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

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Below is a report on Jenny Parsons and her children's experience at the hands of Mliswa (the current Zim Football Assoc fitness coach) and one of the candidates for president of ZIFA as reported in today's Herald.
Sport and politics don’t mix? :TEMBA MLISWA INVOLVED IN ASSAULT

Today, Alan Parsons’s wife Jenny went out to the farm with son Andrew Parsons and friend Tim Withers (both 17), daughter Rebecca (11). They were confronted by Mliswa, who has claimed the farm as his own, even though it has only received a section 5 order. He demanded to know what they were doing there since it was no longer her farm, and he was allowed by the police and DA to be there. Jen informed him that his occupation of her house and farming of her land was wrong. He exploded at that point, calling her a "fucking white bitch" etc. He told her to read today’s newspaper to find out what was really going on and how things had changed on the ground. She waited until he was finished, and told him that he was illegally on the property.
Mliswa exploded again, told her that she was to get into her car, and that they were going to the police station. As she was approaching the car, he came up behind her and slapped the back of her head, snapped her necklace, and pulled her earring off. The Parsons got into the car, and started driving out of the security fence, and they were suddenly surrounded by about 30 youths. Men were jumping on the bonnet, trying to grab the keys out of the ignition. They punched Andrew through the window, and Mliswa dragged Jenny out of the car by the neck and tried to steal her cell phone, but she managed to hide it under her shirt. He slapped and punched Jen a lot. Andrew asked them to leave his mother alone and they started hitting him whereupon a couple of others set upon Jen (about 5 of them). Mliswa called out to them saying "No Marks! No Marks!". A youth came to beat up the son, who had now been beaten to the ground and was begging them to stop hitting him and his mother, four of them laid into him, punching and kicking. Tim was slammed into the canopy face first, and has suffered severe bruising, numbness and a very painful ear. They separated the three whilst kicking and punching them preventing them from helping each other or Rebecca in the back of the truck. The mob then grabbed the three (Jen, Tim and Andrew) and started taking them into the house.

During this debacle, Mliswa continued with his verbal abuse, screaming racial slurs at Jen, between attacks. Rebecca was screaming and hysterical in the car, asking for help and calling for her mother but unable to get out. She begged the gardener to help her and he refused. After taking them into the house, Jen expressed great concern about Rebecca being left outside on her own but was not allowed to get her and Mliswa ordered two people to fetch Rebecca from the vehicle and bring her in. They took the child out of the car and told her that if she did not stop crying she would "face the same treatment" as her mother. They took her into the house with the others, who were forced to sit and listen, not allowing Jen to sit with her daughter and proceeded to give them a political lecture.

After a while, Andrew stood up and told everyone that they needed to calm down, because things were getting out of hand. This took them off guard and the Pasrons realized that by being submissive and apologizing for any misunderstanding it seemed to pacify Mliswa. Mliswa told them that the mob could have killed them, and that he was the only thing holding them back and that all he was doing was protecting them. However, after a while, he let them go. He apologised to the children and told them that they had suffered huge trauma but it was a result of their mother’s "white arrogance". He said their mother needed disciplining and that this had now been done and they could go. He told them to get off the farm and never come back or they would be killed. Rebecca pleaded with him over the safety of her horse and he informed her that he would take care of things.

They went to see Kelvin Weir, who took control of the situation. They went to the police station. They spoke to Inspector Khumalo, who told them that he now has the green light to arrest Mliswa. Khumalo. He sent them to the front desk to make two separate reports - one for assault and one for theft. All the locks on the farm have been removed and replaced by Mliswa. A Landini tractor and 120 mainline pipes, a heavy duty jack, and a carpet have been stolen. The constable at the front desk informed them there were no RRB numbers as they were out of stock and in future to make reports to the front desk and not direct to the Inspector. His manner was offensive. Statements were made, and they went to the hospital for examination. After examination the medical forms were returned to the police station. Another constable informed them that there was one charge of GBH regarding Jen and two common assault charges involving the 2 boys. The daughter is completely traumatized and requires counseling and medical attention.
The Herald - Thursday 09 January, 2003
Zifa election date set
"Despite the short period in which (Leo) Mugabe’s replacement has to be found, a number of names have already been touted to contest for the ZIFA chairmanship.
Outspoken fitness trainer and administrator Temba Mliswa has put his name in, as has controversial Northern Region chairman Francis Zimunya."
Nothing in Zimbabwe can readily be separated from politics, much less sport, and it is foolhardy for anyone to imagine it is otherwise. TEMBA MLISWA is a controversial ZANU PF member, and has been implicated in a number of underhanded business dealings in recent years. He has now nominated himself for manager of the beleaguered Zimbabwe Football Association, which has suffered under the corrupt administration of Leo Mugabe, nephew to the president.
In a similar manner, Robert Gabriel Mugabe is the head of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, and several of the Zimbabwean cricketers have lost farms and homes as a result of his policies. Very few of the major sports coordinating organizations are free from political influence. Just as sporting organisations across the world boycotted apartheid South Africa, so they should boycott Zimbabwe in protest at the extensive human rights violations carried out by the ruling party.
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Daily News

      Every single day counts for us to rescue the nation

      1/9/2003 12:47:04 PM (GMT +2)

      As this article appears in The Daily News today, the year 2003 is nine
days old, a very young age by any consideration excepting the age of
mosquitoes whose average is about five days.

      In terms of national histories, nine days is a very insignificant
period. Nations get concerned about much longer periods than that short
spell. But in Zimbabwe, we get deeply concerned about events that take as
brief a period as one day. Why?

      Because the nation is now living from hand-to-mouth on a day-to-day
      This is so because of the acute shortage of basic consumer commodities
such as sugar, flour, bread, petrol, diesel, paraffin, table salt, beef,
cooking oil and soft drinks.

      The national economy is grinding to a tragic halt in spite of numerous
Zanu PF government promises and pronouncements to the contrary. Public road
transport is becoming increasingly unaffordable, in effect as unaffordable
as fuel (petrol and diesel) are becoming more and more unavailable in the
country Zimbabwe.

      Medicines that used to be taken for granted at government hospitals
are in very serious short supply, and so is Zimbabwe's staple food,

      The rate of economic decline is such that in months rather than years
the nation will need the services of an undertaker to "bury" the country, so
to speak, and pronounce those few dreaded words: "Dust to dust, ashes to

      However, I am quite certain that it will not have pleased the Lord
that the country should come to such an end. Such a sad demise would have
been caused by the vengeful, merciless, hateful Satan rather than by the
all-loving, all-caring Almighty.We must always bear in mind that Satan is as
powerful as he is resourcefully cunning and vigilant. The suffering
currently experienced by most people in Zimbabwe today is a result of evil
spirits brought upon the nation by Lucifer himself, working through both
natural factors and human agencies.

      As the year unfolds, so do the country's economic woes now prominently
characterised by the national shortage of fuel, among other problems.

