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Mugabe As Predictable As Rising Sun

Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

November 29, 2002
Posted to the web December 1, 2002

Lance Guma

HISTORY is littered with events that clearly show Robert Mugabe was always a
dictator - mind, body and soul. Since assuming the captaincy of the
Zimbabwean ship in April 1980, Mugabe has never tolerated opposition to his
rule in whatever form. Political scientists contend he set sail well but
somehow lost the compass midway hence the sinking ship. Events however tell
a different story.

That Mugabe was at one time the darling of the international community is
not in doubt. A well-pronounced reconciliation policy, advances in
education, health and the provision of social services enabled him to mask
his intolerance of internal opposition and deferred for sometime the
unmasking of his true colours.

Four months after democratically assuming power in 1980, Mugabe then prime
minister, signed an agreement with the North Korean government led by
President Kim II Sung, providing for the Koreans to train a brigade in the
Zimbabwean army to, in Mugabe's words, "combat malcontents".

While the rest of the world celebrated Zimbabwe's hard-won Independence,
Mugabe was already planning how to crush the opposition.

Despite the existence of a police force and army that could easily contain
any civil unrest, 106 Koreans arrived in August 1981 pursuant to the August
1980 agreement to train what would become the infamous 5 Brigade. Wearing
red berets to distinguish them from the regular army, the brigade, drawn
from 3 500 ex-Zanla troops butchered over 20 000 people living in the
southern parts of Zimbabwe believed to be opposition supporters.

Mugabe christened the new brigade Gukurahundi, which loosely translated
means "the rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains".

The opposition PF-Zapu led by the late nationalist Dr Joshua Nkomo had won a
sizeable number of seats in the new parliament and clearly fitted the
description of "chaff" as it stood between him and total domination. A state
of emergency in place since 1965 was maintained by Mugabe for a decade until
July 1990, an ominous sign that nothing was changing except the colour of
the new ruler's skin.

The Gukurahundi era began to define the role of particular organisations in
the maintenance of Mugabe's smartly disguised but brutal "life presidency".
These were the Youth Brigade, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO),
the Police Internal Security Intelligence Unit, the Police Support Unit, the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and the army. All these organisations
relied heavily on archaic and abhorrent colonial legislation to subvert
justice. Up to now these organisations continue to play an integral role in
keeping Mugabe in power using the same legislation now spruced up by hired
"professors" - the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the
Public Order and Security Act and the Broadcasting Act which grants the
state broadcaster an embarrassingly naked monopoly over the airwaves.

In the run up to the 1985 election the Zanu PF Youth Brigade,
ideologically-modelled on the Chinese Red Guard, rampaged throughout the
country beating up mainly Ndebele speakers who were presumed to support
Nkomo's PF-Zapu. They carried out mob beatings, burnt homes and murdered
innocent civilians while responding to Mugabe's chilling call to "go and
uproot the weeds from your gardens". Nothing has changed. The Youth Brigade
now being officially trained at Border Gezi Training Centre under the guise
of "national service" are doing the same to MDC supporters across the

Evidence is mounting that Mugabe, worried about imagined retributions when
he leaves the scene, wants to fiddle with the constitution but can only gain
a two thirds majority by eliminating MDC MPs and rigging the resulting

The latest tragic addition to the long list of examples is the suspicious
death of Learnmore Jongwe, the opposition's former spokesman and legislator,
in remand prison awaiting trial for allegedly stabbing his wife to death in
a domestic dispute. At the time of his arrest government went out of its way
to spread the falsehood that the former student leader and lawyer wanted to
commit suicide soon after the incident as an advance pretext for denying him
bail using a compromised judiciary. Speculation is also rife that they
offered him an "information for freedom" deal which he turned down. It is
now clear his being kept in custody was to fulfil the grand plan of reducing
MDC legislators whether by hook or by crook.

This sad era in the history of Zimbabwe exposes Mugabe's penchant for
rewarding evil. The commander of 5 Brigade Perence Shiri at the time, who
presided over the atrocities later described as "a moment of madness" by
Mugabe himself, is now air marshall, the supreme head of Zimbabwe's
Airforce. Mugabe's other henchmen through this period, the current Speaker
of Parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Defence minister, Sydney Sekeramayi,
are his closest aides and have survived numerous reshuffles. The two are
being touted as the leading contenders for the Zimbabwean throne.

Zanu PF's current tactic of whimsically arresting opposition leaders on
charges ranging from inciting violence, murder and treason without ever
securing a conviction can also be traced to this period in history. In 1982
Dumiso Dabengwa, Lookout Masuku and four others, faced treason charges which
were later quashed by the Supreme Court for lack of credible evidence.
Mugabe accused Dabengwa of writing a letter to Soviet leader Michail
Gorbachev asking for assistance to topple Mugabe. The Soviets however denied

Despite a Supreme Court order Dabengwa and Masuku were redetained and spent
four years in custody without trial courtesy of Mugabe's often abused
"emergency regulations". Masuku died a few weeks after his release and
Dabengwa was rewarded with a cabinet post in a unified government much
later. Masuku was belatedly declared a national hero after intense lobbying
forced a guilt-ridden Mugabe to appease the Matabeleland region he had
abused for so long.

The late Dr Joshua Nkomo and Rev Ndabaningi Sithole, father figures in
Zimbabwean nationalism, both faced charges of trying to kill Mugabe despite
evidence to the contrary. MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai is facing similar
charges. Zanu PF has perfected the art of manufacturing events to justify
any excesses they may commit. The discovery of arms caches in February of
1982 which soured the integration of Zipra and Zanla forces into one army
had all the makings of a manufactured event, coming fresh after the
Entumbane Uprising in which the two sides fought each other for two days.
Evidence clearly showed government had planted the arms to gain a pretext
for unleashing the 5 Brigade.

