace to Zimbabwe.  The convention, he said, “is not an event, but a process.  The church is coming together to stand and say ‘we have role to play in Zimbabwe, a prophetic, priestly, pastoral role as the conscience of the nation.” 
Netha affirmed the need for all church groupings, civil society organisations and concerned individuals to move beyond individual difference and unite in a commitment to immediate action and the creation of another Zimbabwe, with peace, truth and justice. 
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Business Day

Tsvangirai sees SA worsening crisis

International Affairs Editor

MORGAN Tsvangirai, leader of the Zimbabwean opposition party, the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), has "cast serious doubt" on the role of
President Thabo Mbeki as an honest broker in the crisis in his country.

This comes as Mbeki is preparing to send Foreign Minister Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma to Harare in an attempt to broker government talks with the

"SA has become part of the Zimbabwe problem because its actions are
worsening the crisis," Tsvangirai said in an address to his party's members
of parliament yesterday in Harare.

Tsvangirai said Britain and SA were working with the ruling party to get him
to the negotiating table with President Robert Mugabe about the country's

"I am reliably informed that Mugabe is prepared to meet me somewhere outside
the country to discuss his problems . Let me state here that the Anglo-SA
plan will fail to take off if it remains predicated on the desire to
legitimise the illegitimate Mugabe regime," he said.

Zanu (PF) broke off talks with the MDC in May after the opposition mounted a
court challenge to the Zanu (PF) victory in the March presidential

Tsvangirai's words mean that SA cannot draw support from the opposition for
what it says are its efforts to engineer talks between the MDC and Zanu

Tsvangirai said Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe had launched a campaign
with SA support in an attempt to find room to ease the pressures on Zimbabwe
that could be forthcoming at the next meeting of the Commonwealth "troika".

The troika of SA President Thabo Mbeki, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo
and Australian Prime Minister John Howard would meet in March next year to
consider whether or not Zimbabwe should be expelled from the Commonwealth.

Tsvangirai's tough criticism of Mbeki comes a day after a close associate of
Mugabe, the speaker of the country's parliament, Emmerson Mnangagawa, was
cheered by delegates at the African National Congress' conference in
Stellenbosch when he said that 11-million hectares of land had been
"acquired" by the government.

Tsvangirai said: "We know of attempts to reform Zanu (PF) and present a
rearranged set of faces to the world in an effort to win international

Even were Mugabe to step down, nothing would change unless the country's
fundamental problems were addressed. Any solution had to tackle "the burning
question" of the Zimbabwean government's legitimacy and make free and fair
elections a priority, Tsvangirai said.

The campaign involved Mugabe's attempt to meet him outside the country, the
MDC leader said. Such a meeting would remain "pie in the sky" unless Mugabe
stopped the politicisation of food, opened up the country to free political
activity and committed himself to dialogue, said Tsvangirai. With Sapa-AFP
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Business Day

      Fuel crisis gets worse as main supplies are cut

      Deliveries halted as Harare fails to pay cash
      Harare Correspondent

      ZIMBABWE's fuel crisis, which threatening to bring the economy to a
grinding halt, is deepening amid revelations that all main suppliers have
stopped deliveries because of government nonpayment.

      Fuel industry sources said yesterday that the situation had
deteriorated rapidly because government was failing to settle its mounting
debts and pay for the cash-on-delivery supplies.

      Official documents at hand show the government owes Tamoil Trading of
Libya up to US20m, the Independent Petroleum Group of Kuwait US65m, BP SA
U17,8m, Engen SA US12m, Mobil Africa US1,1m, Caltex US7,8m, Libya Arab
Foreign Bank US43m and the government of Botswana US4,4m.

      Zimbabwe also owes CFM railways US1,4m and BP Mozambique US1m for port
charges. Sasol has also stopped supplying because of nonpayment.

      Zimbabwe pays for fuel by short-term credit financing, cash and
long-term credit facilities. The Libyan Arab Foreign Bank and the Bank of
Negara of Malaysia are the country's major financiers.

      Talks with Tamoil officials to save the US360m deal collapsed on
Saturday after Zimbabwe refused to mortgage more state assets to the north
Africans for fuel.

      The failure of the talks also scuttled plans by Zimbabwe's state-run
fuel procurement agency, Noczim, to set up a joint venture company with
Tamoil to supply and distribute fuel in the country. The new company was to
have been called Tamoil-Zimbabwe.

      After the collapse of the dialogue, the Libyans insisted they would
supply fuel only on a cash basis.

      "There is a ship which has docked at the port of Beira in Mozambique
waiting for Zimbabwe to pay for the fuel," a source said. "But the
government has no money and the fuel may end up being diverted elsewhere."

      At the weekend President Robert Mugabe blamed the Libyan deal's
collapse on official incompetence and inefficiency. He also said Noczim
officials were sabotaging his efforts to resolve the crisis.

      Mugabe, who recently complained of "headaches and stomach aches"
because of scrounging for fuel day and night, has promised to get involved
personally to address the problem.

      In a bid to absolve the government, the state media have blamed Nozcim
for fuel shortages. They claimed US16m meant for fuel has not been accounted
for by Nozcim officials. However, Noczim MD Webster Muriritirwa has said he
was unaware of the missing money.

      The fuel task force involving industry and government said the
situation, serious for the past 10 days, was getting worse. "It has been
reported touts are selling petrol at vastly inflated prices to motorists in
petrol queues," it said. "This is illegal as the petrol and diesel price is
strictly controlled by government."

      Long fuel queues have of late been blocking streets in central Harare
and creating confusion in the central business district. Yesterday queues
blocked some main roads and disrupted traffic.

      The Movement for Democratic Change opposition said the crisis had
reached "alarming levels" and Mugabe should simply resign.

      Dec 19 2002 06:59:30:000AM  Dumisani Muleya Business Day 1st Edition
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Daily News

      Go now, Mugabe told

      12/19/2002 10:48:46 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporters

      Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday told MDC MPs that
President Mugabe was a total failure and called on him to resign
      Tsvangirai cited Zimbabwe's current critical fuel shortage as an
example of the government's failure.

