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Feud turns Zimbabwe opposition into polls 'mincemeat': analysis

Yahoo News

by Fanuel Jongwe Mon Feb 4, 9:16 AM ET

HARARE (AFP) - The Zimbabwe opposition's failure to bury their differences
and agree on a joint electoral strategy means President Robert Mugabe is a
virtual shoo-in for a sixth term of office, analysts said Monday.

With annual inflation beyond 26,000 percent and unemployment at around 80
percent, Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front
(ZANU-PF) party might have all but given up ahead of the polls on March 29.

But Sunday's announcement that the two factions of the Movement for
Democratic Change would field separate candidates rather than make common
cause against Mugabe has led commentators to close the book on the contest.

"It's worthless going into the election divided as they are because there is
no chance they are going to win even against a ZANU-PF that has been
weakened by the economic crisis," said Harare-based political commentator
Bill Saidi.

"A lot of people had placed hope on the opposition to deliver them from the
present difficulties. This is a big letdown and the MDC leaders should be
ashamed of themselves."

Once a formidable force posing the stiffest challenge to Mugabe's more than
two-decade stranglehold on power, the MDC split into two factions following
a row over contesting senate elections in 2005.

There had been hopes the cracks would be at least papered over at election
time, with the MDC's main leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his party rival
Arthur Mutambara talking up the need for unity after they were both beaten
up by the security forces last March.

But despite lengthy talks, compromise proved beyond them and neither man was
prepared to back down over the joint parliamentary and presidential

After voicing his "regret" over the MDC's failure to unite, Tsvangirai tried
to put on a brave face and insisted that there was still "a fighting chance"
of toppling the 83-year-old Mugabe.

But Eldred Masunungure, a political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe,
said the decision was tantamount to electoral suicide.

"The decision to go separate ways was self-destructive ... They will be
mince-meat for the ruling party," said Masunungure.

While ZANU-PF has remained tight-lipped over the implosion in the opposition
ranks, the state-run Herald newspaper said the feud was bound to benefit the
ruling party.

"The two MDC formations will now contest the elections as different fronts,
a situation that will work to ZANU-PF's advantage in some constituencies as
the two factions will split the opposition vote," the newspaper said Monday.

Mugabe, who has ruled the former British colony since independence in 1980,
once caricatured the split opposition as "a two-headed snake which cannot
decide which direction to take" saying it was not to be taken seriously.

Mutambara, a former student leader, has accepted that the MDC's chances of
victory were slimmer after the fallout with their former colleagues.

"Our chances of winning the elections against Mugabe are reduced compared to
our chances if we were working together," Mutambara told journalists, while
apologising "for failing to forge a united front."

Heneri Dzinotyiwei, a Harare-based analyst, agreed the opposition "stood a
better chance if they were unite" but said they had not necessarily lost all
hope as long as they trained their sights on Mugabe rather than each other.

"The challenge is for them to focus on reaching out to the people with a
uniform message of delivering them from the present unfavourable and unhappy
situation and refrain from attacking each other during the campaigns," he

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Zimbabwe accused of plot to kidnap British mercenary

David Pallister
Monday February 4, 2008
Guardian Unlimited

The Zimbabwean authorities were today accused of a criminal conspiracy to
kidnap and deport the British mercenary Simon Mann after it emerged he was
held incommunicado for a day and then secretly flown out of the country
before his appeal process was finished.
Contrary to claims by Zimbabwean officials, the Guardian has established
that the former SAS officer was bundled out of the capital, Harare, on
Friday evening in a military plane and arrived in the west African state of
Equatorial Guinea on Saturday morning.

He was taken to the notorious Black Beach prison to await trial for an
attempted coup plot four years ago.
His precise whereabouts, which have been uncertain for the past four days,
were revealed before a panel of British law lords today as they began a
hearing into Equatorial Guinea's claims for damages against the alleged

The latest drama in the so-called "Wonga coup", began last Wednesday when
two high court judges in Harare rejected his appeal against deportation.
When his lawyer, Jonathan Samukange, tried to see him at Chikurubi prison on
Thursday morning he was told he had been taken away by the police.

At a high court hearing later in the day, Samukange sought a writ of habeus
corpus and an injunction not to remove him until a final appeal to the
supreme court. Two Zimbabwean officials then presented affidavits saying
that he had been extradited earlier that morning.

"They clearly lied," said Anthony Kerman, Mann's London lawyer. "This was a
criminal conspiracy between elements of Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea."

The Guardian has seen affidavits from Evans Siziba, the principal
immigration officer, and Police Superintendent Crispen Makedenge, speaking
for the commissioner of police. Both men say Mann was taken from prison in
the early hours of Thursday and handed over to Equatorial Guinea officials
who left the country in a military plane at about 5.30am.

Kerman said: "It was acknowledged by Zimbabwe that he had a final appeal and
assurances had been given to the British high commissioner that that would

The information given yesterday to the law lords, which came directly from
lawyers for Equatorial Guinea, suggests Mann was detained outside the prison
in Harare for at least 24 hours before being spirited away. His lawyers
claim the rejection of his appeal was politically motivated as one of the
judges was the acting attorney general who framed the original charges
against him.

Mann was first arrested at Harare airport in March 2004 when his plane, en
route from South Africa, touched down with 67, mainly black, South African
former solders to pick up weapons.

They were charged with illegally buying arms and Mann was sentenced to seven
years, reduced to four. In his efforts to escape prosecution he suggested to
his friends, including Sir Mark Thatcher, that it might take "a large
splodge of wonga" to get him out.

Thatcher pleaded guilty in South Africa in 2005 to helping charter a
helicopter he suspected "might be used for mercenary activity".

On Mann's release last year he was immediately rearrested on an extradition

Equatorial Guinea has promised a fair trial and has agreed not to execute
him if found guilty, but he faces many more years in jail.

The South African arms dealer Nick Du Toit, a leader of the alleged coup is
now serving 34 years in Equatorial Guinea.

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Lords hear damages claim over failed Equatorial Guinea coup

Times Online
February 4, 2008

In a dramatic opening to a landmark case, the barrister of alleged plotter
Simon Mann confirmed he is in prison in West Africa
Alex Spence and Michael Herman
Simon Mann, the British former SAS officer accused of plotting a failed coup
in Equatorial Guinea, is in prison in the West African nation, one of his
lawyers confirmed today.

Mr Mann, 55, had lost contact with his legal team after he was snatched from
a maximum security cell in Zimbabwe last week only hours after losing an
appeal against extradition. But in a dramatic opening to a case before
Britain’s highest court today, Philip Shepherd, QC, told the House of Lords
that Mr Mann was being held in the notorious Black Beach prison in Malabo,
the capital of Equatorial Guinea.

Mr Shepherd said: "This is an almost unique situation. Until early this
morning, I did not know where my client was or if he was still alive."

Mr Mann, an Old Etonian and son of a former England cricket captain, is one
of five defendants being pursued by President Nguema and the Government of
Equatorial Guinea through the British courts for damages after the plot
plunged the tiny country into "mayhem". The other defendants include Eli
Calil, a Lebanese businessman who is alleged to have masterminded the plot,
and holding companies in the British Virgin Islands and the Bahamas.

If the appeal succeeds, it could open the door for Equatorial Guinea to gain
access to bank accounts in the Channel Islands that would prove who financed
the attempted coup. It would also overturn a longstanding precedent of
British judges refusing to interfere in the political affairs of another
state. That is a principle so important that the case will be heard by nine
law lords instead of five — the first time so many have sat together since
the challenge to the Hunting Act in 2005.
Opening the case, Sir Sydney Kentridge, QC, for Equatorial Guinea, told the
law lords that the defendants had set out to seize control of the country's
substantial oil and gas reserves for their own enrichment and in doing so
meant to "kill or severely injure" the President.

Equatorial Guinea claims it lost millions after it was forced to increase
security in the wake of the coup and in damage to its economy through delays
to civil engineering projects and loss of foreign investment.

It alleges that between March 2003 and March 2004, Mr Mann and others
hatched a plan to overthrow President Ngeuma — who came to power in a
violent coup in 1979 — with a force of around 70 former Special Forces
soldiers armed with assault rifles, grenade launchers and mortars.

On March 7, 2004, Mr Mann and several others were captured in Zimbabwe while
waiting for their plane to take off. Mr Mann claimed the arms were intended
for a private security company guarding diamond mines in the Democratic
Republic of Congo; however, he was convicted on firearms and immigration
charges and sentenced to four years in prison. In South Africa, Sir Mark
Thatcher, the son of Baroness Thatcher, later admitted financing part of the
plot and was fined £265,000 and released with a suspended sentence.

The law lords will determine whether Equatorial Guinea has the right to
bring a claim for damages in the UK. In particular, they will consider two
complicated points of law: whether civil damages can be claimed for a
conspiracy that was not actually carried out, and whether the case amounts
to an exercise of Equatorial Guinea's sovereign interests.

British judges have traditionally refused to allow cases in which they
consider a foreign government is attempting to enforce its laws through the
UK's courts. In October 2006, the Court of Appeal ruled that Equatorial
Guinea's claim did not fall within its jurisdiction because its losses were
not in the form of damage to private property but were rather the result of
decisions it made to protect its state and citizens.

Professor Gary Slapper, Director for the Centre of Law at the Open
University, said a ruling in favour of Equatorial Guinea could risk turning
the UK into a forum for settling grievances involving foreign states.

He said: "The trouble is a law court is not a good platform in which to
conduct politics, and it's a disaster for those who want to try to manage
diplomatic international relations."

The hearing is scheduled to last until Thursday.

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Mugabe's government reclaims 1,449 repossessed former white farms

Monsters and Critics

Feb 4, 2008, 10:49 GMT

Harare - The government of Zimbabwe says it has taken back 1,449 of the
farms it seized from their white owners and gave to wealthy black would-be
farmers after it discovered the land was either empty or the new occupiers
were not doing any farming, according to the state media Monday.