The kidnapping and murder in 1982 of six foreign tourists was also
suspicious as it allowed the regime to effect past colonial immunity laws
that protected members of the security forces from prosecution if they
committed any crimes. Similarly, the murder of Bulawayo war veteran leader,
Cain Nkala had all the makings of an inside job but it allowed Mugabe the
much-needed mileage to brand the MDC a terrorist organisation. The death was
of no material benefit to the opposition.

If the world is surprised at Mugabe's behaviour, it is because it failed to
understand his intolerance from the word go. Mugabe is as predictable as the
rising sun and none know this more than those who have borne the brunt of
his brutality. The saying that history repeats itself because we are not
paying attention the first time is given credence by the story of Mugabe.

Lance Guma is a former secretary-general of the National Union of Students
in Polytechnics.
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Eclipse - Tradition Fades As Day Turns to Night

Sunday Times (Johannesburg)

December 1, 2002
Posted to the web December 1, 2002

Bafana Khumalo

AS DAYLIGHT turns to instant night in the small Northern Province town of
Musina, the event will not have much significance for the "black" part of

"I don't know much about the sun; I'm just here for the concert," says
27-year-old Eliza Ramphabana. Hers is a common refrain in the town that will
be the centre of this year's solar eclipse. Two soldiers stationed at the
nearby Beit Bridge border post shake their hands when asked about the
significance of the eclipse.

This is in contrast with African folklore. Traditional healer Emily Morolane
says: "These days, people don't show the respect which they are supposed

Traditional African beliefs, according to retired professor of anthropology
Victor Ralushai, hold that a solar eclipse is "the passing of the supreme
god Nwali from the Matoko Hills in Zimbabwe to Makonde in Venda to give
messages to the people of Venda".

As Nwali crosses the sun, he casts a shadow, bathing the day in momentary
darkness. This event is supposed to be treated with reverence, with people
sitting down and not looking at the sun.

Apart from Nwali, the eclipse has always signified the beginning of a new
era, a better life for all, says Florence Ndou, a traditional healer who
lives in the township of Nancefield, on the outskirts of Musina. Ndou also
says that Nwali's passing-by gives strength to her medicines.

Even though eclipses are traditionally solemn affairs, tourist
establishments in the Musina area have been celebrating an early festive
season, with most bed-and-breakfasts and lodges fully booked.

"We were booked out two years ago," says Dean Warren, manager of a hunting
lodge 10km south of Musina. He has organised events for the throngs of
people expected at the lodge.

Other businesses have also devised commercial spin-offs: the Musina Golf
Club is hosting an "Eclipse Extravaganza", while the Kwik Spar is offering
free eclipse viewers with certain purchases.

The provincial government has also jumped on the bandwagon: it hosted a
concert last Friday at a local stadium. And, in a truly new South African
way, the performers catered for every taste, from Oliver Mtukudzi to Steve
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ABC Australia

Sunday, December  1, 2002. Posted: 09:45:20 (AEDT)

Mugabe warns of Govt troop crackdown
The President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, has given a warning that he is
ready to call on the troops experienced in fighting the civil war in Congo,
to confront the Government's opponents.

The BBC reports President Mugabe has also re-affirmed his intention to
continue the controversial land reform program.

Speaking at a military parade to mark the end of Zimbabwe's costly
intervention in the Congo war, President Mugabe told the assembled troops
that they need not worry.

He said there was still a lot of land to parcel out in Zimbabwe and that his
Government would parcel this land out to what he called, our people.

He said this is our land and it shall remain our land.

He went on to make the warning, that Zimbabwe's involvement in Congo had
strengthened the army's combat ability and he said the Governments would be
more than prepared to use this experience and skill in dealing with
aggression, either at home or elsewhere.
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The Australian

Mugabe flexes his muscles
By Michael Hartnack in Harare

ZIMBABWEAN troops who recently returned home after four years at war in
Congo are now ready to use their combat experience against the Government's
enemies, President Robert Mugabe said.

Addressing lavish celebrations to mark the final withdrawal from Congo of a
Zimbabwean troop contingent that numbered 14,000 at its peak, Mr Mugabe
promised land formerly owned by whites to the war's veterans.
Government-backed militants began seizing white-owned land in February 2000,
plunging the country into economic turmoil.
"You needn't worry, there is still a lot of land to parcel out (and) we will
parcel it out to our people, those committed because they have roots in our
country," Mr Mugabe told a parade at the Chinese-built National Sports
Zimbabwe backed Congolese President Joseph Kabila's Government in a war
against Ugandan and Rwandan-backed rebels. A cease-fire was brokered earlier
this year.

Mr Mugabe reiterated claims that the British Government was behind mounting
opposition to his 22-year rule, because it sympathised with white
"We cannot have little England or little Europe in either Zimbabwe or
Africa," he said.
"This is our land and it shall remain our land, not just for us who live
today but all of us who live here for ever and ever and ever."
Aid agencies say 6.7 million Zimbabweans are at risk of starvation before
the harvests in March. The food shortages have been blamed on the farm
seizures and drought.
Mr Mugabe warned Western governments against intervening in his country.
"Our participation in this (Congolese) operation strengthened our combat
capability," he said. "Our forces have gone that extra mile in terms of
combat readiness and would be more than prepared to use their experience and
skill in dealing with aggression either at home or elsewhere if duty should
He declined to say how much the intervention in Congo had cost or how many
soldiers died.
Recently-acquired secondhand military hardware, including helicopter
gunships and armoured personnel carriers, were displayed at yesterday's
Meanwhile slogans calling for a "holy war" against Zimbabwe's 30,000 whites
were daubed on the walls of Harare's main cricket ground, ahead of a visit
by International Cricket Council officials.
Zimbabwe is due to host six games during the cricket world cup in February.
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'Hold your horses - Mugabe's going nowhere'

      December 01 2002 at 06:39PM

Harare - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's successor will not be named
until 2006, the state-run Sunday Mail said in an apparent bid to quash
speculation the 78-year-old longtime leader could be replaced.