      "The shortage of fuel has reached levels which cannot be tolerated any
further," he said. "The country is grinding to a halt. "The state of the
nation and the facts on the ground speak for themselves. Even Mugabe's
patron, Muammar Gaddafi, has abandoned his bankrupt client. In the eyes of
Gaddafi, Mugabe is no longer a puppet worthy of support."

      Tsvangirai said his understanding was that while the Libyans accepted
to be paid in local currency, they were charging for their fuel at the black
market rate.

      "So what is the advantage of such an arrangement?" he said. Tsvangirai
pointed out that the government had known since 1998 of the under-the-table
deals at the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe. He said: "It does not make
sense for this old man to start to blame his corrupt officials today. In
short, Mugabe must accept that he has failed. He must resign. He is aware
that the end of his regime is near."

      Tsvangirai suggested that as a temporary ruse to buy time Mugabe had
now embarked on a new desperate diplomatic initiative to save "his
illegitimate regime from inevitable collapse. This will be his fourth
diplomatic gamble." Immediately after the March 2002 presidential election,
described by the MDC leader as fraudulent, three diplomatic initiatives had
emerged, all of them targeted at the resolution of the crisis of governance
in Zimbabwe.

      "You will recall," Tsvangirai said, "that presidents Bakili Muluzi of
Malawi and Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique tried to put together what we saw
as a fishing expedition to persuade us to recognise Mugabe's fraud. The
initiative never took off the ground."

      He said South Africa and Nigeria had come up with a strategy,
conceived in the shadow of the Commonwealth Troika Initiative. The strategy
had suffered because of critical strategic differences on the way forward.
South Africa had been interested in the man-gement of the Zimbabwe crisis,
      not its resolution. Pretoria had seen a government of national unity
as a solution in a bid to legitimise Mugabe at all costs.

      "In pursuit of this objective, over the past eight months, several
high-ranking South African government and ANC officials have made public
statements and embarked on diplomatic activities which, cumulatively, are
specifically intended to blunt the modest international pressure which seeks
to make Mugabe account for his brutal misrule," Tsvangirai said. "They have
turned their so-called quiet diplomacy into noisy approval of the regime at
any international meeting at which the Zimbabwe crisis comes under

      Tsvangirai said the South Africans had routinely called for an end to
the isolation of the Zimbabwean government and the lifting of targeted
sanctions against Mugabe and his cronies. In fact, South Africa had become
part of the Zimbabwe problem because its actions were worsening the crisis.

      "Pretoria's policy has effectively cast serious doubt on the role of
President Thabo Mbeki as an honest broker in the rapidly deteriorating
situation and the deepening humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe today."

      Tsvangirai said the paralysis displayed by the Olusegun Obasanjo-Mbeki
initiative had been carried into and re-emerged in the subsequent
deliberations and decisions of the Commonwealth Troika. These initiatives,
however, lacked a common focus because they were purely a reflection of a
variegated understanding of the nature, magnitude and depth of the crisis
facing this nation.

      "Now that the Troika is set to review its position on Zimbabwe in a
few months' time, we have begun to witness a number of unsettling
developments with regards to the way forward," he said. "Mugabe is making
overtures to all in a bid to sneak out of the current squeeze. In public, he
attacks the British. But, while we all queue for scarce commodities here,
Mugabe is now getting his essential supplies and basic groceries, including
beef, bread and milk from London."

      Tsvangirai said at the same time, a cabal within Zanu PF, working with
some businessmen, had hatched a plan to protect Mugabe and his regime, for
political convenience, through a further militarisation of Zimbabwe.

      "One Colonel Lionel Dyke and his business associates are being used to
promote an agenda that seeks to legitimise the rogue regime," Tsvangirai
said. "The names of Emmerson Mnangagwa and General Zvinavashe keep on coming
up in this dirty plan which we are told was endorsed by Zanu PF, the British
and the South Africans," said Tsvangirai.

      General Vitalis Zvinavashe is the Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence
Forces, while Mnangagwa is the Speaker of Parliament whose name has often
been mentioned as the most eligible successor to Mugabe within Zanu PF.

      Dyke last night admitted he had held a recent meeting with Tsvangirai
as an emissary of Zvinavashe and Mnangagwa. "I went to see Tsvangirai last
Friday," Dyke said. "He said he and his party would vote for a change in the
Constitution that would allow Mugabe to go peacefully and would not force
elections for two years thereafter.

      "I took this message back to Zvinavashe." It is understood Dyke has
also established contacts with both Labour and Conservative politicians in
      London in a bid to canvass support for a new Zanu PF-military driven
political agenda. Up to the time of Zimbabwe's independence in 1980, Dyke
was commander of the Rhodesian African Rifles. After independence he was
assigned by the Mugabe government to form and command the first Zimbabwe
Parachute Battalion.

      He retired from the army in 1991 after working closely with the
current military leadership, some of whom he is said to maintain close links
      "I would like to see peaceful change in Zimbabwe," Dyke said last
night after he was asked to explain his personal involvement in the new
political developments, "and, as such, the vehicle of Zanu PF should be used
as part of a transition to peaceful change."

      During his address to MDC parliamentarians at the party's headquarters
yesterday, Tsvangirai said: "We are, therefore, confronted with this unholy
and strange triple alliance designed to neutralise the sovereign wishes of
the people of Zimbabwe.

      "The cutting edge is supposed to come in the form of a summit between
Robert Mugabe and myself (and) I am reliably informed that Mugabe is
prepared to meet with me somewhere outside the country to discuss his
problems." Tsvangirai said that the Anglo-South African plan would fail to
take off if the aim was to legitimise Mugabe's government.