Lands minister Didymus Mutasa was quoted in the state-controlled daily
Herald as saying that his ministry was repossessing 'all vacant and
underutilized A2 farms (a state scheme meant for settlers with independent
finance to carry out commercial farming) and we are not going back on this
exercise.' The farms would be given to new, deserving applicants.

In 2000 President Robert Mugabe launched his revolutionary resettlement land
programme, in which lawless ruling party militias were used to drive white
owners from their land, mostly violently, forcing off nearly all of the
community of about 4,000 highly productive white commercial farmers.

About 300 are left, most of them still under constant harassment by ruling
party officials. The seizures were followed by a collapse of the
agricultural industry, which had earned Zimbabwe the reputation of being
Africa's breadbasket, and ricocheted on to the rest of country's
agriculturally-based economy, triggering the fastest economic collapse in
modern history of any country not at war.

Many of the farms were given to high-ranking ruling party politicians,
military and police offices, administrators and judges, while thousands of
peasant farmers also initially resettled on land seized from whites were
later driven off by members of Mugabe's inner circle, including his

Studies by auditors say nearly all the seized farms have fallen into ruin,
with the homesteads stripped of their roofs and windows, outbuildings and
barns crumbling and fields that have reverted to weeds and tall grass.

Mugabe has lamented that the farms are mostly used for weekend braais
(barbecues), while the state media has reported that settlers given cheap
fuel, seed, fertilizer and implements have sold them on the black market.

Human rights agencies say that the campaign of land seizures, which left 30
farmers and about 100 of their workers dead, was a plan by Mugabe to build
up his waning support before an election by giving away land.


juhaFeb 4th, 2008 - 15:26:51

well duhhhh!!!....what did they think was going to happen. pure land
grab...comercial farming is a modern activity, it doesnt involve small plots
of subsistence farming. Huge tracks of land are required to make them
viable, plus deeded title to the land is needed in order to get credit from
banks. Allso farming know how is needed to run a farm, thats why in modern
countries people usually dont farm but leave it to large
agribusiness....yeesh. Normal people want to work near big cities and not
toil under the sun with a hoe on a plot of land many miles away from
civilization. they wanted to give the land to the blacks, but tossed out the
blacks that knew how to work the farms and gave them to lackies and halfwits
Zanu PF yes men(the certainly arent do men cause they cant do anything)

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Zimbabwe - Mugabe gears up to dish out more of his violence

Mens News Daily


February 4, 2008 at 12:19 pm ·

The following is the content of a warning sent out today for certain
Zimbabweans to prepare for the worst. It is notable that most of the people
listed below have already shown great courage in the face of Mugabe's goon
police and militia. Of particular note, Jenni Williams was recently awarded
a medal for her courageous and defiant stand against Mugabe's brutality by
Condoleezza Rice on behalf of the American Government. Jenni Williams had
already been beaten and imprisoned on more than 30 occasions and when taken
to court, the prosecution have been a joke and thrown out. What's far worse
is that she has already been threatened with death by a senior policeman in
the presence of her lawyer. The are many men and women like Jenni who
continue the good fight against this dictatorship. As Zimbabwe moves towards
their next rigged election in March, the violence is increasing to greater
levels on a daily basis.

Police brutality - the word goes out.

Another leaked memo reveals that those brave souls who oppose the Mugabe
regime are targeted by those who should defend them - our police.
Anyone who thought that all the news about a new party, a new presidential
challenger, and a Zanu-PF split might mean a lessening of the official
terror on the streets and in the homes of our country is doomed to be
disappointed. If anything, things are clearly about to get worse.

I learned this when, in what is becoming an every-day occurrence, a contact
within the state machine, who has become disillusioned with the Mugabe
method of running a country, showed me a confidential memo. I read it with
growing dread. The leaders of opposition groups in Zimbabwe must brace
themselves for a difficult time ahead.

The memo comes from within the police Law and Order Section - an ironic
title for a unit that excels in brutality and violence. It is numbered
LM05/2008, and is an internal communication signal, written by Senior
Assistant Commissioner L.D. Muchemwa, Officer Commanding the Bulawayo
district, and addressed to Police Commissioner Augustine on January 3 this

This is what it said:

It's basic message is that surveillance efforts are being stepped up against
Bulawayo-based members of the Opposition Movement For Democratic Change
(MDC) and leaders of other civic organisations.

Under the heading 'Update On Election Preparations' Muchemwa writes: "This
province has identified the following hostile individuals and stepped up
surveillance missions on them, as directed by your office… Our Law and
Order and PISI (Police Internal Security Intelligence) details have been
deployed to monitor and report on the activities of these. Their residential
places are also subject to daily routine checks, so as to gather as much
information as possible on their plans and people who pay them."

The names on the list that follows are, of course, the usual suspects. That
includes, to begin with, most members of the MDC, including three members of
parliament, Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, Thokozani Khupe and Felix Mafa. Also on
the list are the co-leaders of Women of Zimbabwe Arise, Jenni Williams and
Magodonga Mahlangu, and of course, former Archbishop Pius Ncube.

Only one name on the list is there in his individual capacity, rather than
being aligned with the protest movements. He is the courageous Zenzele
Ndebele, who, as I've previously reported, produced the stunning documentary
Gukurahundi - A Time Of Madness, the story of Mugabe's massacre of 20,000
civilians in Matabeleland in the Eighties. Zenzele is currently in hiding,
and long may he remain in safety.

Finally, the memo reads: "This office takes security matters seriously and
these (the names on the list) will be dealt with accordingly, where it is
believed that they have committed a crime."

A cold little sentence, but it carries a huge threat. I say to everyone
named on this appalling list: Please - be careful out there.

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Youth leaders arrested as police raid offices

By Lance Guma
04 February 2008

Two youth leaders were arrested at the weekend when more than 10 police
officers raided offices belonging to pressure group ‘The Youth Forum.’ On
Saturday Terence Chimhavi an advocacy officer and Farirai Mageza, were
arrested and detained at Avondale police station. Police are said to have
interrogated them for 8 hours over allegations the forum was behind the
spraying of graffiti around Avondale Shopping centre. The graffiti denounced
Mugabe’s regime for its misrule of the country. The 2 youth leaders were
released the same day at midnight, without any charges being laid.

The arresting officers are said to have arrived at the Youth Forum premises
accompanied by a Harare property tycoon known as Mapfumo, who apparently
owns the building. Mapfumo is said to have demanded the eviction of the
Youth Forum from the building because he did not like the nature of their
work. A Youth Forum statement said Mapfumo made it clear he wants to offer
the office space to the Ministry of Policy Implementation in the Office of
the President. He made further complaints that some of the posters inside
the offices were subversive and insulted Mugabe. The youths were given until
Monday 4th February to vacate the property.

In other reports, police arrested Themba Maphenduka, the newly elected
Treasurer of the Zimbabwe National Students Union on Wednesday, before they
dumped him 30 km outside Bulawayo in Nyamandlovu. After addressing students
at the Bulawayo Polytechnic Maphenduka had been waylaid by 4 plain-clothes
policemen who took him to Bulawayo central police station. Once at the
station the police switched cars and drove him to Nyamandlovu before dumping
him in a bush. Maphenduka had to walk for at least an hour before he got to
the Harare-Victoria Falls road around 2am. The student leader was not
assaulted on this occasion.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Zimbabweans despair at MDC “betrayal”

Zim Online

by Edith Kaseke Tuesday 05 February 2008

HARARE - The bright posters and banners light up the room. Although it is
empty, there is an air of expectation and any critic would have believed
that finally, Zimbabwe’s main opposition party was on a path to
re-unification to pose a serious threat to President Robert Mugabe’s
decades-long rule.

In this room, at a local hotel, the two factions of the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party were to announce to the world
that they had buried their differences and would confront Mugabe as a united

But that was not to be, as afternoon soon gave way to evening and hope fast
degenerated into despair as once more the divided MDC factions failed to
strike an eleventh-hour unity pact, starkly reminding expectant supporters
that the fallout of October 12, 2005 could forever remain the Achilles heel
of the country’s largest opposition party.

“This is very depressing news,” said Oscar Chiwara, a salesman at a Harare
clothing retailer after reading the news in a newspaper yesterday. “I am
disappointed because some of us had put so much faith into this process. Now
they will lose the election and they cannot blame anyone.”

Once a formidable party that came close to ousting Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party in
the 2000 parliamentary elections, the MDC is now a shadow of its former self
when it was formed in 1999, largely due to internal squabbles on tactics to
confront the ageing leader and a government crackdown on its structures.

At the weekend, the MDC worsened its predicament by failing to patch up
differences following its split in 2005 mainly over positions in a reunified

Now many are convinced Mugabe would easily romp home to victory in the March
29 presidential, parliamentary and local government elections, noted
political commentator John Makumbe, adding that the opposition party could
prove the biggest obstacle to a democratic dispensation as Mugabe tightens
his grip on power.

Analysts had predicted a tight victory for Mugabe if the two MDC factions
had fought the elections as a single party but going into the polls divided,
they would hand the 83-year-old veteran leader a landslide win.

“I have no doubt that Mugabe will have the last laugh and who can blame him
really,” said Makumbe, who remains opposed to Mugabe’s policies.

“The opposition has just done themselves in and in fact it would not be
wrong if one were to suggest that they are becoming another obstruction to
democratic change,” said Makumbe.

The MDC’s bid at reunification collapsed over the selection of candidates,
reflecting the huge personal differences that have set them apart.

Academic Arthur Mutambara, who heads the smaller faction of the MDC, quickly
conceded the unseating Mugabe – a tough assignment at the best of times –
look slimmer after failure to construct a united front.

Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the larger faction of the opposition party and
who would have led the united front, tried to put up a brave face telling
reporters there was still a “fighting chance” against Mugabe.

But there were few on the streets of Harare willing to share in Tsvangirai’s
optimism. For many the future looked as grim as ever, with Mugabe and his
ZANU-PF set to romp to an easy victory come March 29.