Nathan Shamuyarira, information secretary in Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe
African National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF), was quoted by the paper
as saying the issue would be discussed at a party congress in 2006.

The paper said the news had "scuppered frenzied speculation" in the private
media that a Zanu-PF conference due later this month would name a candidate
to contest the next presidential election in 2008.

The private press regularly speculates on possible successors to Mugabe, who
has held power since 1980, first as prime minister and later as president.

This year he won a new six-year term in a hard-fought election against
Morgan Tsvangirai, 50, of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Western
observers said the poll was not free or fair. - Sapa-AFP
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Sunday Mirror, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's brain drain
The Scrutator

So serious has the brain drain become in Zimbabwe that the National Economic
Consultative Forum (NECF) had to commission recently a study on the problem.
The study does transcend the many speculative and politically-motivated
accounts on the brain drain that has seen the Zimbabwe Diaspora grow by
leaps and bounds over the last decade.

Sadly, however, the study like many of those subjective conclusions that one
finds in sections of our media, establishes no causal relationship between
Zimbabwe's successful human resource development strategy of the first
decade of independence on the one hand, and the lack of such comprehensive
policy frameworks in the neighbouring countries of Southern Africa, on the

Also, missing in these analyses of the current brain drain problem in
Zimbabwe is an account of the disparity between a progressive social
development policy that was a central feature of the post-independence
government, on the one hand, and an enclave economy that remained
narrow-based for most of these two decades, increasingly incapable of
absorbing the growing number of school leavers and tertiary education

It was the National Manpower Survey (NMS) of 1981/2 which established the
human resources development policy for post-independent Zimbabwe. The NMS
was essentially an economic and technical exercise; but it was also a large
political statement, about both the colonial legacy in general and The
specific steps to be undertaken if the country was to indigenise the
economy, expand it and thereby ensure sustainable development in the years
and decades ahead.

Even before the National Liberation Movement returned home in 1980, the two
or three years leading to independence had been devoted to a serious
consideration of the political and technical capacity that would be required
for the new state. A major influence in all this planning was the fear that
there would be a major exodus of whites on Independence Day and that, given
the monopoly which white settler colonialism had enjoyed in all aspects of
the economy, everything had to be done to pre-empt collapse and the
attendant chaos and crises that would no doubt ensue in such circumstances.

The Zanu leadership in particular had witnessed the Mozambican transition
following that country's independence in 1975. By early 1976, all the white
skills - who were the only skills available - had left the Mozambique
Railways; in other words, some 26 000 white workers had simply packed their
bags, including the coffins that previously lay in the elaborate mausoleums
in the Maputo cemetery, and left for Portugal. This brought the Mozambique
Railways to a virtual standstill in a matter of days, a situation which,
even up to this day, has hardly improved. But this became a pattern
throughout an economy in which the colonial authorities had for decades
ensured that even the most menial of skilled work had to be confined to
Portuguese settlers. Indeed, by the eve of Zimbabwean independence in 1980,
there was no economy to talk about in Mozambique and, as is now well-known,
it would be another decade of strife and conflict before the country
achieved the foundations of peace and development at the turn of the 1990's.

In short, the fear of a white exodus became one of the central concerns of
the government - in - waiting of Zimbabwe. And, in as far as that
eventuality was viewed as largely inevitable, so, too, did the leadership of
the liberation movement - both Zanu and Zapu - begin preparing for the
National Manpower Survey (NMS) some 2 or 3 years before the formal launch of
the latter in 1981 under the Ministry of Manpower, Planning and Development.
By 1979, we had a fairly reliable indication of the number of skilled
Zimbabweans who were outside the country, including those under training in
the various parts of the world. We had even identified the persons who would
occupy the key posts in the various sections of the state apparatus; and,
from the very outset, the guerilla army became the Zimbabwe National Army.
By the end of 1980, some 20 000 skilled and professional Zimbabweans had
returned home, less by invitation than in response to the spirit of
patriotism that was so contagious in those exciting and hopeful days.

Also, using the concept of the "towering heights of the economy", we had by
1979 identified the "most sensitive skill requirements areas" and obtained
the grids for the water, electricity and sewage systems for the entire
country, especially for the urban centres of Salisbury, Bulawayo, Gwelo and
Umtali. All this soon paid off in the early months of post-independence
when, for example, the all-white artisan group at Air Zimbabwe downed tools
in early October, 1980. I was called to the Prime Minister's office and
asked to explain how we could deal with this crisis in one of the "most
sensitive" sectors. Confidently, I explained that we had some 120 trainee
aircraft personnel in Ethiopia, most of whom were about to complete their 3
year courses in that country. I was instructed to fly to Addis Ababa and
returned with 110 aircraft engineers and pilots. The Air Zimbabwe strike
ended thereby.