      Reacting last night to Tsvangirai's address, Britain's Deputy High
Commissioner to Zimbabwe, Diane Corner, said: "The British Government has
consistently made clear that it wants to see a peaceful, prosperous and
democratic Zimbabwe. "It follows that we have no interest in 'neutralising
the sovereign wishes of the people of Zimbabwe'. Indeed, it has been the
central plank of British and European Union policy to see those wishes
freely and fairly expressed through the democratic process."
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Daily News

      Zimra confiscates $18m in forex

      12/19/2002 11:12:30 AM (GMT +2)

      From Brian Mangwende

      Zimbabwean authorities have confiscated more than Z$18 million from
the Asian business community in Mutare since the closure of foreign exchange
agencies a fortnight ago.

      Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officials said yesterday this
amount was in addition to the $50 million in local currency seized in the
past two months from illegal cross-border traders.

      In a combined operation with the Central Intelligence Organisation
agents, the Zimra officials reportedly raided the Asian businessmen's
premises and their homes in the city and seized foreign currency, including
British sterling, South African rand and United States dollars, worth Z$17
880 000 on parallel market rates.

      Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Zimra official confirmed the
raids, saying the officials seized £1 520 and US$9 000. He added that R7 400
amounting to $44 000 at the official exchange rate (about $1 036 000 on the
black market) was confiscated.

      "We conducted the operation against the Asians two weeks ago because
they are the ones largely dealing in forex," he said. "We confiscated
various amounts in foreign currency which we have forfeited to the Reserve
Bank. If anyone feels they have a justified reason why they are keeping that
money either at home or in their offices, they must put it in writing. Then
it will be up to the Reserve Bank officials either to give back the money or
confiscate it and give the equivalent in local currency at the official bank

      The official said in the past two months they had collected Z$1
million a day from the police and soldiers at the Grand Reef Infantry
Battalion in Mutare, money seized along the Forbes River Post in local
currency from illegal border traders.

      Asian businesspeople in Mutare have complained about the raids, saying
they were justified to keep foreign currency at home.One said: "My friend's
wife was to undergo an operation in South Africa and had been accumulating
forex, but now he is in a tight spot as his wife may no longer be able to
afford that operation."

      Meanwhile, earlier this month, police and Zimra officials seized about
$11 million from Edward Almeida, a Mozambican national, at the Forbes Border
Post. They suspected he intended to buy US dollars in Mozambique on the
black market.
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Daily News

      Ex-detainees expect to $80 000 gratuities

      12/19/2002 11:41:53 AM (GMT +2)

      From Sandra Mujokoro

      Ex-Political prisoners, detainees and restrictees expect to receive
$80 000 each as gratuity after the announcement at the sixth Zanu PF annual
conference in Chinhoyi last week.

      Esau Moyo, Matabeleland organising secretary of the Zimbabwe
Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees' Association (Zeppadra)
said they had a membership of 7 000, who would receive, in addition to the
gratuity, a monthly pension of $2 000.

      "This is what is contained in our proposal," said Moyo, "but we are
not going to pin down the government to this exact figure, but we will
      If the government agrees to pay each Zeppadra member $80 000, it could
come to more than $500 million.

      Although the number of vetted ex-political prisoners and detainees
stands at 7 000, Moyo said it was likely to rise to 17 000 if the government
agreed to include those who spent less than two years in detention or in

      Initially, only those who had spent more than two years in detention
or imprisonment were being considered. In 1998 they were promised the same
perks as war veterans.

      War veterans received a lump sum of $50 000 each as gratuity, and a
tax-free monthly pension of more than $8 000 for life. Moyo said while they
were pleased that they had finally been given the same status as the war
veterans in 1997, they were not happy that the widows of war veterans and
war collaborators were still struggling to obtain gratuities.

      "The people who died during the liberation struggle left behind
families who should be taken care of, and the government should seriously
consider doing something for them," said Moyo.He said the War Veterans Act
had been loosely drafted and needed to be amended as it excluded people
whose role was crucial to the success of the struggle.

      The payment of gratuities to ex-political prisoners and detainees is
likely to inflict more damage on an already anaemic economy. 14 November,
1997, the day on which the government paid out the war veterans gratuities,
was dubbed "Black Friday" after it caused the sudden and now inexorable fall
of the value of the dollar. About $5 billion was quickly printed for that
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Daily News

      Mudzuri condemns culture of violence

      12/19/2002 11:16:25 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      Engineer Elias Mudzuri, the Executive Mayor of Harare, last night
condemned what he termed a culture of violence that set people against each
other in the name of politics.

      Mudzuri said it was taboo in African culture for brothers and sisters
to fight each other.

      He said: "It is important for us to realise that our culture doesn't
allow us to brutalise each other."

      Mudzuri was speaking at a function to launch the All Africa Eye
Institute and to celebrate the Eyes for Africa's activities this year. Dr
Solomon Guramatunhu, Zimbabwe's renowned eye specialist, is the founder and
chairman of Eyes for Africa.

      He and other medical practitioners and volunteers have given sight to
thousands of Zimbabweans through free cataract surgery over the past decade.

      Eyes for Africa decided to form the All Africa Eye Institute following
the success of the Eyes for Africa programme. Mudzuri said Guramatunhu and
his colleagues were highly marketable and could have chosen to go and work
and live in luxury in other countries but they had instead chosen to stay
and help their own people.

      He said that was the African culture that people knew. Mudzuri said:
"I don't know where this new culture of lies has come from." In an apparent
reference to Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works
and National Housing's threat to fire the Harare City Council for alleged
partisanship and corruption in running the city's affairs, the mayor said:
"You cannot always be right."

      He said people should wake up from the culture of fear that seemed to
have gripped them. He said: "Those who are scared will always die
 suffering."He said there was a water problem in the city and he had written
enough about the issue but would still communicate with the residents on the

      Mudzuri said: "Let us not joke about the water we supply to four and a
half million people. It would be foolish for anyone to joke about it. If I
am wrong, then I should be crucified.