“This government has impoverished us and now we will get another five years
with these guys?” said Mercy Makore, clearly looking disturbed at another
five years with Mugabe at the helm of Zimbabwean politics.

The southern African nation is in deep economic turmoil, reflected by
shortages from cash, foreign currency, food, water to electricity while
there are four in every five people without jobs. Inflation sailed to 26 000
percent last week amid a weak economic outlook.

A good number of Zimbabweans blame Mugabe’s policies for dragging the
country into recession but cannot quite live with the “betrayal” by the MDC
after the breakdown of the weekend unity talks.

Mugabe meanwhile is entrenching his rule, increasingly leaning on security
forces to retain power and few would dare to protest as this would invite
the wrath of the police and the military. Never mind the security forces are
grossly underpaid.

Analysts say Mugabe has cleverly intensified repression against the
opposition and civil society, while maintaining a veneer of democracy. In
the past week there has been a heavy presence of police on the streets of

Critics say this is a tactic to intimidate those opposed to his long rule.
It is no wonder that increasingly, Zimbabweans now look up to God for

“Let us leave that to God, this will all end some day,” quips a middle-aged
woman during a political debate at a queue to buy bread, promptly inviting
murmurs of disapproval from younger colleagues.

Mugabe rejects allegations of running down the economy and points to a
Western conspiracy led by Britain to sabotage the economy as punishment for
his government’s seizure of white-owned commercial farms to resettle blacks
dispossessed by colonialists. - ZimOnline

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Fresh power blackout hits Zimbabwe

Zim Online

by Thenjiwe Mabhena Tuesday 05 February 2008

HARARE – A major power blackout hit Harare and most parts of Zimbabwe at the
weekend, the third time inside four weeks that this has happened, as an
acute economic crisis gripping the country shows no signs of abating.

The blackout disrupted telecommunications services and affected basic
services such as the pumping of water to city residents, while the state-run
newspaper, The Sunday Mail failed to publish on Sunday.

Power was restored to some homes by Sunday evening but by Monday morning,
some parts of Harare were still without electricity.

State power utility, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) Holdings,
blamed a “system malfunction” for the power outage and promised to restore
supplies to all consumers.

“This (power blackout) was due to a system malfunction on the
Bulawayo-Haven, and Bulawayo Insukamini 330kv feeders,” said ZESA
spokesperson Fullard Gwasira.

Zimbabwe has faced power shortages since an economic crisis accelerated in
2000 with ZESA blaming the problem on lack of foreign currency to expand
generation capacity or to buy parts for existing power stations.

Foreign power firms in neighbouring countries such as South Africa that used
to supply about 35 percent of Zimbabwe’s total power requirements have since
cut supplies either because of rising demand in their own domestic markets
or because of ZESA’ failure to pay.

However, for long-suffering Zimbabweans, the electricity cuts are only an
addition on a long list of hardships bedevelling the country in the grip of
economic meltdown critics blame on repression and wrong policies by
President Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe’s 1980 independence from Britain and seeking
another five-year term in elections in March, denies ruining Zimbabwe and
instead blames his country’s problems on sabotage by Western governments he
says are out to topple him. – ZimOnline

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River authority says could open spill gates of Kariba Dam

Zim Online

by Own Correspondent  Tuesday 05 February 2008

JOHANNESBURG – The Zambezi River Authority says it could open the
spill way gates of Kariba Dam to prevent its collapse after heavy rains that
pounded the region over the past few months.

In a statement to the media, the Authority said the gates “may be
opened at any time if the need arises” raising fears of severe flooding for
villagers living in the low-lying Zambezi valley.

The Zambian government is said to have already started evacuating
villagers along the Zambezi River to prevent further loss of lives.

At least six people have died because of floods in Zambia with at
least 21 people dying in southern Zimbabwe because of the floods.

Southern African countries of Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique have
been hit by massive flooding because of incessant rains that have pounded
the region since last December.

The Kariba Dam, one of the biggest man-made dams in Africa, was built
in the 1950s and lies on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe Voters Trying To Register For March Polls Face Many Hurdles


By Carole Gombakomba
04 February 2008

With just four days left before a deadline Friday to register to vote in
March elections, Zimbabwean civic groups say many citizens face difficulties
in the process including not only documentation requirements but simply
reaching registration centers.

A recent survey by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network found that most
people in rural areas who had not registered during a mobile registration
program late last year did not have enough money to travel to registration
centers in district seats.

But the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has put the blame on the electorate,
which it says in many cases failed to avail itself of that mobile
registration program operated by the Office of the Registrar General.
However, critics of that operation said it did not provide full geographical
coverage and many mobile units lacked key materials.

The Combined Harare Residents Association, which has launched a campaign to
urge Harare residents to register to vote, says urban residents face
daunting challenges in producing the right documentation at registration
offices. Among other items, voters are required to produce valid identity
cards and proof of residence.

Chief Executive Officer Barnabas Mangodza of the Combined Harare Residents
Association told reporter Carole Gombakomba that many of the thousands of
people evicted from their homes in the government's 2005 Operation
Murambatsvina ("Drive Out Rubbish") eviction-demolition drive have no legal
proof of where they live.

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Mugabe’s election ruse

Mail and Guardian

M&G writer: ANALYSIS

04 February 2008 11:59

His foes have called it “an act of madness”, but Robert Mugabe’s
move to call elections within two months might prove a masterstroke that
will trip up his opponents.

But it could also be a move that prolongs his standoff with the
opposition and a regional mediation process with which Mugabe looks
increasingly impatient.

By unilaterally setting the date, Mugabe has set Zimbabwe up for
an election the outcome of which will be disputed, the one thing Thabo Mbeki’s
mediation effort set out to prevent in the first place.

Nearly a year into the Mbeki process, Mugabe’s move should also
force Mbeki, who is to report to African leaders this weekend, into a change
of tack.

Last Friday Mugabe called elections for March 29, defying
opposition demands -- which were given popular expression just two days
earlier in street protests -- that the elections be pushed back to allow a
set of constitutional and electoral reforms agreed by both sides to take

Mugabe’s decision has forced the two feuding factions of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to put a halt to their
bickering and open discussion about whether to reunite and face Mugabe, or
boycott the elections altogether.

With Mugabe setting a deadline for the registration of
candidates, by February 8, the MDC now has little time to decide.

But already bitter rivalries are being set aside, at least for

Welshman Ncube, secretary general of one faction of the MDC and
one of the opposition’s two negotiators, said early this week the two rival
factions would meet over a common reaction to Mugabe.

“We have to meet and come up with a position, collectively. Our
question is: how could Mugabe unilaterally announce the election date when
the dialogue was still going on? He has effectively repudiated the SADC
[Southern African Development Community] dialogue,” Ncube said.

But, however the MDC decides, Mugabe will emerge from March 29
still unable to claim the legitimacy he so badly craves.

Should the MDC participate, and lose as expected, it will
challenge Mugabe’s victory. A boycott by all opposition parties would be
even worse for him, as this would leave him unable to gain any real
international, or even regional, recognition for his government.

So far none of this is stopping Mugabe from firing up his
campaign machinery.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network, an independent election
observer group, said in a new report that Mugabe’s Zanu-PF is using food
aid, farm equipment and threats of violence and loss of property to prop up
his rural support. This week, in his latest attempt to win reluctant urban
support, he announced that the government would open “people’s stores” that
will sell basics at “affordable prices”.

But while Mugabe goes full throttle, the MDC campaign has yet to
take off, as its leaders had thrown everything into the Mbeki process,
believing they could still sway Mugabe on the election date.

The state-run newspaper, the Herald, without a hint of irony,
said the MDC should set aside its criticism of the playing field and emulate
Zanu-PF, which, at the 1980 independence elections, “defied the odds and won
a landslide against the [Ian] Smith regime and its lackeys who controlled
the machinery of the state”.

But, since Mugabe’s announcement, there has been stronger
lobbying by MDC radicals who argue that going into elections will help
Mugabe claim the legality he needs to get Mbeki off his back.

It has been nearly a year since Mbeki started his mediation
effort. It must feel like an eternity to Mugabe, who loathes even the
slightest foreign scrutiny of his rule. Signs of fatigue over the Mbeki
process have been showing for months.

At Mbeki’s last visit in January Mugabe looked decidedly
irritated as he glumly emerged from a five-hour long meeting at his official
residence, angrily refusing to compromise on any of the opposition’s

But with a continuation of the crisis after what will obviously
be a disputed election result, Mbeki will have to either continue with the
process or -- and this would be an even worse irritant for Mugabe -- he
could refer the matter to the SADC organ on defence, politics and security,
as now demanded by the opposition.

There will also be renewed calls for a widening of the efforts
in Zimbabwe, even after Senegalese leader Abdoulaye Wade failed in a bid
last year to have other African leaders included in helping to solve the

Mbeki himself has previously rejected suggestions to allow
broader intervention but, with all previous progress now reversed, even his
patience must be wearing thin.

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary - 2nd February 2008

A cold day with a bitter wind from the North. But crushed together between
the maple trees, the dancing and singing kept us warm.  We had people down
from Manchester and Liverpool where it was snowing and also an old friend
from Newcastle, Fanuel Kapumha, who brought his own (very superior) drum.
Also with him was Jerry Mtolela, another musician from the early days.
Fanuel now has something of a Geordie accent.

We were relieved to hear from Sten of our partner Restoration of Human
Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR Zimbabwe) that he had been released from custody on
Monday.  A text message from him today read "The whole country has no
electricity. We are in total darkness. The government continues to lie to
the people about the electricity situation. The truth is that 'failure to
govern Zimbabwe' is the sole cause. Police brutality is getting worse with
each passing day. Zanu PF is once again using intimidatory tactics to rig
the forthcoming imposed election. If the MDC goes for the election they are
wasting people's time. We want real change not just change."  Other news
from Zimbabwe has been sent to us by Forward, a journalist living in the UK.
It was so graphic we have put the whole email on our diary (see below).

