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dated 27 February 2009

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Urgent Press release

An Alarming Update on Farm Disturbances in the Chegutu Area -
Friday the 27th of February, 2009

A letter was delivered to the Campbell's on Mt Carmel farm ordering
that all farming operations cease. The letter was signed by the
Provincial Lands Officer. Also, eight youths were deployed by the same
vehicle used by Peter Chamada (Nathan Shamuyarira's nephew) when he
issued the threat against the Campbell's on Wednesday this week.
The youths are now camping outside the gate of Mike Campbell's
homestead. The police will not react to remove these individuals. These
actions are in direct contravention and contempt of the SADC Tribunal
Ruling handed down in November last year.

On the neighbouring farm called Northleigh, belonging to Mr. Brian
Bronkhorst, invaders broke through and moved into the garden surrounding
Mr. Bronkhorst's homestead in contravention of a High Court order.
Bronkhorst was able to use the Sheriff of the court to evict the invaders
but they immediately returned once the Sheriff had left. The police at
Chegutu have not reacted despite the blatant contempt shown for the High
Court ruling.

Mr Peter Etheredge of Stockdale Farm was arrested and detained in cells
at Chegutu police station without charge since 2100 hrs last night.
Before being taken to the cells Mr. Etheredge informs that as far he is
aware he has been accused of :

    malicious injury to property, in that he ploughed lands planted by an
    illegal occupier against whom he has a court order.

    contravention of the Fire Arms Act, in that he fired warning shots out
    the back of his homestead to chase off invaders, against whom he has a
    court order, who were looting firewood

    potentially attempted murder which accusation is based on a total

He has, however, not been charged as yet and no docket has been opened.
This is despite the fact that the Etheredge's have a High Court
order allowing them to continue farming operations, and for the eviction
of the illegal settlers. The Member in Charge, Chegutu Police Station,
has been conveniently absent from his post, whilst Lawyers are on standby
in Chegutu and Harare to effect Mr Etheredge's release once the
Member in Charge returns.

Farmers around the country continue to be targeted for fast track
prosecutions for illegally being on their farms.  However, courts have
continued to remand cases and only one farmer has been prosecuted
recently and issued with an eviction order.

These reports are an outrageous demonstration of the continued breakdown
of the rule of law in Zimbabwe.

The Jag Team




Mr Peter Etheredge of Stockdale Farm, Chegutu, was this evening released
from the cells at Chegutu Police Station.  He has been charged with
attempted murder and was finger-printed and warn and cautioned.  In the
light of events leading up to his arrest, this charge is ludicrous and is
no more than blatant harassment and malicious prosecution.

Interestingly, had the law not been selectively applied and had the
police assisted the Sheriff with the eviction of the eight invaders on
his farm ten days previously, as per the requirements of a High Court
order, the invaders would not have returned, and yesterday's events
would not have occurred.  Eight policemen attended to the arrest of Mr
Etheredge wherein over the previous ten days the police had argued a
shortage of manpower to effect the removal of the invaders in conjunction
with the Sheriff.

This highlights, not only, the selective application of the law, but also
the racist intent by the Chegutu police. Mr Etheredge, a SADC and
Zimbabwe CITIZEN, should have been afforded the full protection of the
SADC Tribunal ruling, as a joinder applicant to that case.

Another invasion took place this afternoon in the Chegutu area on Dodhill
Farm, where initial reports indicate farm worker resistance and

Mr Peter Etheredge is being dipped and de-flead at this moment in time by
his more than relieved wife, Kerry!!!!

The Jag Team

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Political detainees offered released if they drop torture charges

Posted : Fri, 27 Feb 2009 22:11:59 GMT
Author : DPA

Harare - Zimbabwean state lawyers Friday agreed to the release of a group of
political prisoners held since October by President Robert Mugabe's secret
police - on the condition that they withdraw litigation against their
captors for the brutal torture they suffered, their lawyer said. Most of the
group of 16 abductees have already been granted bail by judges, but state
security and legal officials have either defied the orders or blocked their

The release of the political prisoners has dominated the 26-day- old
transitional coalition government between Mugabe and pro- democracy leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, who is now serving as prime minister, with the continued
detention in violation of court orders threatening to abort the agreement.

The prisoners were facing charges of undergoing "terrorist" training and of
bombing police stations, although their lawyers say that after five months,
police and state prosecutors have failed to produce any evidence.