      "Those who are lying should be charged with treason." The City of
Harare supplies water to Chitungwiza, Ruwa, Epworth and Norton.Mudzuri
assured residents that the city would deliver treated water to them as long
as the required chemicals were available.
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Daily News

      Activists charged

      12/19/2002 11:44:41 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent

      Two MDC activists and two NCA members appeared in court last Friday
facing charges of contravening a section of the Public Order and Security
Act for allegedly inciting members of the public and workers to embark on a
mass stayaway in Masvingo last week.

      Ray Muzenda, the NCA provincial chairperson for Masvingo, Sungano
Zvarebwanashe, an NCA activist, Shaky Matake, the MDC provincial vice
chairman and Matthew Dondo, the party's provincial driver were not asked to
plead when they appeared before Masvingo magistrate Sunsley Zisengwe.

      The four were remanded to 29 January on $ 5 000 bail each.

      The court heard that on 8 December, the four accused persons
distributed pamphlets in Masvingo denouncing president Robert Mugabe for
causing the current food shortages and economic hardships.

      The state case is that the four allegedly encouraged a stayaway which
was intended to adversely affect the defence and economic interests of

      The activists were accused of publishing or communicating false
statements prejudicial to the state.

      Matake and Dondo were represented by Tongai Matutu of Matutu Kwirira
and Associates while Muzenda and Zvarebwanashe were represented by
Wellington Muzenda of Mwonzora and and Associates.

      Benson Taruvinga prosecuted.
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Daily News

      War vets evict 40 families

      12/19/2002 11:18:02 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent

      NEARLY 40 families, including 21 children below five years of age,
were evicted by the police and war veterans from land they occupied in
Cashel in the Chimanimani area, after they were accused of supporting the

      They fled to Mutare where they were received by Zimbabwe Human Rights
Association officials. They were later accommodated by the Anglican
      Diocese in Mutare.

      Another 22 children, aged between two and 11, were separated from
their families during the attacks and their whereabouts were unknown as of

      The gang, allegedly led by the Cashel police officer-in-charge
identified only as Inspector Masvongo, descended on the families and slashed
a least 10 hectares of maize they had planted on land which they occupied.
The attackers then allegedly torched several huts belonging to the victims,
stole grain, beans, blankets and cutlery worth thousands of dollars. "War
veterans came, led by Inspector Masvongo and Shepherd Kashiri, the chairman
of the lands committee, saying our time to leave the constituency was long
overdue," said Margaret Mangoba, one of the victims.

      Mangoba, 60, said tearfully: "They took away my grain, beans and other
property. They destroyed my house. Following the attacks, we approached the
district administrator who told us to return to our homes without fear. But
as soon as he left, the war veterans vowed to kill us if we dared to return
to Cashel."

      Masvongo could not be reached for comment, although Zacharia Mutize,
the deputy police spokesman in Manicaland, said he was unaware of the

      The families fled their homes and sought refuge in nearby mountains.
But the war veterans allegedly followed them into the mountains and beat
them up again, insisting they leave the constituency. Nhamo Matsiya, another
victim, said the incidents were reported to Roy Bennet, the MP for
Chimanimani (MDC), who provided transport to ferry their belongings. Bennet
offered part of his Charleswood Estate in Chimanimani to the victims until
the matter was resolved.

      At the church premises on Tuesday, the children were seen playing
around the yard while their mothers prepared food donated by well-wishers.
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Daily News

      Institute fails to process students' results

      12/19/2002 11:47:03 AM (GMT +2)

      By Colleen Gwari

      AS the deepening foreign currency crisis continues to take its toll on
the economy, a leading professional body, the Institute of Administration
and Commerce of Southern Africa (IACSA), Zimbabwe chapter, has failed to
process students results for the October 2002 session.

      The body said failure to remit $20 million in forex currency to the
mother body in South Africa, which had been outstanding for years resulted
in the failure to release results.

      An IACSA official based in Harare told The Daily News that a severe
forex crisis had dealt them a blow and to date, South African examined
papers have not yet been marked.

      She said the situation was critical and desperate bids to get the
mother body process results had failed.

      "Those in South Africa are demanding that we pay our dues that
regrettably, we cannot because of the foreign currency problem. At the
moment South African examined papers are not yet ready and we do not know
when they will be released."

      In a notice to students and members, the IACSA said "Due to
circumstances beyond our control some of the October 2002 results are going
to be released in mid January 2003. However the locally set exam results
will be released on Thursday, 19 December 2002."

      The body offers a wide range of business management courses
encompassing graduate diplomas in marketing, accounting and administration.
      Zimbabwe has been hard hit by a severe foreign currency crisis which
has seen the economy deteriorate further.

      Industry has been the hardest hit as most manufacturing companies can
no longer import essential raw materials and equipment.

      As a result, some have shut down and moved to better investment
destinations while thousands have been left jobless. Economic analysts said
come next year, the situation was set to get worse as all sectors of the
economy would crumble. Despite the economic turmoil, the ruling Zanu PF
government has remained arrogant, further worsening relations with the
international and donor community. Slowly, but surely the country was
grinding to a halt owing to a fuel shortage which has seen the majority
failing to travel to their various destinations. Compounding the fuel crisis
was food and basic commodities shortages which have become a norm to the
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      Controlling people's minds is no easy job

      12/19/2002 11:24:12 AM (GMT +2)

      By Marko Phiri

      FOR people who attended the public meeting convened by Bulawayo Agenda
on 6 December 2002 at the Small City Hall, Bulawayo, it must have been
somewhat of a mild shock when they read that Paul Siwela and George
Mkhwananzi who addressed the gathering had been arrested under the obnoxious
Public Order and Security Act (POSA). Mild because such has come to be
expected from this regime.

      The meeting had been called to address the contents of the
not-so-secret 14-page document which celebrates and seeks to propagate Shona
ethnic elitism. They are alleged to have made subversive statements. What
the arrest proves is that the government will not take any candid,
no-holds-barred talk from the few among us valiant enough to stand up and
publicly express those thoughts.