We had learnt our lesson by this and other happenings. In fact, artisan
training in most trades was virtually 90 per cent white; in such fields as
aircraft engineering, electrical and mechanical engineering, virtually a
white monopoly. By 1981, the practice had already been established whereby
white youths would leave for South Africa, UK, Australia or New Zealand, as
soon as they had qualified as artisans. Likewise, in such "sensitive areas"
as medicine where the University's Medical School was more than 80 per cent
white in enrolment. So, by introducing the "bonding" of apprentices and
other trainees in scarce skills areas, the Ministry of Manpower, Planning
and Development had by 1982 turned the training statistics upside down,
yielding the ratio of 98 per cent blacks in most sectors of vocational

By 1983, and on the strength of the NMS and its twin schemes of "bonding"
and upgrading the thousands of blacks who, although skilled and proficient
in the various fields of industry, had been condemned to the permanent
status of "semi-skilled" by the colonial regime, Zimbabwe had become
self-sufficient in industrial skills. Likewise, the entire public service
sector had virtually become indigenous within three years of the attainment
of independence in 1980. And on the basis of the recommendations and
conclusions of the NMS in 1983, the Zimbabwe Human ResourceDevelopment Plan
was established firmly, citing agriculture, medicine, engineering and
financial management as the priority areas for scholarships and training.
Through the twin instruments of the Scholarship Committee and the Committee
on Foreign Recruitment, the Ministry of Manpower, Planning and Development
ensured a viable human resource development policy that would in its effects
and positive results render Zimbabwe second to none, and accounts today for
the comparative advantage that the country now enjoys, not only vis-ą-vis
the Southern African region but the world over.

As I have already intimated, this success story is also the cause of our
current tribulations, in the form of the brain drain and the imminent
threat, unless something is done urgently, to our human resource development
base in particular and the economy in general. There is hope that the
current land reform and resettlement programme, and indeed the enormous
spin-offs as the economy expands and requirements for skills and personnel
grows correspondingly, will help to absorb the unemployed and attract home
many of those in the Zimbabwean Diaspora. For the Zimbabwean Diaspora is
very unique in that most of those 479,348 skilled and professional citizens
out there have an organic link to home. For example, the NECF - commissioned
study found that more than half (or almost 70 per cent) of the respondents
expressed a desire to return home. This does conform to the related pattern
whereby most of those in the Diaspora, particularly those in the
professional and skilled category, have been sending money home, for the
purchase or building of houses and/or investment.

However, the Zimbabwean brain drain will continue unabated until the
government in particular addresses the problems in the education and health
sectors. This is the foundation of the human resources development strategy
and yet these are the sectors most hit by the brain drain. But, as the
NECF - commissioned study itself acknowledges, there is need for Zimbabwe,
"together with the Diaspora countries to reach a mutual agreement on how to
reduce 'the pull and push factors' triggering the desire by our people to
leave for Europe, North America and the region." In my view, such
consultations at the sub-regional level should include an analysis of the
human resources development policies of Zimbabwe's neighbours. For, prima
facie evidence would suggest that the lack of comprehensive human resources
development policies in such countries as South Africa and Botswana has
created the kind of shortfalls into which the Zimbabwean brain drain is
being attracted. Botswana and Namibia might be victims of the "demographic
trap" in that their small populations - 1.5m and 2m respectively, with 65
per cent or more being under 15 years of age - determines that they could
not for the foreseeable future be self-sufficient in skills. But South
Africa, on the other hand, might need to institute the kind of policy regime
that Zimbabwe introduced at independence, if it is to overcome the problems
of an enclave economy and thereby help to stem the Zimbabwean brain drain.
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Sunday Mirror, Zimbabwe

Madhuku warns government of people power

LOVEMORE MADHUKU, the National Constitution Assembly (NCA) chairman,
challenged Zimbabweans once again to adopt a confrontational approach
against the Zanu PF government saying a push for a new democratic
constitution was the only way to change the country's political

Speaking to The Sunday Mirror after the NCA's demonstrations in the country'
s major cities on Saturday, Madhuku said the NCA's call was not for a
militant confrontation with government but could end up uncontrollable
should government ignore the call.

He said the organisations' initiated demonstrations would continue
countrywide after every two weeks, adding that participation was gradually
increasing every fortnight.

"The demonstrations do not mean militant confrontation, but it's a show of
people power which the government will have to deal with. The objective is
to make this arrogant government listen to the people's voice, a demand for
a new democratic constitution," Madhuku said.

"The (Movement for Democratic Change) MDC must first join us in the struggle
for a new constitution and then clamour for elections afterwards. They
participated in the elections knowing exactly that it was a flawed process
due to the constitution. They cannot jump the gun." Madhuku said the
opposition party was mixing its priorities by not joining the struggle for a
new constitution. He said a democratic system of governance could only come
through a democratic constitution for the country. Last week Madhuku urged
Zimbabweans to unite and adopt a confrontational stance against the Zanu PF
government during a public meeting convened by Habbakuk Trust in Bulawayo.
Habbakuk is a Christian advocacy group.

On Friday, Madhuku said the Zimbabwe Republic Police raided the NCA offices
in Harare, searched for subversive material but ended up rounding up the six
NCA employees on duty as well as 15 other individuals present at the office.

Madhuku said he had received a report on the arrest of four other NCA
activists in Bulawayo on Saturday. Some of those reportedly in custody
include the association's advocacy officer, Ernest Mydzengi, Tovaitei
Karimazondo, Promise Matunhira, and NCA acting co-ordinator Tsitsi Mutongi.

Police spokesperson, chief superintendent Bothwell Mugariri said he was out
of town and therefore could not confirm nor deny the reports. His mobile
telephone was cutting off each time.

However, Madhuku said the NCA-driven demonstrations for a new constitution
went ahead on Saturday in Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo and Gweru. He
alleged that the police attempted to interfere in Mabvuku and Mbare West in
Harare, Makokoba in Bulawayo and Sakubva in Mutare, but kept a low profile
in other areas.