Tsvangirai said this week that Mugabe had agreed that the detainees would be
released on bail, overruling attempts by his officials to keep them in
custody. There has been an international outcry over their continued

But in discussions late Friday over the terms of their bail, state lawyers
laid down "impossible" conditions, defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said. She
said the state insisted the prisoners each pay bail of 600,000 US dollars
and agree to withdraw law suits lodged in Harare's high court against their
alleged torturers.

"It is a patently unlawful condition," she said. "It's the most shocking
thing I have heard."

The prisoners have given harrowing accounts in court of their torture after
their abduction, including prolonged beating on the feet, electric shock,
partial drowning, being hung upside down and having hot and cold water
poured over them. Seven of them are in hospital undergoing treatment for
their physical and mental trauma.

Mtetwa said she had told some of the prisoners of the deal being offered and
would let them "sleep on it" before deciding. She said the state lawyers'
offer was not made to a smaller group of the 16 who have not been granted
bail by the courts.

The offer also excluded Roy Bennett, Tsvangirai's popular agriculture deputy
minister designate who was arrested two weeks ago, hours before he was due
to be sworn in with the rest of the cabinet. He has been charged with
"banditry, sabotage, terrorism and insurgency."

The exclusion was not explained and came despite a high court order this
week that he be freed on bail. The ruling was blocked by state lawyers'

Observers say that the demands for torture charges to be dropped indicate
anxiety among state security officials who for the last 30 years have
operated Mugabe's violent machinery of repression with impunity, but since
the establishment of the power-sharing government, now find themselves under
threat of prosecution.

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SADC to hold extraordinary summit to discuss Zimbabwe aid: Zuma


            by Nokuthula Sibanda Saturday 28 February 2009

HARARE - Southern African Development Community (SADC) finance ministers
have recommended that the regional bloc holds an extraordinary summit to
consider an appeal for financial support by Zimbabwe.

The finance and investment ministers met this week in Cape Town, South
Africa to examine ways to help Zimbabwe raise US$2 billion from donors
needed to kick start the country's collapsed economy.

Zimbabwe needs the cash to help stimulate to economic activity and to
restore basic services such as health and education.

South African foreign affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on Friday said
a venue and date for the summit had yet to be agreed but it would most
likely be held before the upcoming G20 meeting on April 2 in London.

She said: "The ministers responsible for finance and investment undertook to
pursue measures in support of Zimbabwe's economic recovery programme, namely
collectively engaging bilateral and multilateral donors through SADC and the
African Union.

"Facilitating the normalisation of the status of Zimbabwe at the
International Monetary Fund, and the lifting of sanctions, both political
and financial, within the spirits of the global political agreement, and
convening an extraordinary summit of SADC heads of state and government to
consider the financing proposals submitted by Zimbabwe."

A unity government formed by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President
Robert Mugabe two weeks ago has raised hopes Zimbabwe could finally end
years of decline to regain its former status as a regional breadbasket.

However, analysts say the success of the unity government depends on its
ability to convince the international community to provide aid and financial
support to rebuild Zimbabwe after nearly a decade of acute recession.

Western governments with the ability to bankroll Zimbabwe's recovery have
adopted a wait and see attitude insisting on seeing tangible evidence of
genuine political and economic reform in Zimbabwe before they can commit
substantial financial and technical assistance. - ZimOnline

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'Unity govt has no capacity to finance bloated structure'


            by Simplicious Chirinda Saturday 28 February 2009

HARARE - A Zimbabwean constitutional pressure group said on Thursday the
country's new unity government had no capacity to finance the bloated
administration it has established and could end up using donor funds to
finance its enlarged bureaucracy.

President Robert Mugabe and his long time rival and now Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai formed a new government two weeks ago after agreeing to
share power last year, raising hopes among Zimbabweans of an end to
widespread hardship.

The new government is made up of 71 ministers including state ministers,
their deputies from Mugabe's ZANU PF party, Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party and Arthur Mutambara's breakaway faction of
the MDC, as well as provincial governors.

National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman Lovemore Madhuku said the
new administration had no money to meet the needs of the many government
departments it has created.

"The size of the government is bigger than what is provided for in this
current constitution as amended by Amendment number 19. The size is
unsustainable for our country, " said Madhuku in an address to journalists
last Thursday in Harare.

He said the new government runs the risk of transferring donor funds aimed
at helping the suffering people of Zimbabwe to financing its numerous
ministries and departments.

"Most of the international aid being sought by the inclusive government will
be used to finance this huge infrastructure."

Madhuku also told the media that the NCA would be working with the inclusive
government to write a new people-driven constitution, saying Article 6 of
the September 15 global political agreement signed by the political parties
last year did not provide for a people driven process.