      And the interesting bit, however, is that, what was discussed that day
by all the speakers essentially read like the sentiments of one person,
never mind that eventually it was only two people arrested! If any signs
were needed that this country has indeed sunk to the depths of a police
state, these arrests and many others before them ought to provide ample
truth in that regard.

      But the folly of the ruling party, under whose spell the police force
operates, is that it does not realise that behaviour like the arrest of
Siwela and Mkhwananzi only helps in achieving one thing: further incensing
the people of Bulawayo against Zanu PF. Thus, the party will always be
unwelcome in that part of the country.

      Siwela and Mkhwananzi have become popular formers of opinion and
obviously their arrest could well trigger what the ruling party might just
be looking for: popular revolt and then cite the subversive statements as
having fomented the unrest. The truth, however, would be the other way
round, that it is the arrests themselves which triggered the uproar!

      What the people usually invited to speak in these public meetings
almost always tend to say are issues that the gathering greets with approval
and applause. It would, therefore, mean the police - or is it the ruling
party? - should also arrest these people.

      That it is merely one person expressing what is anyway public
sentiment is nothing but a travesty of the worst order seeing that
imprisoning that individual does not in any way kill the thought shared with
those remaining outside the prison walls.

      But then flawed reasoning has always been the hallmark of many a
dictatorship. It could be that the police seeing the futility of rounding up
all the people applauding one accused of making subversive statements,
decide it was much prudent to punish the messenger! Yet in the true fashion
of martyrs, their spirit lives on beyond the walls, and if anything, that
sentiment is egged on by the incarceration of the men and women who stand up
and speak the people's language.

      It was curious that Special Affairs Minister John Nkomo did not make
it to the public meeting as he had been scheduled to share the podium with
these men who were arrested as soon as the meeting closed. It would have
been interesting to know how he would have reacted to their arrest right in
front of him. Would he have stepped in to say: "If you are going to arrest
these men, arrest me on the charge of guilty by association because I sat
and shared the table with them!" as this would have been as good as breaking
bread with evildoers. He had been scheduled to give the government's
response to the document that has provided the government with ammunition
against its usual suspects, the MDC and the British government of Tony

      The delivery of the MDC MP Moses Mzila was just as emotionally charged
as was that of the arrested Siwela and Mkhwananzi, but then this anomaly
that he escaped arrest can only be explained by the arresting officers
themselves. Or perhaps the idea is to give the MDC a deserved break seeing
its MPs have been making unwarranted visits to police cells with alarming

      The arrests themselves could also be means toward discouraging civic
groups from convening public meetings where the state of the economy,
politics and Zanu PF are openly discussed.

      Would Bulawayo Agenda, Habakkuk Trust and others be too eager to call
those meetings seeing that people they invite might as well have blind dates
with hard-core criminals in the local jail cells?

      Or still, this itself could also take the steam out of many would-be
speakers as they grow goose bumps thinking they could be the ones we read
about in the Press arrested for making subversive statements.

      Thus public debate would then have been successfully killed by the
ruling party. That seems to be the party's grand plan, thus it has been
opined that in Zimbabwe there is freedom of expression, but no freedom after
expression! But for how long is Zanu PF going to suppress free expression
and give up its attempts to control minds?

      Perhaps the next thing this newspaper ought to do is serialise another
Orwellian masterpiece, 1984, and let people in on this contemporary Big
Brother nightmare. In any case, how is a subversive statement defined? Can
our learned police officers be trusted with understanding the finer
interpretation of the law they are supposed to enforce? Or they merely take
orders from politicians?

      Remember Chafukwa Chihana in Malawi before the miserable close of the
Banda dictatorship? He hit the headlines as an opposition politician jailed
by the Kamuzu regime under sedition charges, but we know there never was any
incident that threatened the peace in Malawi, or plunged the country into
civil strife back then to give credence to the charges that were brought
against Chihana.

      But then that is the story of African politics, anyone who stands up
to speak the truth is charged with fomenting rebellion against the
government! Banda lost the presidency despite all these efforts to stifle
free thought, so one then would wonder how that part of Malawian history,
and indeed many more African states, will not form part of Zimbabwe's own
history in the march towards democracy.
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      Mugabe's racist diatribe discredits all citizens

      12/19/2002 11:22:49 AM (GMT +2)

      AT the sixth people's conference of his Zanu PF in Chinhoyi last week,
President Mugabe launched into his customary racist diatribe.

      As usual, he threatened to punish the white citizens if the Western
governments continued to condemn his racist, violence-soaked reign of

      These outbursts have become so familiar most people can practically
predict word for word what he will say next. The man has become so
predictable his attacks on Tony Blair, the West, the white commercial
farmers and the white citizens of Zimbabwe in general could be boring if
they weren't as chilling as Adolf Hitler's verbal abuse of the Jews before
The Holocaust.

      But like Hitler, he may be so wrapped up in his fantasy of the Black
Knight in Shining Armour out to slay the Racist Dragon, he may not realise
what he is doing until the country faces the choice of restoring the rule of
law and the dignity of every citizen or plunging deeper into lawlessness and
international isolation.

      A few days after he spoke in Chinhoyi, there was an incident on a
Beatrice farm, during which a white farmer was humiliated by a group of
so-called war veterans.

      How the leader of a country which professes to embrace the rule of law
in all its niceties can countenance such lawlessness can only be explained
by the utter lack of direction that now haunts Zanu PF.

      To stoop to using innocent children to publicly spout racist invective
is an indication of how totally aimless that once internationally
respectable party has become.

      Mugabe's obsession with Tony Blair, the British and the West in
general is obviously an attempt to divert attention from his own failure to
run the country.

      On the fuel crisis, there is now so much buck-passing, many must be
reminded of a falling-out of thieves. Who is responsible for the bungling?
      The National Oil Company of Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Finance and
Economic Development or the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe? Or is it the President

      For the more simple-minded delegates at the conference in Chinhoyi, it
may have sounded perfectly legitimate to blame everything on the whites.
      But not all Zimbabweans are that starry-eyed about Mugabe's talent for

      The white population is now so depleted that to speak of it as a
threat to the security or sovereignty of Zimbabwe would be to stand
statistics on their head.