Patson Muzuwa from Leicester led the singing and drumming and announced the
Vigil plans for election day on 29th March.  The Vigil has booked the space
outside the Embassy from 6 am that morning and plans to set up a polling
station and conduct a mock ballot that day.  More information about this as
plans develop.  All Zimbabweans and sympathizers welcome.  We have reliable
information that Mr Mugabe will be there himself as he was at our demo in
Lisbon.  He will show the media how to stuff a ballot box.

We are happy to host a demonstration for Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
organised by WOZA UK.  They plan Valentine's action from 1 - 3 pm on
Saturday, 16th February. Come early to support our brave friends in WOZA.

News from friends around the UK. The Zimbabwe Solidarity Campaign in Belfast
held a Vigil outside City Hall today from 1pm to 3pm. The Vigils are now
held monthly, on the first Saturday of every month. Our friends in Bristol
report that they are still holding Vigils.  The last one was on 26th
January.  Patrick Dziba and his wife Maud who have made heroic efforts to
get to the Vigil recently phoned this morning to say they had called a
meeting with Zimbabweans in Glasgow to map a way forward to start a Vigil in
Glasgow.  We look forward to hearing about their plans.

A new role for the Vigil.  We have Geordie Zimbabweans but today came a
black British actor, Nicholas Bailey (of Eastenders), who is to play Mugabe's
bodyguard in a production of "Breakfast with Mugabe" in the Ustinov Theatre
in Bath from 22nd February - 22nd March (
He was worried that Zimbabweans in the audience would laugh at his
Zimbabwean accent and his pronunciation of Shona so sensibly he came to the
Vigil for some coaching.

Here is the email from Zimbabwe mentioned above: "Hope you're fine. We're
struggling.  Now as you must have heard we're signing $10billion cheques
bro! The RTGS is 'allegedly' offline, so individuals and companies have had
their cheque limits raised from $500 million to a whopping $10 billion. Not
that it is really a lot of money. Looks bad, but its getting worse and we
can't even imagine how deeper we have to sink before things start getting
better. Prices of virtually everything have again gone up no less than
two-fold since last week! We bought a quart of Castle lager for $3 million
last week then $6 million on Tuesday and $7million yesterday! Civil servants
who received even up to 6000% increments in some instances are galloping
back to square one barely two months after the increments and who knows when
the next pay rise is going to be!  Basic commodities continue to be in short
supply. In fact the economy is crumbling right in our eyes and we are
helpless. Now we are headed for yet another disputed election which
literally means a deeper catastrophe! And our rural folk are so scared of
the ruling party the only political discussion you hear them partake in is
about the Zanu PF primaries, as if thats the beginning and the end of the
election. You ask them if they do not see how their lives have changed they
collectively tell you not to put them in trouble by getting them to discuss
anything to do with the MDC. But one by one they will tell you how much they
have been threatened. The tragedy is that they are so convinced and they
really believe it would be known and they would be in deep shit if they do
anything outside Zanu PF, no matter how much they are also aware how that
same Zanu PF has messed their lives and their children's. They have wounds
and graves to show to justify their fear. They say its better to suffer
alive than to see and endure what they have already seen and especially what
they have been 'promised' this time round. What with chiefs driving brand
new Mazdas filled with free fuel; new tractors which they fleece villagers
with (they charge for tillage and pocket the money). And headmen have their
new scotch-carts, ploughs, harrows, seed, fertilizer, etc. Agriculturally my
brother, Zimbabwe is headed, not for a Mother of all Agricultural Seasons
but the Grandmother of all Agricultural Disasters! Even the oldest granny in
the rural areas tells you we are facing a dreadful drought.  Crops are all
waterlogged, most of them a complete right off! God help us. Sorry to take
so much of your time updating you. But there is so much more happening
everywhere you look. People no longer know how or where to adjust their
lifestyles to! "

For this week's Vigil pictures:

FOR THE RECORD:  217 signed the register.

·         Monday 4th February at 7.30 pm. Central London Zimbabwe Forum.  A
speaker from the Zimbabwe NGO Human Rights Forum will update us on the
recent AU meeting in Addis Ababa. This week's venue is the Strand
Continental Hotel, 143 The Strand, WC2R 15A. Directions: The Strand is the
same road as the Vigil. From the Vigil it's about a 10 minute walk, in the
direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated
between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance
is a doorway onto the street, with a big sign high above indicating it is
the Hotel Strand Continental and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at
street level. It's next to a newsagent.
·         Saturday, 16th February 2008, 1 - 3 pm outside the Zimbabwe
Embassy, London.  WOZA Valentine's Day Action.
·         Saturday, 29th March 2008, 6 am - 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe
Embassy, London.  Zimbabwe Vigil's diaspora polling station and mock ballot.

Vigil Co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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Election boost for Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe

The Telegraph

By Byron Dziva in Harare and Peta Thornycroft

Last Updated: 1:53am GMT 04/02/2008

      President Robert Mugabe faces an easy victory in Zimbabwe's election
in March after the bitterly divided opposition decided to run two candidates
against him.

      Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, the leaders of the two
factions of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), failed to agree an
electoral pact.

      They will both run for president, a course that will split the
anti-Mugabe vote and ensure defeat for both men.

      Mr Mutambara apologised with a "heavy heart" for the failure and said
that Mr Tsvangirai had rejected a "reunification agreement".

      For his part, Mr Tsvangirai said: "We failed as an opposition to
unite, it is unfortunate but this is the reality. The electorate will figure
out on their own which candidate they prefer. There is disagreement and we
can't force it down the people's throat."

      One opposition MP described the MDC's internecine warfare as
      The MDC's factions will also run parliamentary candidates against one
another, virtually guarantee a majority for Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

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Gvt dismisses watchdog report on elections

3rd Feb 2008 23:15 GMT

By Sebastian Nyamhangambiri

HARARE - The government has dismissed a report released by the United
States-based Human Rights Watch that next month’s general elections will not
be free and fair despite the recent changes to the constitution and the
electoral laws.

In its report for 2008 called: Democracy Charade, Zimbabwe was put in the
same category of countries that manipulate elections through “outright fraud
and control of electoral machinery.” Other countries are: Chad, Jordan,
Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Malaysia and Thailand.

But in an interview yesterday Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, the information minister
dismissed the report as biased.

"How can they know of an election that is yet to be held? That tells that
they have a bias against the ruling party and its government. If that had
been said after the election, I would have tried to understand it,” said

He was reacting to the Human Rights report that the March 29 elections would
not be free despite the changes to the electoral laws.

“Even so, there are serious concerns over whether the forthcoming elections
will be free and fair. Impunity that perpetrators of political violence
enjoy in Zimbabwe conveys the message that violence in the run-up to and the
aftermath of the 2008 elections will also go unpunished,” says the report.

In the 2005 parliamentary elections, Human Rights Watch chronicled numerous
abuses, including widespread political intimidation, the use of repressive
laws to limit voters’ rights to freedom of expression, association and
assembly, and electoral irregularities

In the 2008 report, Human Rights Watch notes that in Zimbabwe issues of
human rights are not respected and there is no freedom of expression, of
assembly and of the press.

“Intimidation, arbitrary arrest, and criminal prosecution of journalists
continue to seriously limit freedom of expression and information,” says the
report. ” In 2007, the government introduced the Interception of
Communications Act which threatens to further restrict the rights of
Zimbabweans to privacy, information and expression. The law allows the
government to intercept emails; and monitor telephone calls, the Internet
and postal communications. There are serious concerns that the law could be
used to target human rights activists, journalists, trade unionists, and
other government critics.”

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Zimbabwe warned of abuses ahead of polls

Africa News, Netherlands

Posted on Monday 4 February 2008 - 11:23
  1.. Fungai Brian Kanyongo, AfricaNews reporter in Harare, Zimbabwe
  With only 56 days left before the 2008 harmonized elections, the
government has been called upon by right activists to create a free human
rights environment to ensure free and fair elections.

  Speaking at her office, the Executive Director of Zimbabwe Human Rights
NGO Forum Eileen Sawyer, said government should make all the necessary
frameworks to ensure that impartiality and sanity will prevail during this
period adding all eyes will be on Zimbabwe because of President Mugabe’s
accusations of rigging the elections.

  Sawyer indicated that violence in Zimbabwe was increasing at an alarming
rate especially during elections and mass protests.

  “We condemn violence from whatever quarter whether from the state agents,
individuals and other stake holders because it threatens the political and
economic stature of a country.” she said

  “My experience as a human rights activist is that there is an upsurge of
violence cases during this time as people are entitled to different
political parties” she added

  President Mugabe has also been aligned to the use of violence for
garnering support with reports that many people were forced to participate
in the one-million men and women march held last year at Zimbabwe grounds.

  Sawyer added that Human Rights Forum just like many other human rights
defenders was concerned about State agent’s failure to protect citizens as
entitled by the Declaration of Rights in the Constitution, which urges the
government to uphold the international obligations for the protection of
human rights.

  According to their November report, 421 violations were recorded while 8
540 were booked from 1 January to 30 November 2007. She however remained
optimistic that this year’s polls will not be reminiscent of what transpired
in Kenya after Raila Odinga of the Orange Democratic Movement which lost the
elections declared that the elections were rigged.

  “These figures really reflect the true situation on the ground which means
we have to clear the hurdle if we are to have free elections in March or
else we may find our selves in double jeopardy” she said

  However, to curb the rampant increase of human rights imposed by
repressive laws such as Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA) and the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), MDC signed the
piecemeal amendment 18 though they deviated from their Constitution which
had said NO to any piecemeal amendment.

  The MDC leader by signing the constitutional amendment 18 facilitated by
South African leader Thabo Mbeki, had shot himself as they were denied the
right to freedom of assembly by Zanu-PF recently. MDC was disallowed to hold
freedom marches amid fears that they could cause chaos.