      What is most disheartening is the fact that the government does not
seem to accept that it has failed, and, thus, step down so that a new
administration with fresh ideas to revive the national economy can take
over. It is anything but patriotic for any leader anywhere in the world to
continue in office after causing as massive an economic decline as Zanu PF
has done in this country.
      The decline did not start with the occupation of some commercial farms
as some commentators erroneously think. It began much earlier, resulting in
the mass rejection of the government-sponsored constitutional proposals in

      The electorate, in fact, that year expressed its disgust with the
government's failure to reverse the socio-economic decline that had gained
greater momentum in the past three years (1997 to 2000). The violent
occupation of some commercial farms accelerated the decline by worsening the
shortage of foreign currency, the rate of inflation and that of

      All these negative socio-economic factors will get worse this year as
the Zanu PF administration shows no signs of new ideas to breathe some life
into the national economy. Zanu PF seems to have become sterile in terms of
economic development strategies. Its leadership is a good example of people
who live in the sterile past, and leave the uncertain future to take care of

      Bereft of meaningful socio-economic ideas, which is quite obvious,
there is only one option for President Mugabe's administration, and that is
to step down for the sake of the nation; that is the only patriotic thing to
do. Clinging to power, of course, perpetuates the Zanu PF partisan hegemony,
but at the expense of the socio-economic life and security of Zimbabwe as a
nation. There is nothing patriotic in that stance which is clearly
self-serving. Patriotism is shown by the willingness to sacrifice oneself
for one's country, but that does not imply or mean the same as killing or
bullying people to get their support. A true patriot is prepared to save
life at all cost, even at the risk of his own life, but not to take life at
the slightest excuse.

      Self-sacrifice is the hallmark of every genuine patriot. That being
the case, is it not, therefore, justified to call upon Mugabe and his
cabinet to resign for the sake of their fatherland (patria)? How do they
justify their continued presence in office amidst all this massive
socio-economic failure?

      Meanwhile, the people of Zimbabwe have a duty to themselves and
posterity to reverse this socio-economic rot. No outsider will fly or march
into Zimbabwe to do that for us. Those who look at South Africa and its
President, Thabo Mbeki, for a solution are living in a world of unattainable
political dreams. In fact, if the truth be told, the socio-economic demise
of Zimbabwe is the socio-economic enhancement of South Africa, Zambia,
Mozambique and Botswana. In the Nguni dialects, and siNdebele is one of
them, they say: "Ukufa kweyinye indhlu yikuvuka kweyinye" the destruction of
one family or tribe is the survival of another. That is particularly true of
Zimbabwe's situation in that its socio-economic destruction would create a
reservoir of cheap labour for all its neighbours South Africa, Botswana,
Mozambique and Zambia.

      The current daily deportations of Zimbabweans from particularly
Botswana and South Africa reflect precisely that development. So, some
leaders in some of those countries may well be saying: "Makuye ngasifudlana"
do not rescue them, but leave them to be swept away by the stream (current)
yet another Nguni proverb. As we queue for petrol, bread, maize-meal, sugar,
cooking oil and whatever else, we must all of us remember that we owe it to
ourselves to change the situation for the better, and that each of the 356
days left in 2003 will be as miserable as the year's first nine days if we
think that someone else other than ourselves will be sent by God to pull us
from this sorry mess in which we are.

      We must not be so childish as to be misled by those who blame British
Prime Minister Tony Blair, or United States President George W Bush, for the
mess we are in.

      One does not need a tenth of the brain of a monkey suffering from
acute malarial fever to notice and understand that the shortage of foreign
currency and employment in Zimbabwe has absolutely nothing to do with Blair
or Bush. Anyone who believes that most stupid piece of propaganda has a
pathologically subnormal intelligence, and belongs to the unthinking
sub-stratum of humanity.

      We must not blame Mbeki or Botswana's President Festus Mogae, but
ourselves that the buying power of our dollar is dropping with frightening
rapidity every day, and that its value vis-a-vis other currencies such as
the South African rand and the Botswana pula declines virtually hourly.

      We must let it sink in our hitherto cowardly minds that we are our own
saviours from this tragic and utterly disgraceful situation. We now have 356
days in which to do it this year. Shall we do something about it or shall we
continue moaning and looking up to high heaven for a solution? God helps
those who help themselves.
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Fuel crisis shows Zanu PF has completely failed

      1/9/2003 1:10:37 PM (GMT +2)

      By Eddie Cross

      Despite all the promises made by the Minister of Energy, Amos Midzi,
Zimbabweans were unable to obtain even the most minimal amounts of liquid
fuel over the Christmas season. For most people and the media, this was the
most graphic illustration of the collapse of the economy and the inability
of the government under Robert Mugabe to provide any solutions to the many
ills besetting the country.

      When the deal with Libya was struck about a year ago, the country
experienced a long period of reasonable supplies. When the economy was
functioning normally (say 5 years ago), consumption was about 5 million
litres of liquid fuels a day. Two-thirds came into the country via Beira and
up to Harare by the pipeline.

      The other third came in by road and rail from South Africa. The sole
importer was the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim), a corrupt and
bankrupt parastatal that has been one of the main sources of State-driven
corruption since independence in 1980.

      The price was fixed by the Ministry of Energy and margins for both
bulk buyers and retailers were set by the State. Noczim sold the fuel to the
major distributors for cash and the bulk users then looked after the retail
trade and other bulk customers.
      Peak demands were driven mainly by the farming industry at planting
and reaping times. Two-thirds of all consumption was diesel and the balance
other fuels.
      Today consumption is down to about 3,5 million litres of liquid fuels
a day.

      This demand is inflated by cross-border demand as in real terms,
liquid fuels in Zimbabwe are the cheapest in the region. The local price in
market terms is about
      US4,5 cents per litre compared to over a dollar (US) in Zambia and
roughly US50 cents in South Africa.
      Even with this lower level of demand, Noczim¹s ability to meet demand
has been deteriorating rapidly. The reasons lie in two areas: the
deteriorating creditworthiness of the State and Noczim and the shrinking
flow of foreign exchange into the coffers of the Zimbabwe government.

      In the first instance, every deal that the Zimbabwe government has
struck with friendly governments often after direct intervention by Mugabe
personally, has become unstuck because of poor performance against promises
made. The deals with Malaysia, Libya, Kuwait and South Africa and even
little Botswana, have all come unstuck leaving Noczim with huge debts.
      The Libyans are holding tens of billions of Zimbabwean dollars that
are deteriorating in value by 1 percent a day and those governments who put
up the guarantees to make the deals possible (South Africa, Botswana and
Malaysia) are faced with hard questions from their own people.

      In the second instance, five years ago foreign exchange inflows peaked
in this country at about US$3,4 billion. This was almost US$10 million a
day. At that time the price of liquid fuels was about US14 cents a litre in
international markets and the primary cost of our total import demand was
about US$1 million a day, including port and inland transport charges. A
very comfortable position.

      Today we estimate that total foreign exchange inflows in 2002 will
have been a third of the level achieved in 1997 at about US$1,35 billion or
US$3,5 million a day. Because of the poor track record of Noczim and the
State itself, we pay a premium for our liquid fuels over and above the world
market price. This is exacerbated by corruption in procurement and transport
arrangements and this drives up our procurement costs to about US35 cents
      per litre ­ a daily demand of US$1,25 million in hard currency.

      Recently rising world oil prices and the hardening rand exchange rate
have further exacerbated this situation.
      Until November 2002, the State had operated within a system where it
took 40 percent of all foreign earnings outside of the tobacco and gold
industries at official exchange rates. The foreign exchange of the tobacco
and gold sectors all went to the State at controlled exchange rates except
for an allowance to the industry for use to import essential inputs.