      Those who remain may be few, but they are people dedicated to seeing
the country recover from its present crisis, mostly out of sheer personal
interest because they have no other home to go to.

      Mugabe would be well-advised to turn his attention fully to the
discontent simmering on the surface among black Zimbabweans. He, his party
and many other people have always relied on the docility of the people not
to raise a finger of protest against the abuse of their rights.But there is
always a breaking point.

      Most Zimbabweans know that the cause of their hunger, the lack of
fuel, foreign currency, foreign aid and basic commodities at affordable
prices does not lie in Number 10 Downing Street or Buckingham Palace in

      It lies in Munhumutapa Building and at State House in Harare. When
their breaking point is reached, they will know where to go to protest.
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      Zimbabwe needs action and not words

      12/19/2002 11:35:40 AM (GMT +2)

      I closely followed the recent Zanu PF Sixth People's Conference at
Chinhoyi from the very first day to its grand finale because I wanted to see
whether or not the organisers of that occasion had similar perceptions about
our country's problems as mine.

      The conference was held at a time when Zimbabwe is facing a very
frightening socio-economic crisis. The nation is literally grinding to a
halt because of critical shortages of various most essential commodities
such as foodstuffs, fuel, seed, medicines and goodwill.I expected the
conference to devote most of its time to analysing the causes of the
socio-economic problems, and identify possible solutions. I thought
delegates would try to establish why Zimbabwe has become the worst economy
in the Sadc region.

      The country has a crushing level of inflation - at 144-plus percent,
it is the highest in the Sadc region. Unemployment is at 70 percent, and
economic growth is negative. The Aids pandemic is playing havoc with the
population, so is famine.The national political climate is anything but
conducive to the development of amity and economic prosperity. It is so
deeply imbued with mutual hostility, racialism and inter-communal suspicion
that in some centres, children have been trained, indoctrinated and induced
to hate and even physically attack their parents or guardians.

      I was most hopeful that the delegates would highlight the vital need
for national reconciliation, not just between former PF Zapu and Zanu PF,
but also between all the people of Zimbabwe, irrespective of their skin
pigmentation, race, religion or tribe. I thought, I did not say I "hoped",
that President Mugabe would be morally big enough to accept that his
government has failed the nation dismally, and that it was time some other
administration took over the reins of power to try to breathe some new life
into the nation's body politic, economy and social life.

      That was not to be. Mugabe went to town against the British Prime
Minister, Tony Blair, and the United States President, George W Bush, and
the MDC.

      It has always been strange to me that Mugabe seems never to miss an
opportunity to castigate Blair and Bush, asking particularly Blair to leave
him and his Zimbabwe alone.

      It is very seldom that Blair says more than a sentence or two, if at
all, about Mugabe in his speeches. If Bush and Blair devoted as much time to
criticising Mugabe and his administration as Mugabe does to criticising
them, his repeated onslaught against them would be justified.

      I do not see how Mugabe's fulmination against these two foreign
leaders can help to create jobs in Zimbabwe, or how it can deliver medicines
to our hospitals and clinics, or how it can source food and fuel for the
nation, or how it can curb the nation's runaway inflation.

      These are the immediate problems facing the country, and they require
urgent solutions. Blair and Bush have nothing to do with the immobilising
foreign currency shortage prevailing in Zimbabwe, nor have they anything to
do with the resultant shortage of fuels - petrol, diesel and paraffin.
      So, why waste so much valuable time trying to create scapegoats
instead of crafting meaningful solutions to our everyday problems the vast
majority of which we ourselves caused?

      I think that the nation should be honest with itself and come to terms
with the reality among us. It is simply that Zanu PF has run out of ideas to
improve the quality of life in Zimbabwe.

      It has not, however, run out of ideas and plans to cling to political
power at any cost. That is the stark reality facing the people of Zimbabwe.
      The solution to this tragedy lies in, first and foremost, accepting
that we, and only we, can and should solve this our national problem. Let us
stop day-dreaming by looking for saviours from outside our borders.

      Let us also accept that worse hardship than what we have already
experienced is inevitable. That hardship may include death, imprisonment,
hunger, thirst, physical and verbal abuse, denial and deprivation of our
rights. The questions we should ask ourselves are: How should we form as
strong a united front as is humanly possible in these circumstances? Do the
existing political, religious, trade union, sports, professional, cultural
and civic organisations have the actual or potential capacity to bring about
such a change?

      If so, can they be mobilised to form a front to salvage the nation
from this palpable socio-economic rot? If not, is it not high time all
patriotic Zimbabweans, and I mean genuinely patriotic, came together to save
the country from this most tragic situation? It is disheartening that a
nation with as large a number of highly educated people as Zimbabwe can
allow itself to be dragged into a socio-economic disaster such as we are
facing now.

      This is not the time for empty political words and slogans, but for
constructive socio-economic strategies to reduce the country's massive
unemployment, devastating inflation, impoverishing and immobilising lack of
foreign currency, the intolerable Aids pandemic, famine-causing shortage of
consumer commodities, and for the elimination of politics of hate, cruelty
and greed.

      All of us, every right-thinking Zimbabwean, owe it to this nation to
make a patriotic resolution as we usher in the New Year to liberate
ourselves from this grinding poverty, man-induced misery and fear.

      It is important to remember that a nation of cowards is easy to
enslave, and that freedom is always striven for because it is not free.
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Dear Fellow Zimbabweans,

Times are tough for us all! Last week I spent over 24 hours in queues and as
the weekend approaches I know that I will once again be queue bound if I am
to have petrol in my car over the festive season.