  Last year on 11 March, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Lovemore
Madhuku Arthur Mutambara and many others aligned to the opposition  were
brutally assaulted by police when they attempted to hold a prayer meeting
under the Save Zimbabwe Campaign.

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Zanu-PF cadres not happy with Mugabe

Africa News, Netherlands

Posted on Monday 4 February 2008 - 11:34
  1.. As Zanu-PF cadres battle to have someone to challenge president Mugabe
in the forthcoming elections, it has become axiomatic that many loyal
citizens are fed up with the ageing leader who have been in power since
Zimbabwe gained its independence in 1980.

  Zimbabweans recently had been optimistic that president Mugabe would leave
power after former SADC secretary general Simba Makoni had tried to form a
political party aimed at fighting President Mugabe.

  Because of president Mugabe's diplomacy, Simba Makoni betrayed many
desperate citizens after he assented to Mugabe's candidature in the coming

  Many Zimbabweans had expressed their support for Makoni as their rapport
with president Mugabe had ended because of the crippling economic situation
that has affected the country for the past eighty years. This was also after
the government embarked on the controversial land reform programme in 2000
to drum support for Mugabe.

  However, the give up by Simba Makoni was not the end of the road as
Zanu-PF cadres quickly choose politburo memberr Dumiso Dabengwa to file the
nomination papers as days to the March elections counts.

  This latest development indicated that Tsvangirai lacked what it takes to
fight president Mugabe. Tsvangirai and his camp was divided before they
reuniting pact prompting to doubt his pedigree as a future leader.

  Reports gleaned also revealed that some members aligned to the Zanu-PF
party were coercing an organisied united force with the same Zanu-PF
idealogy to stand against the ailing leader because they no longer want
Mugabe to rule Zimbabwe.

  The politburo member, Dumiso Dabengwa is a veteran of the liberation
struggle expressed his willingness but revealed that those behind him should
not betray him on the peak of the campaign.

  Dabengwa is a versatile and charismatic leader who inspired the politburo
meeting last week to censure president Mugabe over war veterans leader's
effort to organise freedom marches throughout the country campaigning on
behalf of Mugabe.Vice president Musika also instructed the war veterian
leader to stop campaigning for Mugabe which lead to conclude that the
presidium must pass the final verdict.

  Meanwhile inflation has soared to the record of 26 470 percent causing the
economy to shrink by about 6 percent in 2007. This contraction in economic
activity has been mirrored in output decline in all sectors of the economy .

  Although Zimbabwe have over the last eight years or so grappled with
chronic shortages of food, fuel, foreign currency and more recently water
and electricity, president Mugabe denies responsibility for the woes and
continue criticising the Western and its allies for slapping "smart
sanctions" against the country.

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List of Farms Seized

The Zimbabwean

 Monday, 04 February 2008 21:55

The following are a list of farms that were in the Chronicle on Friday 1st
February 2008.

Notice of Acquisition of Agriculture Land under section 16(B)(2)(a)(iii) of
the Constitution of Zimbabwe, and the Minister of State for National
Security, Lands,Land Reform and Resettlement in the Presidents Office hereby
acquires for and behalf of the State, the land identified and described in
the Schedule for the purpose of settlement for agriculture.
Further Take Notice that ownership of the acquired land with full title
therein vested in the State is with effect from the date of publication of
this notice in the Government Gazette.
D.N.E. Mutasa

                         Description of Land.

1.   Deed of Transfer 4995/93, registered in the name of Bromyard
Enterprises P/L, in respect of certain piece of land situate in the district
of Goromonzi, being S/D "A" of Mwanza of Chitara, measuring one hundred and
two comma three zero nine four (102,3094) hectares.

2.   Deed of Transfer 13002/99, registered in the name of Bax
Investments(Pvt) Ltd in respect of certain piece of land situate in the
district of Goromonz being Lot 13AB of Gardiner East, measuring seventy four
comma zero four eight seven (74.0487) hectares

3.   Deed of Transfer 1115/79, registered in the name of  L.G. Heathcote, in
respect of certain piece of land situate in the district of Gwelo, being
Remainder of Lot 20 Umsungwe Block, measuring seventy fourcomma three four
four three (74,3443) hectares

4.  Deed of Transfer 597/89, registered in the name of Ann Lourens, in
respect of certain piece of land situae in the district of Gwelo, being
Remaiander of Vigers Farm, mesuring eight hundred and sixty seven comma one
eight five six (867,1856) hectares.

5.   Deed of Transfer 0651/95, registered in the name of Geoffrey Jackson,
in respect of certain piece of land situate in the district of Insiza, being
New Eldorado of Greater Kyalami measuring  two thousand six hundred and
twenty nine comma zero eight five two (2629,0852) hectares.

6.   Deed of Transfer 512/96, registered in the name of Sound Stone
Enterprises P/L in respect of certain piece of land situate in the district
of Insizza being Remainder Extent  of Blinkbony, measuring eight hundred and
twenty comma nine two three seven (820,9237) hectares

7.   Deed of Transfer 1948/86 registered in the name of Willhaven (Pvt) Ltd
in respect of certain piece of land situate in the district of Inyanga,
being Lot 5 of Inyanga Downs of Inyanga Downs, measuring thiry two comma
seven nine four eight (30,7948) hectares

8.   Deed of Transfer 10197/99, registered in the anme of Carthorse
Enterprises, in respect of a certain piece of land situate in the district
of Makoni, being Lot 1 of Granite Flat, measuring one hundred and nine comma
zero four seven nine (109,0409) hectares.

9.   Deed of Transfer 13950/01, registered in the anme of Gavils P/L, in
respect of a certain piece of land situate in the district of Makoni, being
Lot 2 of Lionshead, measuring sixty three comma eight three zero eight
(63,8308) hectares.

10.   Deed of Transfer 3600/05, registered in the name of Gazala Estates
(Pvt) Ltd, in respect of a certain piece of land situate in the district of
Makoni and Umtali, being Geluk"A" measuring seven hundred and seventy six
comma eight four nine eight (776,8498) hectares

11   Deed of Transfer 3867/81, registered in the name of Clive Richard
Wright, in respect of certain piece of land situate in the district of
Marandellas, being Clatteringshaws of Theydon, Extension of Nolans,
measuring twenty eight comma  eight three one (28,8331) hectares.

12.   Deed of Transfer 3058/81 registered in the name of Robert Watson, in
respect of a certain piece of land situate in the district of Matobo, being
Woolendale Estate Lot 12 of Elthan Park, measuring forty comma two four zero
(40,240) morgen.

13   Deed of Transfer 1458/91, registered in the name of Predictive
Maintenance (Pvt) Ltd in respect of a certain piece of land situate in the
district of Matoba, being Broadless of Grey Tors of Absent, measuring one
hundred and fifteen comma zero one eight eight (115,0188) hectares.

14   Deed of Transfer 1637/81, registered in the name of Lalla Investments
P/L, in respect of a certain piece of land situate in the district of
Ndanga, being Lot 1 of Lot 1A of Triangle  Ranch, measuring eight comma nine
five two zero (8,9520) hectares.

15.   Deed of Transfer 1377/93, registered in teh name of Alicedale Farm
P/L, situate in the district of Salisbury, being Subdivision A, of alicedale
mesuring five hundred and thiry seven comma zero two one eight (537,0218)

16.   Deed of Transfer 1392/93, registered in the name of Elanor Elizabeth
Heise, in respect of a certain piece of land situate in the district of
Umtali, being Lot 1 of Subdivision E of the Park, measuring ninety one comma
six two three three (91,6233) hectares.

17.   Deed of Transfer 687/92, registered in the name of Sambenyara Farming
(Pvt) Ltd, in respect of a certain piece of land situate in the district of
Umtali being Lot 1 of S/D C ofMaonza, measuring sixty seven comma seven six
seven nine (67,7679) hectares.

18   Deed of Transfer 1120/98, registered in the name of Buxton S.P.E. in
respect of certain piece of land situate in the district of Umtali, being
Wayside of Maonza, measuring forty four comma seven one three six (44,7136)

19.   Deed of Transfer 1652/96, being registered in the name of I.T.M.A., in
respect of a certain piece of land situate in the district of Umtali, being
Chinyabakwe measuring eitgh one comma two nine nine six (81,2996) hecetares

20   Deed of Transfer 2516/86, registered in the name of Bok Estates P/L, in
respect of a certain piece of land in the district of Umtali, being the
remainder of Clare Estate Ranch measuring one thousand one hundred and
thirty seven comma nine ero nine six (11379096) hectares.

21    Deed of Transfer 2138/86 registered in the name of Paul Hewart Canter,
in respect of a piece of land  situate in the district of Umzingwane, being
Lot 7 of Essexvale Estate, measuring eleven comma six eight four five
(11,6845) hectares.

22.   Deed of Transfer 3283/83, registered in the name of Terrence Micheal
Kenny, in respect of a certain piece of land, situate in the district of
Umzingwane, being Lot 1 of Landmill, measuring thiry six comma one six zero
zero (36,1600) hectares

23    Deed of Transfer 216/83, registered in the name of G.J.P. Farm (Pvt)
Ltd, in respect of certain piece of land situate in the district pf
Umzingwane, being Lot 48A of Essexvale Estate, measuring one hundred and
forty five comma two three five eight (145,2358) hectares.

24    Deed of Transfer 2210/89, registered in the name of Alison Caitano
Ezekiel De Souza, in respect of certai piece of land, situate in the distrci
of Umzingwane, being Sub Division 30 of Woodlands, measuring ninety comma
two nine zero zero (90,2900) hectares.

25    Deed of Transfer 3912/97, registered in the name of Pick Agencies, in
respect of certain piece of land situate in the district of Umzingwane being
Sub Division 9 of Woodlands measuring fifty six comma four four five zero
(56,4450) hectares.

26.    Deed of Transfer 2947/97, registered in the name of Huntsman Estate
(Pvt) Ltd, in respect of certain piece of land situate in the district of
Umzingwane, being Subdivision 3 of Woodlands, measuring one hundred and
twenty four comma four two six four (124,4264)acres.