      This flow of foreign exchange was then used to meet essential imports
like fuel and under normal circumstances left them with a comfortable
surplus to play with. They sold some of the surplus on the market at a
premium, used some for food imports and essential drugs and the rest for
military hardware and travel.

      With the rapid fall in the inflows of foreign exchange (the withdrawal
of aid and credit plus the fall in exports and income from services), this
system was no longer able to supply government with its needs. In November
2002 they reinstated exchange control and took over all corporate foreign
exchange accounts (FCAs). They also took steps to close down the thriving
parallel market for foreign exchange.

      Under the new system, 50 percent of all inflows of foreign exchange is
now automatically converted at the official exchange rate by the banks and
the balance is transferred to the control of the Reserve Bank with the
proviso that the exporter can use it if they get permission within 60 days.
Any foreign exchange not used by that date is forfeited to the State.

      In reaction, private business cleaned out their FCAs before the new
measures were implemented denying the State of about US$30 million in
immediate foreign exchange inflows and then decided to withhold from their
own banks any expected further inflows.
      This action has been reinforced by early indications that the State
has not been true to its word and has in fact taken 100 percent of all
foreign exchange inflows to date at official exchange rates. The temptation
to do this was simply too great given the huge crisis over fuel.

      As a consequence, instead of yielding an immediate increase in the
availability of foreign exchange at controlled exchange rates to the State,
the inflows have dropped to a trickle. With the final collapse of all the
fuel deals on which they had been relying, having to put up hard cash and
even to settle some of the outstanding debt before any fuel could be
obtained, meant that fuel supplies simply dried up and the Christmas
nightmare began.

      What will happen when companies start to reopen in January is anyone¹s
guess. Most exporters, faced with the complete collapse of local revenues as
a consequence of their actual exchange rates falling from a mid rate between
the official rate and the parallel market rate, will simply not be able to
      They will start by withholding earnings and perhaps selling some of
those earnings illegally on local markets to fund local costs, but if forced
by the exchange control authorities to remit through the new system, they
will simply close down.

      Either way, foreign exchange inflows are likely to be negligible for
some time. No foreign exchange, no fuel, unless South Africa puts its neck
on the collective block and supplies fuel on credit.

      No fuel, no economic activity.In agriculture the State overestimated
its ability to run the system without the help of the existing management
and owners and we now have a near-total collapse of the existing industry
and exports. In industry they might have been speculating that if existing
private owners of industry were driven out of their companies by these new
regulations, new Zanu PF-linked owners could do deals and reopen the
enterprises with the minimum of disruption.

      We see under-the-counter deals being struck every day by Zanu
PF-linked business. However, to assume that this mechanism can be used
across the board in a short period of time without disruption would be
another serious mistake.

      The consequence would be to spread the economic chaos to industry and
commerce and even the services sector. The total collapse of the economy
under those circumstances cannot be ruled out.There are signs that some
business enterprises are "doing deals" with the State to maintain their
activity. The mining houses are talking deals similar to that struck by
Zimplats, while some industrial firms have permission from the Reserve Bank
to keep a higher ratio of foreign exchange for their own use.

      I know of one which is allowed to hold 100 percent of its earnings

      These deals will not be enough to hold the system
      together and, judged by its own track record, we have to say that at
this point in time it¹s impossible to see
      Zanu PF finding a solution ­ they have run out of time and space for
manoeuvre.So what is the solution?
      Well, there is none so long as existing management
      is in control of this particular ship of State. The only
      solution is a complete change of government and then sweeping policy
changes which will unlock the proven ability of this country to meet its own
needs and prosper.

      Sounds a bit trite? The MDC had a complete fuel programme ready to be
implemented after the March 2002 presidential election. We had even drafted
the necessary regulations to make the new system possible and had held
negotiations with those in a position to resolve the fuel crisis within a
fortnight of the swearing-in of the new government, with no subsequent
repetition of shortages and stock-outs.

      In April this could have been achieved without even
      a significant price rise.
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Daily News

      Suspected war vets destroy $5m property in MDC offices

      1/9/2003 12:37:20 PM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Mutare

      About 30 so-called war veterans on Monday attacked the MDC offices in
Chimanimani, destroying property worthy more than $5 million.

      They also confiscated documents, electrical appliances and membership
cards, said an MDC spokesman in Mutare. The office has been attacked on many
occasions by Zanu PF activists forcing its closure in the run-up to the
March 2002 presidential elections.

      Pishai Muchauraya, MDC's provincial spokesperson, said the former
freedom fighters raided the office armed with guns, sticks and
machetes.Muchauraya said: "They were searching for documents pertaining to
the Mutare mayoral elections scheduled to be held in August when the mayor,
Lawrence Mudehwe's term ends.

      "The war veterans destroyed three refrigerators valued at about $1
million each, took away a digital camera, 26 files and 10 000 membership
cards. "We are are convinced all this is an effort to get inside information
on our operations, campaign strategy and frustrate the constituency MP Roy
      Muchauraya said the membership cards were valued at about $100 000
while the digital camera is worth over $750 000.

      The incident was reported to the police in Chimanimani. Muchauraya
said no arrests had been made despite an undertaking by an Inspector
Chogugudza, the member-in-charge of Chimanimani Police Station, to
investigate the matter. Chogugudza could not be reached for comment.
Zacharia Mutize, the deputy provincial police spokesperson, said he was
still to receive the report on the attack.
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Daily News

      No end in sight for fuel woes

      1/9/2003 12:35:17 PM (GMT +2)

      By Chris Mhike Business Reporter

      FUEL supplies have remained very low and erratic in most parts of the
country, despite the government assurance just before Christmas, that the
situation would improve by the beginning of this year. Many filling stations
in virtually all the major cities, remained dry yesterday.

      Long winding queues were the order of the day at the few stations
where the crucial product was available. Yesterday, by lunchtime numerous
filing stations in Harare were still waiting for deliveries.

      Reports from Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo and Gweru were that the
situation was not any better in the respective locations.

      This has been the norm in the country for almost two months as
government grapples to source adequate foreign currency to import fuel.

      Fuel Facts, an information circular produced collectively by various
fuel distribution bodies and business associations, highlighted yesterday,
the gravity of the fuel crisis.

      "Fuel supplies have been in short supply although service stations
have generally been receiving a weekly allocation," read the circular. "With
schools set to re-open next week, this will place additional pressure on
motorists as consumption rises by around 30 percent," said the institutions
that contribute to Fuel Facts.

      The filling stations contacted yesterday agreed that some stations had
indeed been receiving weekly allocations while others received nothing.
Those that took delivery were however under-serviced as the amounts of fuel
received were far below market demands.

      Fani Kangondo, the corporate affairs manager for Comoil said in the
past few weeks, the company had been receiving an average of 60 000 litres a
day, a quantity that fell below half the distributor's normal needs.

      "The fuel supply situation remains tight. We are receiving only 30
000litres of petrol and 30 000 litres of diesel everyday. But our customers
would need at least 120 000 to 150 000 litres of fuel a day."

      Kangondo said: "As fuel distributors we are still anxiously awaiting
the improvement in fuel supplies that the minister promised."