"What we intend to do is to continue with the wave of countrywide
demonstrations every two weeks. Participation is picking up, two weeks ago
we had between 130 and 150 people, but this weekend the numbers increased to
between 250 to 300 participants in the demonstrations," Madhuku said.

"These demonstrations are going ahead because none can stop them, not even
myself. They are a genuine push from the people for a new, democratic
constitution. It's people power, but some are still hesitant and would be
waiting for others to participate. It's our struggle, together." Madhuku
alleged police intimidation for the limited numbers of people participating
in the demonstrations, saying every suppressive regime or government would
always intimidate the citizenry, especially opposing voices.

The NCA was not calling for a militant uprising against the government but
was cultivating a strong base for dissenting voices committed to changing
the status quo, Madhuku said. "The numbers of discontented Zimbabweans will
swell, maybe into thousands or millions, one day. We need determined people,
but other enemies of Zimbabwe might take the opportunity and a militant
uprising might happen. The NCA is not for militancy," Madhuku said.
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Sunday Mirror, Zimbabwe

Ex-British SAS officer involved in training farm occupiers

THERE is a shocking revelation that a former British non-commissioned
Special Air Service (SAS) officer, Griffith Roy Philpott in 2001 trained
young men and women who were active in the occupation of commercial farms.

A source well connected to the British intelligence network - speaking on
condition of anonymity - said Philpott, 44, was invited to train men and
women who then disguised as veterans of the armed struggle and spearheaded
farm occupations.

"Philpott was invited in 2001 to train militias in tactics to invade farms
during the height of the fast track land redistribution exercise," said the

He said Philpott was called to conduct the training by a high-ranking army
officer (name supplied) when the two met in the Democratic Republic of Congo
last year. It is not known why Philpott had gone to DRC, the source said.
The army officer however would not give a comment. He switched off his cell
phone as soon as this reporter identified himself and the reason for calling

A senior ZANU PF politburo member said he found the story "rather strange
and out of this world".

Several former members of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) have also
greeted the news with a sense of surprise, saying they are taken aback by
the irony of a British national working in cahoots with some Zimbabweans to
bring about the downfall of white commercial farmers. Lawrence Orner
Straatman, who used to own a farm in Mvurwi in Mashonaland Central, said he
had met Philpott in person at a hotel (name supplied) in the province in
early 2001.

Describing Philpott as a "funny man", Straatman said he had all along
considered him to be his brother. "If what you are saying is true, I am
really confused. Does a brother have to go to such an extent to betray his
own kith and kin for a piece of silver? "It is indeed a shame that our own
people were used in the siege against us over the last few years yet the
British have been making so much noise against Mugabe while assisting with
their best and most experienced servicemen," said Straatman.

But some commentators have said there was nothing unusual about Zimbabwe
hiring British nationals to provide services such as training. "The British
Military Advisory and Training Team offered training to Zimbabwean military
personnel until two years ago and even now all the army generals have passed
through the Sandhurst military college in Britain," one analyst said. The
British Military Advisory and Training Team (BMATT) was in Zimbabwe from
1980 to 2000, pulling out as relations between the two countries continued
to deteriorate. Joseph Chinotimba, the war veteran leader who gained fame
for spearheading the farm occupations, could neither deny nor confirm the
involvement of Philpott in the reported training of farm occupiers.

He remarked: "I cannot deny or confirm that. In any case what is wrong with
that?" He added: "I cannot talk about that man otherwise they will banish
him from this country." He would not say whom he meant by "they". Philpott
is currently in Hereford, United Kingdom and no comment could be obtained
from him since his telephone was just ringing without any response.

The training is alleged to have taken place in Kariba, Victoria Falls,
Nyanga and an unspecified base in Mashonaland Central province. Philpott,
the source said had an unusual attraction for the first two places and spent
much time water rafting in the Zambezi River.

A 28 year old newly resettled farmer who was given a fifteen acre plot in
the Mapinga area of Mashonaland West province confirmed that he was trained
in drill and counterintelligence tactics in Mashonaland Central. "The
purpose of the training was to be able to repel white farmers who were
armed. We were also told that farm workers and some MDC (Movement for
Democratic Change) youths were being trained elsewhere to attack new
settlers," said the new farmer, who gave his name as Comrade Sam.

Comrade Sam said he often heard stories about a short tempered white man who
sometimes came to his base to give instructions on how the training should
occur, adding that for the three weeks of his training he did not see the
white man. The source said Philpott stayed at Manyame Air Base, the Harare
headquarters of the Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ), during the time he was
conducting the training. An officer at the Sergeants' mess at Manyame Air
Base however said there were no records of Philpott at the base.

It could not be established who was paying him and how he was being paid.

Philpott, who spent a total fifteen years in the British SAS, is seen by
many as a controversial figure. Last year, the heavily built man was dragged
to court on allegations of assaulting a policeman who had stopped and
quizzed him over suspected drunken driving.

In the case, heard at Worcester Crown Court, it was alleged that two
Ministry of Defence (MoD) policemen who had been tipped by restaurant chefs
that he was too drunk to drive stopped Philpott in Hereford.

He allegedly punched one of the officer, Sandor Boka, on the nose, damaging
it extensively. Philpott, who initially denied ever drinking beer on the day
in question, later admitted to having taken one beer. In Zimbabwe, he was
well known in drinking circles for his love for beer and women.

He wrote a book, CQB (Close Quarter Battle) under the pseudonym Mike Curtis,
chronicling his worldwide adventures in the Parachute Regiment and the SAS
for the period he was in the Defence ministry. However, he earned himself a
ban from all military bases as part of MoD's clampdown on disclosure of
military intelligence. His purported autobiography was shot down for
containing falsehoods and inaccuracies.