"The NCA is clear that the constitution-making process contained in Article
6 of the GPA is not people-driven and is meant to impose the Kariba
constitution on the people of Zimbabwe," said Madhuku.

The Kariba constitution refers to a draft constitution that was agreed to by
representatives of the two MDC parties and ZANU PF in Kariba in 2005.

Zimbabwe is in the throes of an economic crisis that has seen its citizens
grapple with the world's highest inflation of 231 million percent as of last
July, acute shortages of food affecting seven million people or more than
half the country's entire population, deepening poverty and crumbling
infrastructure after nearly a decade of recession.

Formation of the unity government has raised hopes the country could finally
emerge from its crisis

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FULL TEXT: MDC statement on unity government


           Saturday 28 February 2009

MDC national executive deliberates on the inclusive government

The MDC national executive today met at the party's headquarters Harvest
House and deliberated upon the report from president Morgan Tsvangirai on
the progress, challenges and obstacles in the life and health of the
inclusive government.

The party took note and registers concern on the following;

A). Political prisoners;

The party urges the inclusive government to immediately and efficaciously
address the release of all political prisoners in line with the agreement by
the three principals of the political parties in the inclusive government.

B). Appointment of permanent secretaries and ambassadors;

The party notes that the appointment of permanent secretaries did not comply
with the provisions of the constitution. The party stresses the urgency and
desirability of the resolution of this matter in line with the letter and
spirit of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

C). Farm disruptions;

The National Executive also noted with concern fresh farm disruptions which
are affecting production and stability on the farms. The MDC therefore urges
the inclusive government to immediately intervene to stop disruptions in
order to enhance productivity on all farms.

D). Provincial governors;

The party took note of the progress made on the issue of provincial
governors in terms of the adoption of allocation formula. The MDC calls for
timeous and immediate swearing in of these provincial governors to complete
the formation of governors.

E). Senior government appointments;

The appointments of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor and Attorney
General (AG) remain an outstanding issue in line with the resolutions of

The party therefore notes with concern the delay in the implementation of
the Global Political Agreement and calls on these things to be resolved with
immediate effect.

While the party appreciates the progress made within two weeks, we note with
concern the delay and gaps in the realization of the Global Political

Information and Publicity department

F). Size of government;

The MDC national executive views the new cabinet as too big and heavy for
the country.

In this regard, the MDC National Executive restated the party's commitment
to a small but efficient cabinet to enhance accountability and fiscal

G). New Constitution - the MDC notes the national consensus on the
desirability and need for a new constitution. The party therefore urges the
inclusive government to put in place a framework that would allow for a
people driven constitution to be in place. The party also urges the
inclusive government to ensure that the process of coming up with a new
constitution takes on board all citizens and key stakeholders to make sure
that it is beyond reproach and contestation.

h) The need for a paradigm shift;

The MDC calls on all Zimbabweans and office holders in public institutions
to be in sync with the inclusive government arrangement.

MDC Information and publicity department. - ZimOnline

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Sharp drop in tourist arrivals in 2008


            by Andrew Moyo Saturday 28 February 2009

HARARE - Zimbabwe's embattled tourism sector saw arrivals decline with
preliminary figures showing a massive 22 percent drop in the number of
people who visited the country last year compared to arrivals in 2007, a
senior government official said.

Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi said 2008 had turned out to be the worst year
for Zimbabwe's tourism industry, which has been on a downward spiral in
tandem with the country's soiled image abroad.

Mzembi, who did not have the exact figures of arrivals last year, said his
department would soon implement new measures to recapture lost markets.

"2008 was the worst year in tourist arrivals," Mzembi said. "We have not
finished compiling the final statistics but (preliminary figures show that)
arrivals declined by 22 percent."

Official statistics indicate that tourist arrivals had plunged by 60 percent
during the first half of the year as the political turmoil that invoked
massive international cancellations from key Western markets hit hard on the

Tourism was one of Zimbabwe's fastest growing sectors before political
violence that has accompanied elections in the country since 2000, violent
farm invasions and a host of other problems derailed the industry.

The formation of a government of national unity by President Robert Mugabe
and his long rival and now Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has raised hopes
the political crisis will dissipate and allow the economy to pick up again.

Mzembi said: "We are working on plans for new product development,
revisiting the visa regime, the overall country image and the development of
skills. This will include refresher courses."

His new plan will include encouraging Zimbabweans in the diaspora to visit
the country's tourist destinations.