      Amos Midzi, the Minister of Energy and Power Development promised the
nation on 19 December, that fuel supplies would improve significantly by 21
December 2002.
      Midzi said then: "The arrangements we have been making have matured. I
can confidently assure the nation that they can travel to various
destinations around the country. Fuel for their return journeys will be

      Noczim supplies to various distributors have however remained below
      Midzi admitted that Noczim had been delivering 50 to 60 percent of
normal supplies.

      However, independent sources claim that the reality on the ground
could be way below the minister's estimates.

      At the heart of the fuel supply problem is the foreign currency
shortage, and botched deals between Zimbabwe and Libya. Libya, the former's
erstwhile political and economic ally has expressed displeasure at Zimbabwe'
s inability to honour its financial obligations under different fuel deals.

      Initially, Zimbabwe reached an agreement with Libya, for the
settlement of fuel deliveries in local currency. Another arrangement was
made, for payment in the form of agricultural products including sugar,
tobacco, beef and tea because the Libyans had accumulated excessive amounts
of the Zimbabwean dollar. Under the fuel-for-produce arrangement, Zimbabwe
quickly fell out of step with Libya.

      The country failed to meet its export quota under the quasi-barter
trade arrangement.

      Zimbabwe has been suffering severe crisis of basic food stuffs in the
last six months, included among the shortages were sugar and beef, which it
was supposed to export to Libya in exchange for fuel. It was therefore a bit
too much for the country to send the little it had to another country.

      When the Libyans realised Zimbabwe's inability to provide the
agricultural products for fuel, they demanded payment for fuel in foreign
currency. The country had little of that because its export capacity has
been severely curtailed in the past two years. The alternative to the usage
of foreign currency for fuel purchases, was the surrender of State
properties, including real property, to the Libyans.

      Sources privy to the fuel deals have revealed that several State
properties have already been handed over to Libyan nationals. The amount of
properties ceded so far, though not yet ascertained, is reported to be quite
significant. The government has not shed any light on the number of public
properties ceded to Libya in exchange of fuel.

      On 2 January, a meeting was held between officials from Noczim, the
Energy Ministry and the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) now dubbed the
Jewel Bank, for the formulation of a strategy on how Zimbabwe could
extricate itself from a deal that could have led to the surrender of key
petro-chemical installations to Libya.

      A week before the 2 January meeting, talks between government and
Tamoil, a Libyan fuel company, collapsed after authorities failed to make a
firm commitment to cede more public properties.

      The Jewel Bank, which has been facilitating the financial transactions
for the procurement of fuel by Zimbabwe from Libya and other markets,
promised at the beginning of this week to shed light on the present
state-of-affairs relating to fuel deals.

      By the time of going to press yesterday however, no information had
been received from the bank.

      Libyans own a 15 percent stake in the Jewel Bank, putting them among
the top 10 investors in the bank.

      They are the second major investor after government which holds 17
percent equity in the bank.

      The government's stake in CBZ was diluted from 20 percent following
the rights issue of 2001.
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Independent (UK)

Rebels 'eating Pygmies' as mass slaughter continues in Congo despite peace
By Basildon Peta in Beni, Congo
09 January 2003

The United Nations is investigating reports of cannibalism by rebels in
north-eastern Congo, where the slaughter of civilians continues unabated
despite peace agreements.

The Congolese call themselves a "cursed people". With a war that has left an
estimated 3.5 million dead, the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo
(DRC) have probably suffered the worst massacres of any single nation since
the Second World War.

Manodje Mounoubai, a spokesman for the UN mission in Congo, told the
Associated Press yesterday that during the past week UN investigators had
been looking into reports that Congolese rebel troops had killed and eaten
Pygmies. The rebels of the Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC) and Congolese
Rally for Democracy-National are apparently killing the Pygmies if they
return from hunting expeditions without food.

An official with a rival rebel group, the Congolese Rally for
Democracy-Liberation (RCD-ML), said: "We hear reports of MLC and RCD-N
commanders feeding on sexual organs of Pygmies, apparently believing this
would give them strength. We also have reports of Pygmies being forced to
feed on cooked remains of their colleagues."

As he arrived at a centre for displaced people at Eringeti, Cwinyai Ushuto
said: "We have suffered a lot. Why does the world keep on standing back when
Congolese are being slaughtered like sheep in an abattoir?" The centre is
near rebel-controlled Beni, about 1,250 miles north-east of the capital,
Kinshasa, and about 30 miles from the Ugandan border.

More than 40,000 people were crammed into the centre when I recently
visited. Tearfund, a British charity, provides relief supplies.

Although none of the refugees I spoke to mentioned cannibalism explicitly,
their tales of atrocities by the rampaging rebel groups were no less

Mr Ushuto, 41, fled fierce fighting in Mongwalu, one of the many towns in
the north-east under siege from the different factions of rebel groups
backed by foreign armies. He led 20 people in the vanguard of a group of
3,500 women and children. By the time he arrived at Eringeti, having walked
60 miles through tropical forests in heavy rain and fog, only nine were
alive. The other 11 succumbed to hunger and disease.

Many more were expected to die in the group behind them. "We pray for those
who die along the way and leave their corpses resting on tree trunks. They
become meat for the vultures as we have no means to bury them," said Mr
Ushuto, who lost all his property to the rebels and was separated from his
wife and six children. He carried a bottle of cooking oil, which he spread
on his feet to walk faster or run when fleeing the rebels.

Katungu Mwenge, 25, saw her daughters aged seven and nine gang-raped and her
husband hacked to death by a rebel faction. She fled with her four other
children to Eringeti, where they were using banana tree leaves for blankets
under a leaking plastic roof.

Tetyabo-Tebabo Floribert, 18, was badly traumatised. Rebels decapitated his
mother, three brothers and two sisters. Anyasi Senga, 60, fled her village
with 40 others and lived in the bush for two months, surviving on wild
fruits and roots. Ambaya Estella's three children and her husband were
killed by the rebels, who killed most of the inhabitants of her village
using axes and machetes. "They held guns but they preferred to decapitate
people with axes and knives, probably to make the deaths more painful," she

She managed to escape with her orphaned grandchildren during the stampede
and walked to Eringeti.

The violence comes despite rebels signing a power-sharing peace deal on 17
December with the government. President Joseph Kabila has raised suspicions
in the rebel camp by reportedly deploying large numbers of troops near
rebel-controlled territory.

Forcesfrom the countries involved in the Congo war - Zimbabwe, Angola,
Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi - are allegedly still at large. They are
backing the tribes they see as the best proxies to facilitate their
continued plunder and theft of the DRC's vast mineral resources. The
fighting between the Hema and Lendu tribes in north-eastern DRC has been the
most ferocious.The six countries claim to have withdrawn their forces. But
first-hand accounts by displaced Congolese suggest they are still there. Mr
Ushuto said: "I can tell you that the Ugandans and Rwandese soldiers are
still here and fighting to get our resources."

The Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD), which formed in 1998 to drive the
late president Laurent Kabila from power, subsequently splintered into at
least four rebel factions, the RCD-KML, RCD-National, RCD-Goma and UPC,
controlling different cities in eastern Congo.

Jean Louis Kyaviro, the secretary general of the RCD-KML, said his group
intended to use captured Ugandan prisoners as evidence that foreign forces
still fought in the Congo.

To support Tearfund's work with refugees in the Congo, phone 0845 355 8355
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      And now to the Notebook . . . Guards or bandits?