Yes, it is called the festive season - but how many of us are feeling

We mostly feel robbed (of our rights) and raped (of our optimism). It is
with great trepidation that I face the weekend queuing as news has reached
me of armed war veterans controlling petrol queues in both Harare and
Bulawayo. I believe that they are allowing commuter omnibuses to jump the

With all this hustle and bustle, chaos and confusion of Zimbabwean
existence, I am reminded of the story of Mary and Joseph as they made their
way to Bethlehem. It was census time and they had no choice but to comply.
Their journey was made on foot and by kind favour of a donkey. Added to this
was the pressure of having to find shelter for the night when it was in
short supply.

They settled for a manger and with humility and grace brought forth a
Saviour - Jesus Christ.

Please do not loose sight of the spiritual dimension. No matter what
religion you are - you observe that there is a supreme being who, in his own
time and in his own way he will make his presence felt and will help
Zimbabweans to return to a positive path where good is good and bad is bad.
Many of us are numb and spend our days sleepwalking our way through.

Read through this address by Morgan Tsvangirai (18 Dec) and if you can
listen to the state of the nation address by President Robert Mugabe at
2:30pm today (Thursday). He may say something pertinent to our being a
nation of 'queuers' but even if he pretends these issues do not exist he
will have 'spoken volumes' by the omission.

A trick to being able to remain updated on political developments whilst
still maintaining a modicum of sanity is to read every word with discipline
and academically conceptualise what the words mean - it is a matter of
schooling yourself.

I am not a politician, but I am a student of politics because like it or not
politicians run countries. I am a Zimbabwean and therefore make it my
business to keep briefed and to brief others.

The time will soon come for women, in their gentle and determined manner to
take action. We must make our male political leadership realise that our
families cannot suffer in silence and that patience is not digestible for
humans or cars!


Jenni Williams

p.s. I have received quite a number of emails requesting to join the
Zimbabweans Women's mailing list -  please apply by emailing me
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Thursday, 19 December, 2002, 16:27 GMT

Fuel crisis makes Zimbabwe dig deep

 Zimbabwe is spending US$15m (£8.7m) of its desperately scarce foreign
currency reserves on fuel imported from Kuwait and South Africa, to
alleviate a shortage which has almost brought the country to a standstill.
The move was announced in the government-controlled Herald newspaper by
Energy and Power Development Minister Amos Midzi, who said the supplies
would arrive "in the coming days".
For two weeks, a critical lack of fuel has taken public buses off the
streets, dealing yet more damage to an economy already in crisis.
The embattled government of President Robert Mugabe threatened over the
weekend to nationalise privately-held petrol stations owned by foreign oil
giants such as BP, Mobil and Caltex.
The government has yet to make clear where the foreign currency is going to
come from to pay Kuwait's IPG and South Africa's Engen Petroleum.
Evaporating exports
Zimbabwe has had problems obtaining sufficient fuel for several years, no
least because it lacks the ability to pay for it.
Agriculture has been disrupted by the seizure of most commercial farms for
redistribution to landless black farmers.
As a result, the export earnings from a country once seen as the breadbasket
of Southern Africa have evaporated.
The mismatch between an official exchange rate of Z$55 to the US dollar and
a "parallel market" rate now spiralling towards 2,000 means that where
possible, businesses keep their foreign earnings out of the country.
A fuel deal with Libya which allowed payment in local currency and produce
is near collapse because the beef, sugar, coffee and tobacco Harare promised
in return is too scarce to send.
The deal, intended to deliver 70% of Zimbabwe's fuel needs, is also allowing
Libyans access to some of the farmland in theory intended for the landless.
And Libya is also keen on taking over pipelines held by state oil company
Noczim, as well as other government assets.
Mr Midzi is resisting the temptation to raise fuel prices, saying it would
hit Zimbabwean consumers already stricken by severe food shortages
exacerbated by price controls.
He also defended the conduct of Noczim, whose officials have been accused in
the Herald of wanting to scrap the Libya deal.
Instead, the Herald alleged, they wanted to return to spot deals which would
bring them foreign currency to trade on the parallel market.
Zimbabwean economists have long accused the government of refusing to
devalue in part because of the profits to be made by sustaining the parallel
rates while controlling the main source of foreign currency.
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ROBERT I. ROTBERG: Zimbabwe's Mugabe makes more misery
Copyright © 2002 Nando Media
Copyright © 2002 Christian Science Monitor Service

The Christian Science Monitor

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (December 19, 8:45 a.m. PST) - Last week, the 2 million
inhabitants of Harare, Zimbabwe, woke up to a new sign of societal collapse:
No water flowed down the city pipes. President Robert Mugabe's men had run
out of cash to pay for chemical disinfectants and to fuel the pumps.

Zimbabwe is in critical condition, thanks to the despotic greed of its aging
dictator. This week in Harare and Bulawayo, the country's largest and once
wealthy southern cities, there are massive shortages of gasoline and almost
anything else purchased with foreign exchange. Locally produced cooking oil,
sugar, corn flour, meat and vegetables are also scarce. Gas stations are
either shut or show long lines of hopeful drivers. Supermarkets display
endless rows of toilet paper in the absence of edible goods.

"It is hot and the town is strewn with bad-tempered queues of desperate
people trying to go about their everyday business," says an e-mail from a
frustrated Harare resident.

In the countryside, the prospect of starvation is real - 6 million or 7
million people are at risk, primarily because Mr. Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe
African National Union-Patriot Front (ZANU-PF) systematically denies even
donated food to peasants or town dwellers who live in areas that voted
against him.

Yet, because of massive media restrictions, very little of what is going on
in Zimbabwe is being reported. Foreign correspondents are rare, local
reporters are harassed and jailed and newspapers bombed. The tragedy of
Zimbabwe must be pieced together from reliable e-mail messages and telephone
calls and close examination of the national budget and conditions on the

Zimbabwe has always fed itself and exported corn and wheat to its neighbors.
But the government's invasion of commercial farms reduced productivity by 70
percent. Shortages of rainfall in some areas compounded the problem. The
government exported stockpiled corn from previous years, and then
confiscated private caches of grain, which it sold to the party faithful.