Mzembi said he was also working on engaging foreign airlines that have
pulled out of Zimbabwe to reopen routes to the country. - ZimOnline

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African nations pledge to press for aid to Zimbabwe

At a meeting in South Africa, regional nations refrain from promising funds.
Western countries are reluctant to commit funds, concerned that President
Robert Mugabe is still wielding all the power.
By Robyn Dixon
2:20 PM PST, February 27, 2009
Reporting from Harare, Zimbabwe -- The headline in Zimbabwe's Herald
newspaper today measured the disconnect between hopes and reality: Southern
African nations were "to invest $US2 billion in Zim," it screamed.

But after a meeting of southern African finance ministers in Cape Town later
in the day, Zimbabwe walked away with nothing but vague promises.

Instead of pouring in money to support the unity government brokered by
southern African leaders, the region will press donors and international
financial institutions to bail out Zimbabwe.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the former opposition leader sworn into
office this month, has called on Western governments to support the
fledgling transitional government, which includes members of his Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) and President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.

But amid Western concerns that Mugabe and his hard-line security chiefs
remain firmly in charge despite the power-sharing arrangement, Europe and
the United States have been reluctant to commit funds.

Several days ago, Tsvangirai, who describes the government as broke, said it
would take $5 billion to rebuild Zimbabwe. The government needs $100 million
a month to pay salaries and other operating expenses, according to MDC
sources, but is bringing in only $10 million to $11 million a month.

At today's meeting the Zimbabwean government sought $2 billion for schools,
hospitals, infrastructure repairs and economic revival.

But although Southern African Development Community finance ministers
promised to press donors for help, there was no firm pledge of assistance.

"The ministers responsible for finance and investment undertook to pursue
measures in support of Zimbabwe's economic recovery program," said South
African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at a Cape Town news
conference. "We are all, as SADC, determined to help Zimbabwe mobilize the
resources. But, I can't guarantee how much will be raised. . . . The
economic environment globally is difficult, so we will do our best."

She said the money would come from donors, international institutions and
SADC countries.

"Donor countries are known worldwide, but which ones will agree to support
Zimbabwe, we don't know," Dlamini-Zuma said. "We haven't started, we just
decided at this meeting that we will be talking to donor countries."

Tsvangirai and Zimbabwean Health Minister Henry Madzorera visited Harare
Hospital today in a bid to highlight one element of the country's severe
economic problems: the crisis in healthcare. Doctors, who earn only $200 a
month, are leaving the country in droves, medicines are in short supply and
as few as 30% of state health staff positions are filled.

As Tsvangirai entered the main doors, hospital staff broke into applause and
cheered. He strode through the corridors, surrounded by a large throng of
cameras. Nearby, a skinny young woman sat in a battered wheelchair with no
tires, a fly crawling on her forehead.

Under a yellow scarf, her face was pocked and her skin sallow. Her
cheekbones protruded sharply and her wrists and legs were like twigs.

Diagnosed with HIV and tuberculosis, Mary Musvazvi, 23, has never been
offered lifesaving antiretroviral medicines. She has to buy TB medicine
privately because there is none at the hospital.

By today her mother, Lucy Munetsi, 53, was in despair. She had no money to
buy the TB medication required to complete her daughter's course.

Musvazvi spent a week in hospital recently having fluid drained from her
lungs. But she went home, returning today only in search of medication. She
said she was afraid of the nurses.

"If you want to go to the toilet, the nurses abuse you and tell you to just
do it in your sheets where you are lying," she said. "Sometimes you have no
choice. But if you do it, they abuse you again for making a mess.

"Once at night I asked them to make me comfortable so I could sleep. They
just laughed and said, 'Let's go and get our food,' and they walked out."

Musvazvi looked dully ahead as the flurry of cameras and journalists swirled
around her, all chasing the prime minister.

She did not notice him pass. And he did not notice her.

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Wars, Guns and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places by Paul Collier
Book Review
March 1, 2009

Saving Africa from itself is an even more difficult task than saving Britain from its bankers. Because African governments threaten only their own peoples, the world is unwilling to exert itself to intervene against their almost universal cupidity, cruelty, incompetence and corruption. Monsters such as Robert Mugabe ring-fence themselves behind claims of sovereignty, dismissing foreign critics as racists and neocolonialists.

One of Paul Collier's assertions about the plight of Africa is that what masquerades as national sovereignty is, in reality, presidential sovereignty - a professed right to oppress one's own people. This is widely exercised in a continent with too many unviable countries with too large armies, the wrong kind of coups, an excess of Kalashnikovs and farcical elections. African societies, he says, have too much sovereignty, not too little. The motto of rulers jealous of their rights is “Better dead than fed”. It is not elites that starve.