Philpott in 1982 fought in the Falklands war between Britain and Argentina
before joining the SAS. He was among the first airforce men to be deployed
to the former Yugoslavia as the country disintegrated into civil war. He was
also part of the team of John Major's bodyguards during the British Minister
's tenure in the early to mid-1990s. Subsequently, he worked as a personal
aide for other high-ranking officials and was recently fired by one of them
for alleged theft and dishonesty. The British source told The Sunday Mirror
that Phillpott was a member of a mercenary group that was frequently hired
in Africa and other Third World countries to fan or suppress coups.

"It is a mystery even to me why anyone in Zimbabwe would ever consider
hiring the man (Philpott) to do a job for them," said the source.

Philpott was also recently linked to Zimbabwe in a story that appeared in
the Telegraph of London. The story, written by Alistair McQueen, claims that
Philpott, together with 19 other former SAS soldiers, had been hired to
provide security services to the Zimbabwean government. It is alleged that
Philpott was the leader of the group. The Telegraph story alleges that the
team of the British ex-soldiers was spotted in DRC by high ranking
Zimbabwean military officers while it was guarding executives running a
diamond mine in the then war torn country. The Telegraph further alleges
that the group of mercenaries accompanied Mugabe to Tripoli earlier this
year when he ostensibly went to negotiate a fuel deal with his Libyan
counterpart, Muammar Gaddafi at a time the country was experiencing drastic
fuel supply problems.

Philpott disputed the story in a court case in which he was challenging the
veracity of the Telegraph claims. Philpott won the lawsuit because there was
no-one in Zimbabwe who would confirm his links with the Zimbabwean

A scholar based in Cape Town South Africa, Bernedette Muthien says modern
mercenaries are mostly drawn from the British SAS and the CIA, which she
accuses of funding the late Mobutu Sese Seko's autocratic regime as well as
the rebel Unita movement during the time Jonas Savimbi was still alive.
Angola's government soldiers killed Savimbi, the founder and leader of Unita
early this year after waging a war against the government for almost three

Ex-SAS mercenaries have been blamed for several assassinations on the
African continent. British "soldier of fortune" Tyrone Chadwick was
imprisoned in South Africa after admitting to a London reporter his and
other mercenaries' roles in several murders during the apartheid era.

Tony Buckingham, a senior ex-SAS officer runs Sandline International, a
mercenary organisation which brokered an arms deal to politically unstable
Sierra Leone in 1997. The deal was carried out with the approval of the
British government and its secret intelligence.

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Nations Mark World AIDS Day With Rallies

Sunday December 1, 2002 8:10 PM

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) - Southern African countries marked World AIDS
Day on Sunday with hopes that the region, which has the highest rate of HIV
positive people on the planet, can slow the spread of the disease.

There are 42 million HIV positive people worldwide, with sub-Saharan Africa
home to 75 percent of them, according to UNAIDS, the U.N.'s AIDS agency.

South Africa has more HIV positive people than any other country in the
world. Figures released by the government more than two years ago showed
that 4.7 million people - one in nine - were infected, and the figure today
is believed to be substantially higher.

The number of people with AIDS in Asia threatens to reach epidemic levels,
and activists there also tried to raise awareness of the disease and how to
prevent it. Events were also held in Cuba, Brazil, Peru and several other

South Africa's government had come under fire for not doing enough to combat
the AIDS epidemic, and it has recently shown signs of taking the issue more

This year the government almost tripled its anti-AIDS budget to $108
million, and plans to up to $194 million in the next financial year.

Tony Leon, leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance, said South
African women's average life expectancy would fall from 54 to 38 over the
next 10 years and over 2 million children would be orphaned by AIDS.

``South Africa's fight against AIDS has been massively hampered and harmed
by government's dithering, denial and dissent from the orthodoxies
associated with the disease,'' he said.

President Thabo Mbeki has questioned the link between HIV and AIDS in the
past, but kept from commenting on the issue over the last few months.

Countries across Asia commemorated World AIDS Day with events to raise
awareness of the disease amid warnings that the number of infected people in
China and India, the world's two most populous nations, will reach epidemic

Carrying banners and signs, thousands took to the streets in Hanoi and
Bangkok on Sunday to promote AIDS awareness. India staged a marathon to
raise public knowledge of the disease, while Beijing's imposing legislative
hall hosted an awareness event.

``Silence is death when it comes to fighting HIV/AIDS,'' said Jordan Ryan,
the U.N. resident coordinator in Vietnam, at a rally in Hanoi that drew
3,000 people. ``It's time to tear down the walls of stigma and silence.''

The United Nations has estimated that at the end of 2001, 6.6 million people
throughout Asia were living with HIV or AIDS, including about 1 million
newly infected that year.

In India, where some 4 million people are infected with HIV, officials in
the eastern city of Bhubaneshwar on Sunday unfurled a record-long
3.7-mile-long banner to mark the day.

In Thailand, a prison in Thailand opened its doors to family and friends of
inmates in the final stages of the disease, the Bangkok Post newspaper
reported Sunday.

World AIDS day events were low key in most southern African countries.

In Malawi, where about 9 percent of the population is HIV positive, the
government warned that AIDS was decimating the civil service and the

``Every day we are burying our workers, our teachers, our doctors and other
professionals,'' Vice President Justin Malewezi said in a statement issued
together with the findings of a new study on the impact of AIDS in Malawi.

The study found that high schools had to replace 77 percent of their staff
every year because teachers die or are too ill to work.