      1/9/03 8:21:51 AM (GMT +2)

      Mukanya now has an inkling on whose orders Zimbabwe National Army
(ZNA) soldiers act when from time to time they beat up and terrorise
innocent civilians, as they did in Kuwadzana high-density suburb during the
Christmas holidays.

      A group of about 18 soldiers in ZNA uniform reportedly stormed Vision
Sports Bar, a Kuwadzana night club, and ordered patrons to lie on the floor
before beating them up while telling them to vote for ZANU PF in the area's
still-to-be-called parliamentary by-election.

      There have been several such incidents of banditry by ZNA soldiers in
the past. All along Mukanya had chosen to believe, against better judgment,
that these were the overzealous actions of young soldiers perhaps still
over-excited at being in the army.

      That was until I got wind of how Presidential Guard soldiers escorting
President Robert Mugabe, who of course is their commander-in-chief, recently
assaulted motorists waiting patiently for petrol at a garage along Samora
Machel Avenue in Harare.

      The motorists allegedly jeered at Mugabe's motorcade, which is
strictly prohibited by Statutory Instrument 299 of 2002. This interesting
piece of legislation makes it an offence to insult the presidential
motorcade but does not give the presidential guards licence to mete out
instant punishment to offenders.

      Who ordered the soldiers to inflict this mob justice on the motorists,
we wonder?

      Some of you might know a proverb that says: he who is able to forbid
an action and forbids it not virtually commands it.

      Does Bob have sympathy?

      Still on fuel queues
      and the presidential motorcade.

      While waiting for the precious liquid with lesser mortals at Turnpike
service station along the Bulawayo road, the wife of one ZANU PF chef from
Mashonaland West province, Uncle Bob's home province, was reportedly taken
aback to see Gushungo's long motorcade zoom past bemused motorists.

      The presidential procession was on its way to Zvimba, the Zimbabwean
version of Gbadolite, the late Mobutu Sese Seko's palatial home village.

      Probably weary after unaccustomed hours of rubbing shoulders with
Zimbabwe's long-suffering and demoralised motoring public, the ZANU PF chef'
s wife was heard saying as she gazed after the motorcade: "If only the Big
Chef could reduce the size of his motorcade during this period of fuel
shortages. At least that would show he sympathised with the rest of the
long-suffering motorists."

      Mukanya only has this to ask: does the Big Chef have any sympathy at
all for motorists or any other Zimbabwean in the first place? It seems

      Dairy cows

      While many of us
      spent long and bitter hours in fuel queues during the Christmas and
New Year holidays, guess what the gentleman tasked with ensuring that we
have adequate petrol and diesel was doing.

      A colleague tells Mukanya that the honourable chef was spotted in the
Beatrice commercial farming district, busy shopping for dairy cows.

      We do not begrudge the no doubt hard working chef his dairy project,
or whatever it is that he wanted the cows for. However, if this is the
urgency with which he treats the national fuel crisis, then God help us all.

      Getting nuttier

      After being forced to
      suspend all holiday plans and instead spend the festive season either
queuing for fuel, mealie-meal, bread, sugar or other such life-saving
commodities, an old pal told Mukanya: "Uncle Bob is getting nuttier by the
day. Imagine he has even decided to cancel Christmas."

      Signs of things to come

      Mukanya is not one
      given to superstition. But several of my pals insist, despite
countless efforts to dissuade them from this belief, that the fall from
grace of former Zimbabwe Football Association chairman Leo Mugabe, who is
also Uncle Bob's nephew, is a sign of things to come.

      Someone has even gone to the extent of pointing out that the letter N
in the acronym ZANU etched on the side of Shake-Shake building, the ZANU PF
headquarters that faces Rotten Row road, has fallen off so that it now reads

      This, my friend is adamant, is another sign that should be read with
foreboding by the occupants of the building.
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Daily News - letter

      England cricketers, don't fete Mugabe dictatorship

      1/9/2003 12:56:00 PM (GMT +2)

      Open letter to Nasser Hussain and the England cricket team I
personally believe that any support for the vicious Mugabe regime is morally

      The fundamental principles of freedom of movement, speech and
association are not recognised and accepted by President Mugabe.

      A relentless and vicious war continues where an entire nation suffers,
where everything is in short supply except violence, misery, disease and
death. As I am sure you would recognise and accept that national leaders
derive their strength from the people, not from military or foreign friends.

      The world is changing. Gone are the days when it is business as usual
simply because of the presence of dictators at the helm. Where is the
liberation of Zimbabwe Mugabe crows about to the world when unemployment is
over 75 percent, 80 percent of the population lives beneath the poverty line
and 6,7 million people face starvation, while 60 percent of the companies
closing down for the Christmas holidays will not be in a position to reopen
in the new year due to Mugabe's policies?

      Finally, Hussain, the politicians have made their decision now it's
time to make yours. I challenge you and the team to meet Zimbabweans forced
to flee under the tyranny of the Mugabe regime.

      Albert Weidemann
      North Yorkshire
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Thursday, 9 January, 2003, 13:06 GMT
Opinion: Is cricket stumped over Zimbabwe?
BBC News Online looks at differing opinions over whether the England cricket team should play World Cup matches in Zimbabwe
The ECB faces a dilemma over matches in Zimbabwe
The England and Wales Cricket Board is confronted with a moral dilemma over whether to ignore government advice and play World Cup matches in Zimbabwe.

In a meeting with the board, the UK Government has said it will not pay compensation if the England cricket team boycotts the games.

BBC News Online looks at differing opinions over the stand-off.

Cathy Buckle, a Zimbabwean farmer evicted two years ago

I haven't met anybody who thinks that the English cricketers should come to Zimbabwe.

There's no bread, no milk no flour no sugar and no cooking oil.

There are six million people facing starvation in the coming winter.

If your cricketers come and play cricket here now it makes a mockery of everything

Cathy Buckle
Inflation is now 170% and two million people have been forced to leave this country for economic or political reasons.

If the cricketers come here it gives legitimacy to our government.

For three years the UK, USA and Australia have been saying that they didn't recognise our election and our government. They've imposed sanctions and frozen the assets of our leaders.

If your cricketers come and play cricket here now it makes a mockery of everything.


Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for culture, media and sport

"There are no grounds for the government to compensate from public sources any losses that the ECB may suffer if they now withdraw from their match in Zimbabwe.

They were aware of the security situation. They were aware of the likely deterioration in the security situation as long ago as the beginning of July, before they confirmed their intention to compete in Harare. "

The government's attitude to the Mugabe regime has been made absolutely clear

Tessa Jowell
They were also aware of the likely reaction of government ministers at that time.

The government's attitude to the Mugabe regime and the deteriorating civil and humanitarian situation has been made absolutely clear.

The ECB doesn't exist in a world in which that information is unavailable to them.

There is a very easy way out of this that the matches to be played in Zimbabwe are relocated to South Africa. It is, afterall, South Africa's World Cup.


Marcus Trescothick, England batsman

There's a lot of paper talk going on back at home. But we haven't seen much of it over here [Sri Lanka].

This is obviously a major concern for the counties back home. Questions have been asked already of us. It's not really for us to decide.

It needs to be taken out of our hands to let the proper authorities deal with it. It can be quite a major distraction for us.

We're playing in a serious one-day competition where we have to keep our eyes firmly on what we're doing and not worry about what's happening back in England and in Zimbabwe.