27    Deed of Transfer 5781/89, registered in the name of Eugene Mary
Dorothy Rowland, in respect of a certain piece of land, situate in the
district of Umzingwane, being Lot 3 of Kirtons, measuring one hundred and
one comma five seven two seven (1015727)acres.

28.   Deed of Transfer 227/73, registered in the name of Micheal Lewis
Gelman, in respect of certain piece of land situate in the district of
Umzingwane being Lot 15 of Kirtons, measuring one hundred and one xcomma
five seven two three (101,5723) hectares.

29   Deed of Transfer 115/69, registered in the name of Micheal Lewis
Gelman, in respect of certain piece of land situate in the district of
Umzingwane being Lot 20 of Kirtons, measuring one hundred and one comma five
seven seven two (101,5772) acres.

30.   Deed of Transfer 20002/76, registered in the name of Stephen David
Blatch and Derek Hewitt Blatch and Blatch Investments (Pvt) Ltd, in respect
of certain piece of land situate in the district of Umzingwane, being Lot 14
of Kirtons, measuring one hundred and one comma five seven seven two
(101,5772 ) hectares.

31.   Deed of Transfer 228/76, registered in the name of Micheal Lewis
Gelman, in respect of certain piece of land situate in the district of
Umzingwane, being Lot 16 of Kirtons, measuring one hundred and one comma
five one seven two (101,5172) hectares.

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SADC Tribunal to hear farmer’s case next month

Zim Online

by Simplicious Chirinda Tuesday 05 February 2008

HARARE – The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal is
expected to sit next month to hear an appeal by a Zimbabwean white farmer
who is appealing against the seizure of his property by the Harare

Tribunal registrar, Justice Charles Mkandawire, yesterday told ZimOnline
that the case between William Michael Campbell and President Robert Mugabe’s
government had been set down for mid-March in Windhoek, Namibia.

“We are just about to set the date for the full hearing and we are looking
at mid next month as the date of commencement.

“What is now left is for us to communicate the date and venue to Michael
Campbell and the Zimbabwean government, then the full hearing can commence,”
said Mkandawire.

The Tribunal had initially said it would deal with the matter at the end of

The SADC Tribunal last December barred the government of Zimbabwe from
evicting Campbell from his farm in Chegutu pending final determination of
the legality of Harare’s controversial land reforms.

Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court last month however dismissed Campbell’s appeal
against the seizure of his property paving way for the government to evict
the white farmer from the property.

State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa last month warned that Harare would
go ahead with plans to evict Campbell after his lost his appeal at the
Supreme Court. It was still not clear yesterday if Campbell was still at his

Campbell took his case to the SADC Tribunal last March after his lawyers
argued that Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court was deliberately dragging its feet in
dealing with the matter.

The Zimbabwean farmer wants the Tribunal to find Harare in breach of its
obligations as a member of SADC after it signed into law Constitution of
Zimbabwe Amendment No.17 two years ago.

The Constitutional amendment allows Mugabe’s government to seize farmland
without compensation and bars Zimbabwean courts from hearing appeals from
dispossessed white farmers.

He also wants the Tribunal to declare Zimbabwe’s land reforms racist and
illegal under the SADC Treaty adding that Article 6 of the Treaty bars
member states from discriminating against any person on the grounds of race,
ethnic origin and culture.

Zimbabwe has battled perennial food shortages over the past eight years
after Mugabe chased the majority of white farmers who produced the bulk of
the country’s food and replaced them with newly resettled black farmers. -

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Zimbabwean women turn to garbage for survival

Zim Online

by Brendon Tulani Tuesday 05 February 2008

BULAWAYO - Lumbering wearily under an enormous bundle that is bursting at
the seams with an assortment of discarded paper, 50-year old Sarafina Tshuma
trudges towards the southern edge of the city, fearful not to miss the
Friday noon deadline.

She emerges from an alleyway to join five other women already gathered at an
open space guarding equally large bundles of waste paper while they await
the arrival of the truck to pick up their weekly collection.

Some of the women engross themselves in loading packages onto a platform
scale for the buyer to determine payment.

"I don't mind being mistaken for a vagrant or tramp by members of the public
who see me scrounging and rummaging through trash cans in the alleyways,"
says Tshuma who ekes out a living from selling waste paper to a recycling

Shrinking job opportunities stemming from an unrelenting economic recession
now in its eighth year has worsened hardships for Zimbabweans battling to
fend for their families.

The economic crisis that critics blame on repression and wrong policies by
President Robert Mugabe has spawned the world’s highest inflation of more
than 26 000 percent, and acute shortages of foreign currency, food,
electricity, fuel and just about every basic survival commodity.

Many Zimbabweans – at least three quarters of the country’s 12 million
people according to conservative estimates – have fled the economic meltdown
to neighbouring countries and as far afield as Britain, America and New
Zealand in search for better paying jobs and living conditions.

But others, like Tshuma and her colleagues, have stayed behind to tap into
the hard opportunities that an economy in recession sometimes presents.

The women have taken advantage of failure by the city council to clear
piling garbage because of a depleted and aging fleet of removal trucks to
create unusual income generating opportunities for themselves.

"What has been council failure has turned out to be a blessing in disguise
for us," Tshuma says, at the same time complaining that the rains that have
been pummelling the city non-stop since around December have undermined her
efforts to collect greater quantities of waste paper.

"It is hard work but there is money in collecting waste paper. The rains,
though welcome, are doing down our business" she says.

The other women hasten to assist her take the burdensome load tied together
in tattered Hessian bag off her head. Three well-built men were required to
help lift up the load of waste paper onto the truck taking it to the
recycling factory.

"I have six grand sons and daughters to clothe, feed and educate," Liz
Dhumela, one of Tshuma’s colleagues, told ZimOnline at a satellite waste
paper collection point on the fringes of the city.

The waste paper company pays Z$160 000 (US$0, 16 cents) for each kilogramme
of recyclable paper collected.

US$0.16 might seem nominal but in an economic environment characterised by
run-away inflation that the IMF estimates has breached the 150 000 percent,
it is sufficient for women like Dhumela and Tshuma to get by.

Tshuma says two of her daughters "crossed the border" into South Africa in
search of work while the third was deserted by her husband together with her
two children "for regularly falling sick and chalking up huge medical

"Men no longer seem to bother about child support," Tshuma says, blaming her
son-in-law for neglecting two of her six grandchildren she now fends for.

Unemployment currently estimated at about 80 percent has meant that men
regularly default on child support payments. Moreover, the value of monthly
child maintenance payments is being persistently whittled down by galloping

Crescencia Hlongwane, another woman at the collection site says she has
given up chasing after her former husband for child support since she
started collecting waste paper six months ago.

"The Z$100 000 maintenance payment could not sustain my child," Hlongwane
who has a four-year old daughter says.

The money from her husband, according to Hlongwane, was not enough even to
buy a piece of candy and add to that the bureaucracy she had to surmount to
get the maintenance payments – it was just not worth the trouble.

"I make much more than that collecting waste paper than waiting for
maintenance payment," she adds though unwilling to disclose exactly how much
makes per day.

"The money has given me a sense of self-reliance and weaned me from
dependence on someone who does not seem to care for me and his daughter."

Margaret Dhlodhlo says with the money she makes from collecting waste paper,
she assists her husband raise money to look after the couple's family of
four and two orphans - one left by her sister and the other by her husband's
sister as well.

"Our combined income helps us educate the six children. Collecting waste
paper helps lighten the burden on my husband, who would otherwise struggle
to make ends meet by himself had I not teamed up with these other women,"
says Dhlodhlo.

The men and women who prowl the alleyways picking up recyclable paper are
clearing up what could have been unsightly piles of garbage.

"It is now more than two months since we saw refuse trucks driving down the
alleyway to pick garbage," says Calvin Sengwayo who runs a medium sized book
binding concern along Fife Avenue in the central business district.

"Without these women, the sanitary lanes would be impassable with mounds of
garbage. We appreciate their contribution to environmental cleanliness by
picking up garbage for sale," Sengwayo adds. – ZimOnline

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Decision time

Eddie Cross
4 February, 2008

After 9 months of negotiation under the auspices of SADC, the MDC was
finally forced to make decisions as to what to do about the whole electoral
process this weekend. Two sets of negotiation had been going on in
parallel – talks with Zanu PF under the facilitation of the South African
government and talks with the Mutambara faction of the MDC in the hope that
the Party might be reunified to fight the next election.

In the first process we had in fact made huge progress. A comprehensive
package of reforms – some of which have been implemented, was negotiated,
giving us the chance of a free and fair electoral process if they were
implemented. Mugabe, who all along had been negotiating under duress, was
eventually faced with the decision – allow these reforms through and face
defeat or just tell his South African and SADC colleagues that they were
asking too much – he decided on the latter.

Mbeki was forced to use his last option – to confront Mugabe’s refusal to
implement the deal negotiated at such expense and time at a meeting of SADC
Heads of State. He did so last week at Addis on the sidelines of the AU
summit and we understand he pulled no punches. However in the end Mugabe was
backed by three other Heads of State – Swaziland, Namibia and Angola and
Mbeki came away with no decision – such a decision could only be taken on a
consensual basis and 4 against censure and 8 in favor was just not enough.

So when the MDC leadership gathered in Harare this weekend to consider the
question of fighting the next election, now just two months away, it was
against the background of a failed mediation effort by President Mbeki. In
addition to this set back, we faced the reality that despite the reforms
already adopted and passed through Parliament with our assistance, the
regime in Harare was maintaining its barrage of anti democratic policies
against the MDC. Marches and rallies were being banned, there is no sign of
any reform in the media and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is totally
under the control and direction of the Zanu PF led regime and was being
staffed with many of the old electoral management from the security

The debate in the National Executive and then the Council was short and when
the vote came to participate it was carried unanimously, there were no
dissenting voices. I was not surprised at all; I thought we never had any
alternative. In answer to those who claimed that by running we were going to
actually legitimize a rigged election, the President stated that to the
contrary, the only way to demonstrate the illegitimate nature of the regime
would be to contest every seat and make sure that they have to rig massively
to get a result in their favor.