Collier, a veteran development economist, is the author of an excellent earlier book, The Bottom Billion, about the world's poorest societies. His mission in life is to explain why Africa is the mess that it is, and to suggest boldly and imaginatively what might be done about it, if we and the continent could muster the necessary will. The imperial legacy, he says, left Africa partitioned into fragments too small to act convincingly to raise themselves from the pit of poverty. Colonial infrastructure policy, based upon regions, was much more enlightened than that of post-independence national governments. Many countries today depend on the creaky relics of transport systems created generations ago. For instance, the western end of the road linking landlocked Uganda to the sea is a potholed Kenyan track. A short distance lies between Guinea's new iron-ore mines and the nearest port, but this is deemed an unacceptable export route because it goes through Liberia. Billions are thus being wasted building a circuitous road on national soil.

The only credible way forward is through federalism. America, the European Union and OECD have pooled sovereignty on a huge scale. Mighty Germany, for instance, has sacrificed national authority on its currency, interest rates and trade policy. Yet tiny Burundi does not. An academic model shows Africa functioning incomparably better as seven big federal entities than the present 47 mostly basket cases. The continent will only get the hydroelectric and railway networks it needs when there is real cross-border co-operation and joint planning.

African dictators have got the message that if they hold occasional elections, however crooked, they can keep power because they thus pay their democratic dues. Collier argues that western powers that declare piously that they will never traffic with those who stage coups are wrong. The West will never intervene to save Zimbabwe because of the colonial legacy. Only internal revolt can depose Mugabe.

Collier knows Africa intimately. One of the many virtues of his books is that they are prescriptive. They not only catalogue what is wrong, they offer a shopping list for putting it right. As he points out, very few African countries attack each other. Civil strife is the curse, to which the poorest countries are most vulnerable. Governments squander national resources on armies solely designed to preserve their own power. (Ministers of breakaway southern Sudan, for instance, dispense its entire $1.3 billion annual oil revenues to the Sudan People's Liberation Army that brought them to power. They commute to their mockery of a country from Nairobi, where they find it more congenial to live.)

Collier deplores international recognition of statelets too small ever to be decently governed or self-sustainable. He is no neocolonialist, but enthuses about the French military presence in west and central Africa, which provides a vital source of stability. He proposes a new bargain between African societies and the West. In return for accepting external financial scrutiny of aid expenditures - an indispensable step to check corruption - they should be offered security guarantees. Western nations (America, Britain and France, the only ones with the military logistics) would provide over-the-horizon cover for legitimate national governments, and intervene militarily to protect them against internal rebellion. For a start, this would drastically reduce domestic military expenditures, to which 11% of development aid, $3.7 billion a year, is misappropriated. Collier produces statistics to show that foreign peacekeepers provide good value, since the average conflict in even the poorest society costs $20 billion: “Armed struggle is development in reverse.” When hostilities end, it is vital to assist nations to regenerate themselves. As well as Médicins Sans Frontières, he says, we need Bricklayers Without Frontiers.

He is withering about African elections: “In the bottom billion, democracy does not deliver accountability or legitimacy.” Taxes are so low in most societies, chiefly funded by aid, that there is no popular pressure for accountability, such as prevails in the West. Poor voters are happy to be bribed by rotten rulers. Since politicians gain no advantage personally or electorally from being honest, they might as well be crooks: “Electoral competition creates a Darwinian struggle for political survival in which the winner is the one who adopts the most cost-effective means of attracting votes.” Providing good governance is the least plausible way of winning an African election. Most African countries that profess democracy end up with “an unviable halfway house without the capacity of autocracies to act decisively nor the accountability of a genuine democracy”.

Collier's book is more like a conversation with the reader - chatty, discursive, impulsive - than a rigorous thesis, but none the worse for that. It is hard to be unmoved by his anger about the world's blindness to realities, and his passion to do things better. The author knows too much to kid himself that most of his proposals will be adopted. Western politicians only pretend to care about Africa. Privately, they perceive the continent as a cesspit of good intentions, where interventions are hazardous and thankless.

But it is impossible to begin to redeem this brilliant, tragic continent without identifying its problems, as Collier does so well. The bottom billion, he says, are incapable of saving themselves from misrule. They lack the education, free media and effective institutions to do so. He acknowledges that he himself was in the past overoptimistic about the power of democracy to curb misgovernment. Now, he thinks that outside assistance is indispensable: “Military intervention, properly constrained, has an essential role, providing both the security and the accountability of government to citizens that are essential for development.” Collier charts credible courses, though tragically politically implausible ones, to redeem the most wretched societies on earth.

Wars, Guns and Votes by Paul Collier
Bodley Head £20 pp272

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