Peter Anderson, chief executive of Somerset Cricket Club

Our club supports the board. All the board is saying is that if you are asking us to boycott Zimbabwe then, just like any other business, we have to be compensated.

I don't think it's true that the ECB knew of the risks beforehand. This is a political matter and the government is elected to make political decisions.

But it's really the ICC's problem. It's their competition. They are the World Cup organising body.

We have different governments saying different things about Zimbabwe. The nations participating in this situation should really come together and take a common line. If they did that then the ICC would take notice

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Jowell: no cash for Zimbabwe boycott

Staff and agencies
Thursday January 9, 2003

The culture, media and sport secretary, Tessa Jowell, has refused to offer
compensation to England's cricketing authorities if they pull the national
team out of its controversial World Cup match in Zimbabwe.
Speaking after a "full, friendly and frank discussion" with members of the
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Ms Jowell said: "We explored very
thoroughly the ECB'S major concern, which is the cost to them."

But she added: "Because it is a decision for them there can be no question
of compensation from the taxpayer."

During the meeting Ms Jowell restated the government's view that the England
cricket team should not visit the African state, both for security reasons
and Zimbabwe's "appalling" human rights record.

Robert Mugabe's regime is blamed for the humanitarian crisis that much of
Zimbabwe now faces. The World Food Programme estimates that 5 million
Zimbabweans face starvation as a result of government policy.

The Conservative leader, Iain Duncan Smith, has criticised Ms Jowell's
refusal to offer compensation, accusing her of being "incredibly weak" on
the issue.

"What you say as a government is 'We do not believe it is right to go", he
told BBC Radio 5 Live. "You let them know very early on and say: 'If that
decision will cost you certain monies then as a government we will help

Prior to the meeting the ECB chief executive, Tim Lamb, warned that cricket
would suffer "irreparable financial damage" if it pulled out of the match
without the assurance of compensation. Pulling out could deliver a
multimillion pound cost to the board, which would hit hard at the softer
areas of its operations, such as the development of the women's game and
coaching in schools, he said.

The board's first responsibility had to be to the interests of the game, he
added. "I'm sorry if people think that is not sufficiently moral."

"The ECB continues to regard it as somewhat perverse and illogical that
cricket is expected to make what is no more than a token and symbolic
gesture when no other British organisation is being expected to make similar
sacrifices" he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"There is no way that I can recommend to my management board that they even
consider that possibility without an undertaking from government that we
will be indemnified from any financial losses that accrue from us being in
breach of our legally binding obligations."
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Auckland Harbour News, 8 January 2003


Where are those heroic voices now?

Halt the racist Zimbabwe cricket tour now, writes Suburban Newspapers
consulting editor Pat Booth.

The clearly different message arrived amidst a flurry of late
Christmas greetings. A glance at the heading on it made plain that
this was no season of goodwill for some - but one of totally justified

I just wish that others who I have known well in the past, whose moral
strength I have admired and whose urgings I have followed, had got the
message too.

For they have been silent.

Men and women whose physical and spiritual courage made New Zealand a
banner-carrier in the battle against South African apartheid, who
stood firm at the barricades around test grounds across our country
during the Springbok tour in 1981, seem to have said and done nothing.

Perhaps I do them an injustice. Perhaps powerful letters from them to
influential editors have passed me by or have gone unpublished.

Perhaps they have organised street marches and protest meetings which
have been unreported.

Perhaps they have made clear the black-based racism and the loss of
basic human rights is as abhorrent now as it was in their time of
crusade and ultimate victory which saw Mandela and a whole nation

If that is true, then I apologise for my criticism.

If not, then I invite them and others with key roles in this matter to
read the Christmas message bundled in with my cards and e-mails.

The message from six brave men in Zimbabwe which was headed:


"The announcement that the International Cricket Council will hold six
world cup cricket matches in Zimbabwe next year has devastated the
Zimbabwean democracy movement.

"It is utterly obscene that men in crisply starched whites will play
this so-called gentleman's game in our cities while those of us who
live here have no petrol or bread, no milk or sugar.

"I wonder if the ICC know that it is illegal for five or more people
to hold a meeting in Zimbabwe without police permission.

"I wonder if they care that while they knock little balls around on
the field other people are having naked wires attached to their
testicles whilst in police custody.

"While they stay in our five star hotels, I wonder if the players will
care that we can't even buy food on the black market without first
producing cards proving we support the ruling party.

"I wonder if the ICC know that if we say or write something about
President Mugabe which may make people hostile towards him we can go
to prison for a year.

"I am sure that both the ICC and the cricket players themselves know
all of this but they say they are purely a sporting body and not a
political one.

"Their hypocrisy and racism is disgusting and nauseating. It was OK
for them to boycott games in apartheid South Africa and Ian Smith's
Rhodesia but not in Zimbabwe now.

"When white people were oppressing blacks it was wrong, now it is
black people oppressing black people, it is apparently OK. The ICC
have shown who the real racists are here."

The message which came through a mysterious website, is signed with
six signatures which I have withheld to protect their safety in a
regime which is as violent as it is corrupt.

Just as I have withheld perhaps as many names - they will be familiar
to you without my citing them - of people who became national figures
in conscience-split New Zealand for their views and actions in the
years before and certainly throughout 1981. They know I mean them.

I'm happy to make the message to me a chain letter to them.

Leave your crash helmets behind but dust off those old banner-writing
skills and march if necessary. Halt this racist cricket tour.

Once again, sports administrators overseas and potentially here are
hell-bent on the same path which a blinkered New Zealand Rugby Union
followed nearly 22 years ago.

The ethnic differences are obvious. The anti-tour movement sought
justice then for a black minority and to free them from an immoral,
white dictatorship. This time, a black dictatorship is the cruel
oppressor of both a black majority and a white minority.

And the same empty catchcries are seeking to safeguard the gross
misuse of power by repeating familiar phrases about the division of
politics and sport. As this is written, New Zealand Cricket is
checking its mailbox for a letter from Foreign Minister Phil Goff.

They already know what his letter says. It mirrors the strongly-held
views of both the British and Australian Governments that the Zimbabwe
matches in the World Cup should be boycotted.

So they should.

If you've got money or some international status, Harare is just fine.
But beyond the air-conditioned hotels and the Mercedes is a country
where more than six million - half of its black population - are close
to starvation, where white farmers driven off their now unused land
without compensation are threatened with huge officially-backed
damages suits from black labourers they once employed, where 70 per
cent have no work, where crime is soaring as living standards drop,
where frightened whites, for instance, lock 14 doors every night. And
still live in fear.

An elderly white brother and sister who left a lock undone were tied
to their chairs and strangled with shoelaces.

Mercedes-driving Mugabe and his coterie, with its ugly, despotic,
self-serving regime, will glad-hand anyone to gain status in the world
from the cup and divert attention from the terrible human rights
violations and economic failures, mass starvation, they are
responsible for.

I'm waiting not only for those heroic figures from our commendable
past to re-raise their banners.

None of New Zealand's early matches is in Zimbabwe but the later draw
there could involve them.

That's why I am also looking for the first New Zealand cricketer to
raise his hand and say: "Bomb violence in Sri Lanka and Pakistan was
enough for me to head home. Problems over my contract justified me in
striking for more pay. Now, I'm so disgusted over the treatment of
black and white Zimbabweans that I won't risk playing in a tournament
involving matches there. I won't give fake respectability to an
inhuman Mugabe regime. No money is worth that."