So now we have 5 days to put up nearly 2000 candidates under the MDC banner.
That is no small task and it’s just as well we anticipated this decision and
are far down the road on this one. I do not think we will get a candidate
into every Rural District Council seat but we will contest every Urban
Council seat and every Parliamentary and Senatorial seat, plus the
Presidency. We launch the campaign on the 17th February in Mutare.

On the second track of negotiations that we were engaged in we had been
talking to the other faction of the MDC for over a year. Initially they had
wanted a “amicable divorce” but insisted on continuing to use the MDC name
and symbols and we said that if they wanted to do so, then unity was the
only route we would accept.

We have since negotiated a full reunification agreement and when the
election was announced, it was decided to translate that into an electoral
pact that would take us past the elections and then going onto a Congress
where the unification process would be completed. But the devil is always in
the detail and when the MDC leadership was presented with the suggested list
in terms of allocated seats, the whole deal fell apart.

It is now generally accepted that the group led by Mutambara is the smaller
group, the crucial question is how much smaller? Obviously we felt that it
is very much the junior player while they (understandably) do not agree. Had
they accepted the selection of candidates by a democratic system there would
have been no real argument – the decision as to who stood where would be
left to the Party structures in the electoral districts concerned. However
the Mutambara group feared that such a process would decimate their
representation (I agree) and refused to go down that path. In the end I
guess failure was inevitable.

In the end we resolved to adopt the unity agreement with one or two minor
amendments but to go back to the Mutambara group with a revised allocation
of seats – one that our leadership felt was more realistic. The Mutambara
group rejected this out of hand and we mutually decided to go it alone. I
must say, although I had anticipated this outcome, I was astonished by the
reaction – not only in the MDC itself but nationally. The decision was
received favorably across the country.

So now – for better or worse, we will fight this election – the Tsvangirai
led MDC joined by Zanu Ndonga will fight all seats and the Mutambara group
will put up as many candidates as they can and run against us. There will be
other Parties in the game – I know of 5 so far, perhaps with more to come,
but in essence it will be the three-way scrap between Zanu PF and the two
MDC groups that will receive most attention. Only the main wing of the MDC
offers the chance of regime change and this puts all others at a severe
disadvantage, and they know it. There was a profound sense of gloom at the
hotel where the Mutambara group was caucusing yesterday in Harare.

But at least we now know where we stand and this ends some of the
uncertainty. Our focus has to be on the campaign – explaining to the voters
what we will do if elected and I am pleased with what we have done in
preparation for that. Then we must persuade people to turn out and vote – a
steep hill to climb as the past decade has persuaded many that voting is a
waste of time.

But our main task will be to stop Zanu PF doing a Kibaki on us – stealing
the result when we have actually done enough to win.

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Why would-be leaders should win their right to represent

3rd Feb 2008 23:48 GMT

By Julius Sai Mutyambizi-Dewa

THE  momentum for the March 2008 elections has now gathered. It is clear the
campaign is in full gear. They are talking politics in every corner, they
are talking at round tables and they are talking at rectangular tables. The
talk today is what they are calling make or break elections.

Yet what comes to mind as the most talked about issue today is the proposed
reunification of the two MDC formations; the Mutambara led MDC and the
Tsvangirai led MDC.

It is not clear yet whether this reunion is a total re-amalgamation of the
two MDCs into one political Party notwithstanding the differences that split
the Party in the first place or is only an election alliance aimed at not
confusing an already fleeing electorate.

On the last point the Movement for Democratic Change will, according to
reports in the media, be fielding one candidate Morgan Tsvangirai, as their
presidential candidate. Arthur Mutambara, the leader of the other faction of
the Movement for Democratic Change, is believed to have been given a free
route to parliament as he will not be opposed in his bid for the Harare
Central Parliamentary seat. The rest of the intending MPs will be subjected
to primary elections which will choose who will represent the Party in the
Parliamentary elections. It seems noble that the Party is doing this and
that after all the reunification must be smooth and without any after event
issues to talk about.

Yet to me it exposes the weaknesses of the Party as a truly democratic
organisation. The party it should be understood is still in its infancy; but
it is in MDC that people expected that the promise of democracy would
finally yield. I do not see this happening where the approach is very
selective; that some leaders are subjected to primary elections yet others
will be given a coronation. Whatever the intentions; the aspect of not
exposing Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara to a leadership test is
countervailing to the idea of a truly democratic change.

If MDC goes ahead, as indeed is going to happen, and there is no contest,
Morgan Tsvangirai would not have gone to the presidential elections with one
point; that indeed his leadership derives from his supporters in the MDC.
Inasmuch as it will boost his confidence going to such important elections
it would have given his supporters one thing that the MPs who shall emerge
from the MDC will have done; the collective ownership of a candidate they
themselves would have chosen.

I am persuaded to think that there could be certain people in MDC who may no
longer be interested in Morgan Tsvangirai as their leader and would not want
him to be their representative in the forthcoming Presidential elections,
they have to be given that chance to express themselves.

On the same knot the people of Harare Central are represented by Murwisi
Zvizvai, they have not yet said they are fed up with their MP and it is
undemocratic if Arthur Mutambara is forced on them all in the name of
reunification. In a truly democratic Party no-one is protected as laws are
the same for everyone. MDC will have played second fiddle even to ZANU PF if
they do that; as call it whatever; at least ZANU PF had a Congress in
December where their representative in the Presidential election was
according to their standards, “chosen” at the Congress.

Equally the MDC party must be allowed to choose their leaders and this
should include the highest office. There could be people in the MDC who
think they can do a better job as Presidents and they are better than Morgan
Tsvangirai; they should be given the chance to prove themselves. They should
be allowed to be rejected or approved by the electorate. Now that is what
democracy is all about.

When I was young I used to be told: “Mugabe haakwikwidzwe!” And now in MDC
the talk is “Watuka President….Julius anotuka President…Pfebve akatuka
President….Chihuri akatuka President”, which in reality means all those
people write in strong criticism of Morgan Tsvangirai; the MDC President as
if he should never be criticised. I used to be very angry at this;
especially given that I have sacrificed for democracy in my country and I
was part of the formation of the Party that is MDC.

I used to question whether when the MDC started I had at anytime sworn an
oath that I will never criticise the leadership. Yet I am no longer upset at
this; I used to think it was a culture that came to the Party from our
colleagues who defected from ZANU PF; yet again I now know it is not like
that. The issue of leadership renewal and our lack of preparedness to engage
in it is not even a ZANU PF problem. Bishop Abel Muzorewa has always been
the leader of his Party yet he is an opposition figure. The same is true for
Mai Madangure; the leader of a party called ZPDP since 1991, Wurayayi Zembe
the leader of the Democratic Party since the resignation of Magocha and
Gomo. All these people have said Robert Mugabe has been in power for too
long. Yet we are doing the same.

It is a very Zimbabwean disease; and it is our disease both as white
Zimbabweans or black Zimbabweans. It is as much a civil society disease and
a disease in the political Party system of our country. Yet if we want to
move forward and build strong democracies we should be aware of a tool
called leadership renewal. No-one must ever be shown to be irreplaceable. In
ZANU PF Robert Mugabe is irreplaceable to the detriment of the country.
There are too many people in ZANU PF who could have taken over from their
President. Some of them are in the Party’s branches some at the top. Yet
that fear factor; that which says because Robert Mugabe is an intellectual
he can not be replaced anyhow. It is this fear factor that has crept into
every other political institution in Zimbabwe; and that includes the MDC.

Yet in South Africa they did what I think is important. They chose to
replace Thabo Mbeki; by far ahead of Jacob Zuma in terms of intellectual
capacity. The ANC chose mediocrity ahead of excellence to preserve that
Party’s democratic ethos. In Zimbabwe any serious political party that will
emerge will be one that shall be able to effect leadership renewal even if
means choosing mediocrity. That political party will be able to cultivate a
democratic ethos and in time this will replicate in the government that they
will form and transform the Zimbabwean mindset forever.

Leaders will at that time be subjected to a contest and they will have to
win their right to represent. At that time every office and office holder
will be replaceable even by mediocrity as what will be preserved will be
democracy and not excellence!



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The weirdness of ‘being’ in Zimbabwe


I’ve developed a weird frame of reference and I think it’s because I write
for this blog. What’s normal for most, and has become a taken for granted
‘normal’ often strikes me as downright odd.

The other day, for example, a relative of mine phoned in a panic because she
needed to re-freeze perishables that had defrosted relentlessly through a
protracted power-cut. This will horrify those in power-rich countries, but
here in Zimbabwe we can’t afford to throw away meat that has defrosted once,
so we re-freeze it and shut our minds to the potential health consequences.

I have adopted a semi-scientific ‘assessment of risk’ using what I call my ’squidgeometer’.
This tool is my index finger, prodded deeply into a product (meat, butter, a
bag of frozen milk) to try and work out whether it may or may not be hitting
that level of ’squidgieness’ that means I am going to get very very very
sick if I allow it to go any further before I re-freeze.

I suspect my relative has a similar test. On this day she arrived with meat
in black plastic bin bags, to go into my freezer (I had power, she didn’t)
so she could start the re-freeze process because her stuff was hitting
danger levels. I do the same to her.

But this is normal and isn’t actually what strokes me as downright weird.
What did give me a jolt was my reaction to her black plastic bin bags!

“Where did you get those and how much were they?!”

I can’t remember when I last used one of these to line my bin. We stood
there at length (after we’d emptied them) discussing the price and
availability of bin liners, and the alternatives one could use in their
place. That was what hit me as really really weird. How many women stand at
their gates discussing something as banal as bin bags with such reverential
tones? It turns out that she only uses her bin bags for moments like these,
when she needs to de-camp her fridge freezer box at speed and needs large
containers suitable for mass containment and easy deployment.