In three years, Zimbabwe's GDP per capita has fallen by 30 percent.
Government budget deficits are the highest in the world, over 20 percent of
GDP. Zimbabwe's annual per capita GDP has fallen from well over $600 per
person in 1998 to $300 this year. Inflation, running at 38 percent last
year, is now a punishing 200 percent. One U.S. dollar, six months ago
capable of buying 150 Zimbabwe dollars, can now purchase 2,000 Zimbabwe
dollars on the black market. About 60 percent of adult Zimbabweans have no
jobs and no prospects now that commercial farming has been shut down and
mining and manufacturing are slumping.

Mugabe pays for his personal and family corruption, for party patronage and
goods for the party faithful, for the farm invasions and for his brutal
security forces by siphoning foreign exchange earnings from tobacco exports,
banks and insurance companies and anything else that can be grabbed in the
ramshackle, bankrupt society that Zimbabwe has become.

The only real savior has been Libya, which supplied desperately needed
petroleum and cash in exchange for valuable farmland. But Libyan patience
has now run out. Zimbabwe can no longer even pretend to pay for fuel and
other imports; hence the dry pipes in Harare.

Mugabe last week threatened more Pol Pot-like attacks on the economic
pillars of his country and on his beleaguered opponents. More misery is on
the way. A change for the better will come about only if his patronage dries
up and his party deserts him, the hungry rise up, the army switches sides,
he dies or is incapacitated, or - improbably - Washington, London and
Pretoria intervene to free the Zimbabwean people from their own

Robert I. Rotberg is director of Harvard University's Program on Intrastate
Conflict at the Kennedy School and president of the World Peace Foundation.
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Source: World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), December 12, 2002

      The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT
intervention in the following situation in Zimbabwe.

      The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), a member of the
OMCT network, of the release of the nine trade union leaders belonging to
the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) arrested on December 9, 2002 in
Harare, Zimbabwe.

      According to the information received, in a court hearing on December
11, 2002, the judge rejected the prosecutor's plea that the nine trade
unionists detained since December 9 be charged under the Public Order and
Security Act (POSA). It is reported that the police released the detainees
after this ruling, but threatened to rearrest them under the provisions of
the POSA, although this contradicts earlier statements from President Mugabe
and the ruling party that the POSA would not be used against trade unions.

      Moreover, it is reported that one of the detainees, Mr. Wellington
Chibebe, General Secretary of the ZCTU was beaten with a broom during his
detention in a police cell in Harare. The information received also relates
that the police threatened to "remove or eliminate" him if he did not resign
as ZCTU's General Secretary.


      According to the information received, while trade unionists were
taking part in the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)' annual review
symposium on December 9, 2002, the police intervened at around 5 pm and
arrested nine trade unionists.

      These arrests allegedly came against a background of sharp economic
decline in Zimbabwe and on the eve of a December 10 national strike called
by a coalition of civic groups and supported by the ZCTU, allegedly
involving tens of thousands of workers, though it is reported that the
meeting was not related to this strike action.

      Please write to the Zimbabwean authorities urging them to:

      1. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and
psychological integrity of Mr. Wellington Chibebe;

      2. Guarantee an immediate investigation into the circumstances of his
injuries, identify those responsible, bring them before a competent and
impartial civil tribunal and apply the penal, civil and/or administrative
sanctions provided by law;

      3. Guarantee the respect for economic, social and cultural rights and
labour rights of the workers, including the right to work, the right to fair
wages guaranteeing a decent living for the workers and their families, the
right to form and join trade unions and the right to strike.


      President Robert Mugabe
      Fax: 263 4 79 03 16 / 263 4 73 46 44.

      Mr. Dumiso Dabenjwa
      Home Affairs Ministry
      Fax: 263 4 72 67 16.

      Embassy of Zimbabwe
      1608 New Hampshire Ave NW
      Washington, DC 20009
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Mugabe urges Zimbabwe business to help ease crisis

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, Dec. 19 - President Robert Mugabe appealed on Thursday to Zimbabwe's
business community, which he has regularly accused of sabotaging government
policies, to help ease crippling food shortages and an economic crisis.
       Nearly half the country's 14 million people are short of food. Mugabe
blames drought but his critics say the real fault is with seizures of
white-owned commercial farms in what used to be the regional breadbasket.
       ''I appeal especially to our corporate citizens to play a visible,
responsible and meaningful role to complement the government effort,'' the
president said in an end-of year address to parliament.
       ''The man and woman standing in need of food cannot apply himself or
herself when he or she is concerned about where the next family meal (is
coming from),'' 78-year-old Mugabe said.
       He said household food stocks had practically run out in most areas
and that imports had had to meet the gap.
       In what appeared to be a message to foreign donors worried about
unjust allocation of food to his supporters, he said aid would go to the
needy ''strictly on the basis of their numbers and survival needs across the
       Mugabe urged beneficiaries of his controversial land reform drive to
repay the country through increased agricultural production, saying Zimbabwe
had paid heavily for the programme.
       ''We have been criticised for doing the right, namely accomplishing
the sovereign mission of acquiring our heritage,'' he said.
       Mugabe's 30-minute speech was boycotted by members of the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Mugabe made no direct
reference to a severe fuel shortage that has almost paralysed the southern
African country.
       He lashed out again at former colonial power Britain, accusing Prime
Minister Tony Blair of running an hysterical propaganda campaign aimed at
demonising his leadership.
       ''Britain's relentless campaign of vilifying and isolating our
country has hit a frenzy only matched by its futility.
       ''There is a growing recognition that this Blair-led anti-Zimbabwe
drive is as unjustified as it is spiteful,'' he said.
       Britain says Mugabe is trying to divert the spotlight from his
government's human rights abuses, political repression and election rigging.
       A Zimbabwe cabinet minister said the country had ordered fuel worth
over $15 million from Kuwait and South Africa to ease the shortage.
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