In politically troubled Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe acknowledged that
2.2 million of the country's 13 million people were HIV positive, and that
700,000 children had been orphaned by AIDS.

``The impact of this tragedy has been such that each and every one of us
knows of a relative, a loved one or a friend who has either died of the
epidemic or is living with it,'' he said.

The human rights group Amnesty International said Sunday that millions of
people are doomed to early deaths because they can't afford treatment for
AIDS, and urged the United Nations to move quickly on its goal of reversing
the pandemic by 2015.

``Those who are on the social margins of society, who are denied access to
their most basic human rights - to freedom from discrimination, to
education, to physical integrity, to health care and to economic security -
are the most vulnerable to HIV infection,'' Amnesty said.

In Brazil on Friday, 800 high school students placed 15,000 red ribbons
before the health ministry to symbolize the number of people in the country
who became infected with HIV this year.
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Sunday Mirror, Zimbabwe

      NGO launches food aid programme for farm workers
      Farming World
      Artwell Manyemba

      FARM WORKER communities, a segment of the Zimbabwe population that is
marginalised perennially, are breathing a sigh of relief as a local
non-governmental organisation has embarked on a food aid programme to avert
starvation among them.

      Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe (FCTZ) last month started a food
distribution exercise targeting farm worker communities in the face of
ravaging food shortages in the country. The organisation is also carrying
out a supplementary feeding scheme in the farming areas, to cater for the
nutritional needs of farm workers' children.

      Sophie Hamandishe, FCTZ communications officer this week said her
organisation was distributing food as well as providing nutri-meal porridge
to farm worker communities in four of the country's eight provinces.

      "We are assisting farm worker communities in Manicaland, Mashonaland
Central, East and West provinces, with monthly food rations. Children of
farm workers and former farm workers attending school and our play centres
are receiving porridge under our supplementary feeding scheme," Hamandishe

      She said the food programme, which was started on November 1, had seen
355 tonnes of maize meal, 5.16 tonnes of beans and cooking oil being
distributed to farm worker households in the four provinces. A total of
around 6 500 households had each received a 50 kilogramme bag of maize meal,
10 kg of beans and two litres of cooking oil for the month of November,
Hamandishe said. On average each farm worker household comprises of five
people. FCTZ said it expects to distribute food to over 50 000 farm worker
households countrywide.

      "Provisionally, the monthly food rations under the food aid programme
will continue until March next year," Hamandishe said.The organisation's
supplementary feeding scheme has seen 48 555 primary school pupils and 22
549 playcentre kids being fed with porridge and mahewu (a nutritional
drink), so far. FCTZ is carrying out supplementary feeding at 169 farm
primary schools and 431 feeding points for children under the age of five

      "Nutri-meal porridge is a fortified porridge because it has vitamins
and does not require any additional ingredients," said the FCTZ
communications officer.

      "The aim of the programme is to respond to the effects of drought and
the countrywide food shortages. We aim to enhance the nutritional status of
farm workers' children, thereby reducing malnutrition." FCTZ was formed in
1997 with a mandate to uplift the social welfare of farm workers. Despite
the agrarian reform, the organisation says it is meeting challenges facing
farming communities head-on and it had adapted to the new needs of these
communities, namely household food security.

      Before the agrarian reform, it was estimated that about 350 000 people
worked on the country's 4 500 large-scale commercial farms. The workers,
together with their families gave a population of around two million people,
about 20 percent of Zimbabwe's population.

      In line with its mandate, to provide a better life for farm worker
communities, FCTZ last month also handed over 30 Blair toilets to Kanyaga
Primary School in Makonde District, Mashonaland West province.

      Another non-governmental organisation, Save the Children (UK) also
handed over a classroom block to the school on the same day.Kanyaga Primary
School is located on a State farm and has been occupied by villagers in the
province as well as former farm workers, either retired or retrenched as a
result of the land reform programme.

      Farm workers in Zimbabwe originally migrated from neighbouring
countries before independence in 1980. However, the majority of today's
farmhands are third generation Zimbabweans with less than 20 percent still
able to trace their ancestral backgrounds.

      "In 2001, FCTZ and SC (UK) conducted a research on the Chihwiti and
Gambuli informal settlements which incorporate Kanyaga Primary School.
Critical components of the findings revealed that the school lacked
sanitation facilities. About 106 boys were using a single toilet while 96
girls were using a single toilet also, while the government recommends a
ratio of 20 boys per toilet and 15 girls for a toilet," Hamandishe said.The
school has an enrolment of 1 600 pupils attending Grade One up to Form One.
FCTZ provided building materials such as wire-mesh and cement, and trained
local builders to construct the Blair toilets under supervision.

      The Member of Parliament for Makonde, Swithun Mombeshora and the
Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, Aeneas Chigwedere attended the
hand-over ceremony and witnessed the developments being initiated by the two

      The presence of farm workers is a significant sign to show that
commercial agriculture in Zimbabwe is here to stay, despite the change in
farm ownership caused by the government driven land reform programme.

      The General Agriculture and Plantation Workers' Union says the new
indigenous farmers were absorbing the retrenched farm workers.
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From the famous Alan Hale - co-discoverer of the Hale-Bopp comet

Dear Citizens of Zimbabwe,

A year and a half ago my family and I had the privilege of visiting your
country, on the occasion of the total solar eclipse that passed across your
nation. During the two weeks we spent in Zimbabwe we not only were able to
see some of your country's natural beauty, but we were also able to meet and
interact with a number of Zimbabwe's people from all walks of life. My whole
family came away not only with fond memories of our times in Zimbabwe, but
also with friends with whom we remain in regular contact.