While we were talking she was carefully wiping them dry again and folding
them up carefully, ready to be re-used for the next time, And that was even
odder! These things are literally meant to go out with the rubbish, and to
us they are a luxury product? I find it startling when I suddenly see these
moments through the eyes of the rest of the world - my ‘blog eyes’.

But the fact is, if I had bin liners, there is no way I’d toss them with my
trash either!

This entry was written by Hope on Monday, February 4th, 2008

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Zim journalists unite and fight for better pay

 3rd Feb 2008 23:45 GMT

By Rhoda Mashavave

BEING a journalist in Zimbabwe can be challenging and frustrating especially
with the poor salaries and the tense political atmosphere gripping the
country for over seven years now.

Meagre salaries received by most local journalists in Zimbabwe has made the
once noble job not as exciting as it was before.

Many journalists have left the newsrooms chiefly because of the poor
salaries and tough working conditions. Recently I read stories about the
strike by Zimbabwe Independent and Standard reporters. It is just a tip of
an iceberg telling of the woes faced by journalists who work for local based

Many are surviving on stories which they write for foreign-based newspapers
or news websites. Most media houses underpay their journalists and threaten
them if they strike, mainly also because there are plenty other journalists
who are on the streets and waiting to pounce on any opportunity once

My heart ached as I read about the poor salaries some of the reporters earn
every month. Regardless of their good work they continue to receive peanuts

The harsh economy climate is pinching every sector but I think journalists
need to be well paid in order to write well-balanced stories, to remove any
temptations that may come their way, especially now as we go towards another
crucial election.

Three-quarters of the time the journalists in Zimbabwe are mingling with the
rich and famous, writing stories about them, drinking with them sometimes
but at the end of the day as the Pajeros, the Hammers and the Mercs head to
the leafy suburbs, the poor reporters recoil to their shacks, their core
houses as they prepare to take on the challenges of the next day.

It’s high time Zimbabwe Union of Journalists and Media Institute of Southern
Africa took action on some of these media outlets which are underpaying
journalists. How many times have we read that teachers, nurses and doctors
have gone on strike because of poor payment?

Journalism is like any other job, one needs to be well paid in order to get
satisfaction for his or her job.

I recall covering strikes or demonstrations in Zimbabwe by workers from
different sectors. I would write the stories with a passion because I felt
their pain. I wanted them to be given better salaries, salaries they so
richly deserved so why not journalists who write the stories.

With inflation running at 26, 470.8 percent journalists need to get
realistic salaries. Many can argue that newspapers or media outlets are not
making profits. But I will continue to argue that employers need to pay
these journalists realistic salaries.

With a salary of $250 million or even $200 million one cannot survive in
Zimbabwe. I heard some journalists were even getting as little as $20
million. Journalists are now more than ever tempted into accepting bribes
because of the poor working conditions, and perks.
These pathetic salaries have turned some journalists into corrupt people as
some now tend to write about personalities who pay them if they write their
stories positively. Journalism ethics have now been thrown to the dustbins.
What will the young and vibrant scribes learn from this noble profession if
things continue like this?

Better payments is the only answer to the long-suffering Zimbabwean
journalist. I urge journalists in Zimbabwe to put their differences aside
and fight for better salaries from their employers in one voice. Last year
the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) was told to sell licences in order
to supplement their salaries. I just wonder if people are still paying for
their radio and television licences, especially with the shoddy service they
are receiving from the corporation.

I remember attending functions in Zimbabwe where I met some respected
journalists scrambling for beer and food in some hotels. Then I thought it
was funny and hilarious. Little did I know that the poor salaries made
journalists jostle for food like that so they could beat their money blues.
Of course mostly male colleagues always went for almost every other cocktail
party or function so they could get free booze but the sad story of their
paltry earnings always underlined the way they behaved.

Some journalists would dive for food when they noticed how little was left
on the trays. Whilst other scribes caused embarrassing commotions over food,
some would be busy hoarding beer and wine from the bar, stocking it under
their tables. It was funny but when you look deep down, the cause is there
for everyone to see.

Some well-respected journalists even placed the beer under their chairs. Our
profession is much too good to display such behaviour. Is it because
journalists in our country are paid proverbial peanuts instead of good
salaries or, to consider another possibility, do our journalists enjoy
pushing and shoving each other to get food and beer – I do not believe so.

What lessons will younger journalists, who are just joining the profession
learn from this? It is a simple sad reflection on not only the bad economic
situation, but also the way the population has been reduced to being mere

There is need to address the plight of the Zimbabwean journalists as a
matter of urgency if we are to continue to have unbiased copy and for us to
get back to the levels of being the very best in the southern African

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ARVs behind bars

JOHANNESBURG, 4 February 2008 (PlusNews) - South African police are denying
detained undocumented HIV-positive migrants access to the crucial food
needed to continue antiretroviral therapy, according to Médecins Sans
Frontières (MSF).

At least five hundred people, most believed to be Zimbabwean, were arrested
during a late night raid Wednesday on the Central Methodist Church in
downtown Johannesburg, which has been a haven for Zimbabweans fleeing
conditions at home during the last four years.

According to police spokesperson Captain Bhekizizwe Mavundla, several
hundred were released soon after being taken into custody but at least 250
remain in custody, said Central Methodist Church Bishop Paul Verryn.

MSF spokesperson Alessandra Vilas Boas said the detainees did not have
adequate food and were denied access to healthcare, and faced an uncertain

The organisation had been granted access to only 63 prisoners as of last
Friday, when it was able to deliver ARV therapy to a small number of
detainees running low on treatment. MSF nurse Bianca Tolboom said it was
impossible to tell how many more had any medication, or none at all, but
even for those with enough pills there was still the problem of having
enough food.

Verryn battled to gain access to those incarcerated but, when he did, he
said prisoners reported acts of continued police misconduct.

“We visited the police station to request a prayer service for the prisoners
and, to make a long story short, all we got was five minutes.” He said the
prisoners reported being assaulted and ridiculed by police, and being given
only three slices of bread in a 15-hour period.

Tolboom said the standard fare in South African prisons was two slices of
bread in the morning, another two with soup in the afternoon, followed by an
evening meal. Although less than ideal, this would be adequate for someone
on treatment if police kept to the schedule, she said.

HIV-positive members of the group are not the only ones in danger. Some
people are on tuberculosis treatment while others are in need of emergency
care. “At the end of last week I visited the police station, along with a
doctor, and we made a list of people who urgently needed medical attention
at the hospital level, “ Tolboom said.

Almost three days later, the two most serious patients – a severely anaemic
pregnant woman and a woman diagnosed with acute psychosis, anaemia and
anorexia – were the only ones who had been taken to a state hospital for
medical treatment.

“You could see by the third day all the women were crying and the men were
becoming angry and impatient,” Tolboom said. “If things were hard on them as
immigrants from Zimbabwe before, this trauma has made it harder.”

Mavundla declined to confirm or deny whether anyone had been taken for
medical treatment and suggested that all allegations of police misconduct be
referred to the South African oversight body, the Independent Complaints

Verryn said he and his staff have already filed complaints with the body.
A large number of the detained migrants were due to be released on Monday
evening after prosecutors decided not to proceed against most of the about
100 individuals who appeared in the magistrate’s court in Johannesburg
earlier that day. Between 300 and 350 people had been scheduled to appear.

George Bizos, a human rights lawyer and past legal council for Nelson
Mandela, represented a portion of the cases prosecuted though most were
ultimately dismissed, according to Richard Moultrie, Bizos’ colleague at the
Legal Resource Centre.

Bizos and Moultrie said they were only aware of one case in which a man was
prosecuted and that he was granted bail because he had a broken arm and was
in urgent need if medical care. They said they believed a large number of
the migrants were still being held by the police.

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

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Editor’s trial resumes but postponed yet again

4th Feb 2008 17:02 GMT

By David Baxter

THE trial of Bright Chibvuri the editor of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions’ The Worker magazine charged under the repressive Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) resumed on 1 February 2008
in Plumtree only to be postponed yet again.

The trial but had to be postponed after the magistrate ruled that he needed
time to consider legal arguments which arose during the trial.This comes
hardly a day after the trial was postponed on 31 January 2008 because the
trial magistrate was on a prison visit in the town.

Plumtree resident magistrate Mark Dzira postponed the matter to 28 February
to give him time to consider legal arguments which arose at the resumption
of the trial and determine the issue of whether an accreditation card is
similar to a press card.  The issue arose during the cross-examination of
the second prosecution witness, Inspector Sifelani who is the officer in
charge of law and order section in Plumtree.

Sifelani had earlier told the court that he had arrested Chibvuri after he
failed to produce an accreditation card and had charged him for practicing
journalism without an accreditation card. However, under cross-examination,
it was put to him that under AIPPA, there is no mention of an accreditation
card but a press card.

A dispute arose between the state led by the prosecutor a Mr Thandabantu and
the defence lawyer Munyaradzi Nzarayapenga. While the prosecution argued
that the line of questioning was unnecessary and calculated at harassing the
witness, the defence argued that this was the gist of the matter aimed at
proving that the charge had therefore been improperly instituted.

Earlier, magistrate Dzira had adjourned the matter and called the
prosecution and the defence to his chambers following an argument over the
prosecution's intention to produce in court Chibvuri's warned and cautioned
statement.  The defence objected to the production of the warned and
cautioned statement arguing that the statement had not been confirmed as
having been adduced freely and voluntarily as required in terms of Zimbabwe
's laws.

Chibvuri is being charged with contravening Section 83 of AIPPA which
penalises the practice of journalism without accreditation.

The prosecution is expected to close its case on 28 February 2008.

Chibvuri was arrested in Plumtree on 3 March 2007 and spent two nights in
police custody. He was only released on 5 March 2007.

At the time of his arrest, Chibvuri had applied for accreditation but had
not received a response from the Media and Information Commission (MIC), but
was eventually duly accredited.

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