Those are the next messages I'm waiting for.
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English cricket 'forced'
to pay or play in Zim

London - A catch-22 situation has practically forced English cricket
officials to defy the British government's boycott plea and go ahead with
their World Cup game in Zimbabwe.

England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tim Lamb said as the
government refused to pay compensation if England boycotted their World Cup
match in Zimbabwe then they had little option but to go ahead with their
match in Harare in February.

However, he told reporters they could reverse the decision if there were
more riots in Zimbabwe.

"If there is a detoriation in the security situation the decision to play in
Zimbabwe could be reviewed," he said after meeting government officials.

"We need to have a fairly urgent meeting of the management board. It will be
up to them to decide where we go from here."

The British government and the ECB failed to reach an agreement over whether
England should play in Zimbabwe next month.

Six out of 54 games in the World Cup, primarily staged in South Africa, are
due to take place in Zimbabwe.

Sports Minister Tessa Jowell told reporters the government opposed the match
but said it was up to the cricket authorities to make the final decision.

"At the end of the day the decision is with the ECB," she said.

Jowell made it clear the ECB could expect no compensation from the
government if it now decided it would not play in Zimbabwe.

International Cricket Council president Malcolm Gray has said England would
face a £1 million (R14 million) bill if they did not play the fixture.

"We explored very thoroughly the ECB's major concern which is the cost to
them," Jowell said. "Because it is a decision for them there can be no
question of compensation from the taxpayer."

Increasing pressure

Jowell said she had re-emphasised during the meeting the government's view
that England should not visit Zimbabwe for both security reasons and because
of the country's "appalling" human rights record.

The ECB has been under increasing pressure to boycott the February 13 match
in Harare as a show of opposition to Robert Mugabe's leadership.

The government is strongly opposed to England playing in Harare but has said
it can not make the final decision. The ECB says the decision is a political
one and should be made by the government.

Lamb said the government's stance could have very serious legal and
financial effects on English cricket.

"The government has informed us that there will be no compensation," he
said. ""This will be felt at the development and grassroots level.

"I think that we have been put in a very difficult situation. That could
have a serious detrimental financial effect on English cricket."

He added the ECB's management board would now consider their position and
added another meeting with the government was possible.

The ECB said this week that if a firm decision was not made at Thursday's
meeting, a 15-man ECB management board would have the final say.

Mugabe has received widespread criticism for his controversial land reform
programme, which opponents blame for the country's deepening economic crisis
and food shortages. - Sapa-AP/Reuters
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The Mirror (UK)


      Exclusive By Ros Wynne-Jones

      TONY Blair ordered Government ministers to wash their hands of
Zimbabwe, a TV documentary will claim this Sunday.

      The Channel 4 programme will also say that the Prime Minister shifted
Peter Hain from his post as Africa Minister for criticising Robert Mugabe.

      Mr Blair demoted the Foreign Office minister to Energy Minister just
days after the South African government filed an official complaint about
Hain's hostile attitude.

      The South African Foreign Minister wrote the letter in January 2001 to
Foreign Secretary Robin Cook complaining about "deeply offensive" remarks by
Hain. The letter states Hain had jeopardized South Africa's smooth relations
with Britain.

      In a newspaper article in South Africa Hain had said the policy of
"constructive engagement" with Mugabe had failed.

      At the time Cook was trying to maintain relations with Mugabe. And
Foreign Office officials feared that Hain's comments had damaged relations
with Zimbabwe.

      Journalist Peter Oborne will also reveal in the C4 documentary how
Government spokesmen downplayed the importance of dealing with Zimbabwe in
secret briefings. It will show how a spokesman for the PM told the Financial
Times Tony Blair did not want to be judged on how he performed over
Zimbabwe, and wanted to concentrate on the rest of Africa.

      England cricket bosses will today be urged by ministers to pull out of
their World Cup opener against Zimbabwe on February 13. At question time
yesterday, Tony Blair said it would be wrong for the team to hand Robert
Mugabe a propaganda victory. He told MPs that the Government could not stop
the match, but strongly opposed it.
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      IMF decision on Zim voting powers expected soon

      Staff Reporter
      1/9/03 9:46:52 AM (GMT +2)

      THE board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will soon decide
whether to suspend Zimbabwe's voting powers over arrears owed to the
organisation, the Bretton Woods institution's resident representative Gerry
Johnson said this week.

      Johnson said the IMF board would meet to consider a report to be
submitted by a team due in Zimbabwe early next month for routine
consultations. The talks will focus on the country's economic and fiscal

      "The board will decide on the issue of voting powers when they
consider the report," Johnson told the Financial Gazette. "They have not yet
decided (to suspend voting powers) as said by some people."

      Last year, the IMF adopted a declaration of non-cooperation with
Zimbabwe and suspended technical assistance because of the country's failure
to meet its financial obligations to the organisation.

      Johnson said the country's arrears to the IMF had risen by more than
12 percent from US$165.7 million last September to US$188 million at the end
of November.

      Analysts say the arrears could breach the US$300 million mark by the
end of this year because of Zimbabwe's severe foreign currency crisis, which
has resulted in the country defaulting on most of its foreign commitments.

      At least eight million Zimbabweans need emergency food aid and the
government has had to prioritise food imports along with liquid fuel and
energy procurement.

      Economic consultant John Robertson said Zimbabwe, which only paid one
percent of its arrears to the IMF last year, would have to grapple with
critical electricity, fuel and food imports before it could deal with its

      He said: "The effect of running those critical imports first will not
see the government paying anything towards the arrears.

      "By the end of this year, the arrears will reach US$300 million and I
don't think the President (Robert Mugabe) will authorise payment to the

      During the presentation of the 2003 national budget, Finance Minister
Herbert Murerwa pledged to reduce Zimbabwe's foreign arrears, but analysts
have dismissed this saying the government had no resources to channel
towards an effective foreign debt repayment programme.

      As a result, they said it was likely that the country would lose its
voting rights, which could ultimately lead to Zimbabwe being expelled from
the IMF.

      Commentators said the government, which insists Zimbabwe can survive
without international aid, might not take the suspension of the voting
rights seriously, but such a move by the IMF would further dent the country'
s creditworthiness.

      Zimbabwe's alienation from the IMF has contributed to a decline in
aid, foreign direct investment and credit from financial institutions, most
of which take their cue from the Bretton Woods institution when lending to
developing countries.

      "I think all the problems are now coming to a head and the time for
stop gap measures might be gone," a Harare-based economist said. "We now
need the world more than they need us."
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      State drops charges against MDC leader

      1/9/03 9:45:38 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - Charges of inciting violence made against opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) vice president Gibson Sibanda have been
withdrawn by the state because of lack of evidence, according to a lawyer
representing the MDC leader.

      Josphat Tshuma of Web, Low and Barry said the charges were dropped on
Monday, adding: "The state had no option but to withdraw the charges before
plea because of lack of evidence. It was just a waste of time, effort and

      The charges against Sibanda stemmed from a speech he made at an MDC
rally at Bulawayo's White City Stadium in February 2001.

      Sibanda, who briefly appeared before Bulawayo magistrate James
Mutsauki, is alleged to have told MDC supporters to identify supporters of
the ruling ZANU PF and physically assault them.