We are well aware that Zimbabwe has been going through some difficult times
as of late. Because of our memories of our visit to your country, and our
continuing correspondences with our friends there, these difficulties you
are experiencing have touched us in a very personal way. It is troubling to
see any society experiencing trials, but when those trials affect people we
have visited, and have shared laughter and tears with, it becomes
immeasurably more troubling and heartbreaking.

During my travels to various places on this planet I have had the
opportunity to interact with people from numerous societies and cultures.
While we may have our superficial differences, I've discovered that, deep
down, all of us, as human beings, seek the same things. We seek security and
well-being for ourselves and our families. We seek peace with our fellow
human beings. We seek to give our children the opportunity to strive for,
and achieve, their highest dreams. And we seek knowledge of our world and
understanding of ourselves and of our role within that world.

It can be difficult, in light of all the troubles that so many of us over
the world face, to be optimistic that we will ever be able to achieve those
things that all of us seek. But humanity has faced, and overcome, challenges
before, and while those facing us now are perhaps more powerful than any we
have ever faced, so, too, are the tools we have at our disposal for
confronting them. The most powerful tool is our own mind, and the
determination to see that we will succeed.

Mohandas Gandhi once challenged us to "be the change that you want to see in
the world." There is no limit to our ability to overcome our challenges, and
to the heights that we can achieve - if we will believe that we can do

During this coming week, nature will smile upon Zimbabwe once again, as a
second total solar eclipse in as many years crosses your country. I will not
be able to be with you in person this time, but I will still be with you in
spirit. As we watch the light of the sun disappear, let us remember that, in
a few minutes' time, it will return; so also let us remind ourselves that,
however dark our present circumstances may be, a new light will reappear, if
we remain strong and persevere.


Alan Hale

Cloudcroft, New Mexico, USA
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"We had four vehicles pitch up at the farm with armed police and various other officials to inform us that we had 24 hours to remove all our property and get off  the farm "or face the consequences". We had to hand over our keys and accept "caretakers" to move onto the property to ensure that we did not remove what was now theirs. Most of the district had the same message so we decided that discretion was the better part of valour and that we would move so that we could fight another day. The next day we hired a cattle truck, a three tonner  and other vehicles and with the help of various others began the big move.
In times of crisis some people become absolute heroes whilst others show their true colours. We now know the goodies from the baddies but generally we had a lot of help. 'Z' was left very much to his own devices and had to load the cattle truck and trailer which still had cattle manure in it and head for his house in town. The stress and uncertainty took its toll on him but he has adapted extremely well to town life and has a fine vegetable garden going and has done remarkable things to the house in the short time he has been there. We have had to unload many of our 20 odd years of accumulations on to the auctions to make room for our new life in town. In the haste we regret selling some of the stuff but that is bygones.
Our own move was less spectacular as we initially moved to a house on an ajoining farm about three kilometers away with cattle sheep chickens dogs and 'Y'. Our workers were incredible and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude. Long hours, heavy loads great stress and not one complaint. Most of our implements and household goods were moved in two days but it is surprising how much you accumulate on a farm over the years and we were absolutely determined not to leave the "new owners" anything at all.
We  were visited by a delegation of havoc wreakers and informed that we were not to set foot on our farm and that we were to remove our stuff yet again from where we had just moved to or yet again face the consequences. 'Farm ABC' was not designated and we had permission to move there from govt officials.
After some negotiation with various parties we were allowed to remain there but the situation was not a pleasant one. We were very isolated with no phone and no neighbours and every weekend faced intimidation from the "cell phone" farmers out from town to visit their farm!!. ( There are about 5 people remaining in the district, some of whom could not be relied on in times of crisis).
With much soul searching we decided that we should move to a safer location in town. 'W' managed to find us this cottage on 4 acres in 'XYZ' which is 10 k"s out of town. We moved in two weeks ago along with most of our possessions and have managed to cram boxes packing cases etc into the house and much of the farm stuff in the yard. I had to drive an 8 tonner with four loads and managed to scare the living daylights out of local traffic with my driving as well as successfully destroying two gates. I was thinking of driving on the maize relief run but they already have enough dangerous drivers.
Last Monday, after some negotiation, we were allowed back on the property to remove what we had been unable to remove in the rush. There seemed to be a bit of a turn around by govt officials and they were helpful to our cause.
Looking back on our first visit to the farm in nearly two months I am not sure what my emotions were. Sure they have done nothing in the lands which are lying dry and idle. I saw two guinea fowl where before we left we had flocks, two warthog where we had so many, goats living on the verandah smashed windows and a dry a lifeless garden. Mangy flearidden dogs in the yard, scrawny chickens and thin soulless people roaming here there and everywhere. The agrarian revolution is undoubtedly a huge success!!!!!!!. Of the  goats which have been brought onto the property, one has been taken by a leopard and another five have disappeared.
I am saddened by the stupidity of it all. Not only for us but for all of those who have put  so much into this country and into their farms and in most cases asked for so little back. In the last few months I have come across good people, bad people, greedy people. I have been amazed and shocked, at times I have been numbed.
To those of you who receive this e mail, you are good people. Thank you for your support, it got us over the rough roads and set us in the right direction.
The greatest lesson of all? Never ever give up hope. There are new dreams and aspirations around every corner and of course there are still many good people out there to help you find the dreams. "

"A continuation of the saga We saw our labour on Friday who rushed to the car to say a government vehicle had come to the farm and asked why we had left and please could we come back. There had been a terrible mistake and they were very sorry for all the trouble we had had!!!! Hoax or no????
Our last cattle are booked on the sale next week. We have sold our entire breeding herd What do we do? Who do we believe? The saga continues!!! Oh this wonderous place called Africa!"
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