      Tshuma told the Financial Gazette that the police had chosen to pay
attention to a small portion of Sibanda's address and had read the speech
out of context.

      "In order to understand the whole meaning of what Sibanda said, it was
necessary to read those words in their full context and hence, we requested
for the whole speech not just a portion as was the case," he said.

      "So it was this whole speech which the state could not supply and
therefore there was no basis on which one could say the words complained of,
taken in isolation, meant that Sibanda incited people to assault ZANU PF

      Sibanda is one of several top MDC leaders who have been arrested and
hauled before the courts on various charges in the past two years. The
opposition party has accused the government of harassing its officials and
supporters by arresting them on trumped up charges.

      - Staff Reporter
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      Police stop MDC protest

      1/9/03 9:41:44 AM (GMT +2)

      A 2 000-STRONG demonstration planned by the main opposition party in
Zimbabwe in support of Harare's mayor failed to get off the ground yesterday
morning, police and opposition officials said.

      An official in the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
said the demonstration had been organised to show solidarity with Harare's
MDC mayor Elias Mudzuri and combat the government's negative publicity

      The demonstration was declared illegal by police early yesterday

      Around a dozen police officers were standing outside Town House in
central Harare, where the mayor works.

      "The police have got wind of what was going to happen and they're all
over the place," MDC information officer Maxwell Zimuto said.

      Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said the MDC had planned to bring
in around 50 demonstrators from each of Harare's 44 districts. He said the
planned demonstration was not an expression of the will of Harare residents.

      Since Mudzuri took office in March last year, he has been heavily
criticised by the government and state media.

      They have accused him of flouting tender procedures and bungling the
running of the city.

      Mudzuri and the MDC dismiss the charges, saying they inherited a city
run down by more than 20 years of misrule by President Robert Mugabe's
ruling ZANU PF.

      - Sapa-AFP
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Financial Times

      Minister to urge boycott of match in Zimbabwe
      By Cathy Newman, Chief Political Correspondent
      Published: January 9 2003 4:00 | Last Updated: January 9 2003 4:00

      England's cricket leaders will today come under fresh pressure from
the government to boycott next month's World Cup match in Zimbabwe.

      Tessa Jowell, culture secretary, is to meet the England and Wales
Cricket Board to urge them to cancel their trip to the African country.

      Tony Blair told the Commons yesterday: "We have made it quite clear to
the cricket authorities that we believe it is wrong that they should go and
I hope they take account of that advice. Whether they do so or not is a
matter for them."

      In the meeting, hosted by Ms Jowell and Baroness Amos, the foreign
office minister, Tim Lamb, the ECB's chief executive, and Mike Soper, deputy
chairman, are expected to discuss the financial implications of a boycott.

      There have been calls for the government to compensate the ECB for
cancellation costs - estimated at between £1m and £10m. There is also the
prospect of millions of pounds in lost income if Zimbabwe retaliate by
pulling out of a tour of England in May.

      But insiders at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said that
although Ms Jowell was sympathetic to the ECB's dilemma there was no chance
taxpayers' money would be used to compensate the board.

      "Our view would be it would be very difficult to conceive of a
situation where it would be an appropriate use of public money," an official

      Ms Jowell is expected to point out that famine and violence have
worsened in Zimbabwe in recent weeks.
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Blair backs cricket into a corner

Paul Kelso, sports correspondent
Thursday January 9, 2003

Tony Blair increased the pressure on the England and Wales Cricket Board to
pull out of its controversial World Cup match in Zimbabwe yesterday when,
in the House of Commons, he called for a boycott of the game.
In his first public comment on the subject, Blair said it would be wrong for
England to fulfil the fixture but stressed that the government had no power
to prevent it. Speaking at prime minister's questions, he said: "We have
made it quite clear to the cricket authorities that we believe it is wrong
that they should go and I hope they take account of that advice. Whether
they do so or not is a matter for them."

He drew a parallel with the British Olympic Association's decision in 1980
to send a team to the Moscow Games in the face of the opposition of the
Thatcher government. "We have expressed our view very clearly that they
should not go but, as with the decision over the 1980 Olympics, it is not
within our power or ability to order people not to go."

Blair's comments came as ECB officials prepared for a crunch meeting with
ministers today. The chief executive Tim Lamb, the deputy chairman Mike
Soper and John Read, director of corporate affairs, will meet the culture
secretary Tessa Jowell, the sports minister Richard Caborn and Baroness
Amos, a foreign office minister.

Government opposition to the match centres on human rights abuses by Robert
Mugabe's regime and the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe. The World Food
Programme estimates that 5m people there face starvation as a result of
government policy. The two sides will seek a compromise to a row that has
overshadowed preparations for the tournament and left the ECB facing an
invidious choice.

If it fulfils the fixture it will be defying the government and public
opinion and handing a propaganda victory to Robert Mugabe. A poll conducted
by Channel 4 to be published today found 84% opposed.

A boycott, however, would damage relations with the International Cricket
Council, leave the ECB facing a fine of up to £1m and see England sacrifice
two points and perhaps their chances of progressing in the tournament.

Read said the ECB would enter the discussions with an open mind but
reiterated that compensation would be sought if it boycotted Zimbabwe. "We
understand public concerns about Zimbabwe. It is a politically reprehensible
regime and what is happening is a tragedy, but over 300 British companies
continue to do business there," he said. "If we are asked to make a gesture
that no one else has and pull out - and no decision has been made yet - the
least that should happen is that we should be compensated for all our

The final decision will be made by the ECB's 15-member management board
which will meet next week. Seven board members contacted yesterday said they
backed the ECB. Dennis Amiss, the chief executive of Warwickshire and a
member of the board, said: "Unless we are told that we cannot go, the
feeling is that we should go there and play cricket. We are, of course,
aware of the situation in Zimbabwe but feel it is most unfair cricket should
have been singled out as the vehicle to express the government's feelings."

A department of culture, media and sport spokesman said: "We know the ECB is
between a rock and a hard place but there is simply nothing to be gained by
the England cricket team going to Harare. Robert Mugabe has every intention
of using this match for political purposes and we don't think the cricketers
should be put in that position."

The ECB appears to have the support of England's senior players, who have
indicated that they will not pull out of the Harare game unless instructed
to do so. The government would like to see a multilateral boycott of
Zimbabwe by the six countries due to play there, but only the Australian
government has indicated opposition. India, Pakistan, Namibia and Holland
have raised no objection.

The Australian prime minister John Howard has been lobbying the ICC but so
far the governing body has shown no enthusiasm for a politically motivated
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Zimbabwe tour would worry Bradman: son

Sir Donald Bradman would have wanted Australia to consider the fate of the
Zimbabwean people in deciding whether its cricket team should play there,
his son reportedly said.
The Australian team is scheduled to play a World Cup one-day match in
Zimbabwe in March and the International Cricket Council said the decision
should be made on player safety, not politics.
But Sir Donald's son John told The Daily Telegraph that his father believed
decisions like this should not be made solely on the issue of player safety.
Mr Bradman said his father thought decisions should be made "for the good of
cricket" and that extended to issues of racism and oppression.
Mr Bradman told the paper Sir Donald would have wanted him to speak out on
the issue.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's cricket chief has welcomed signs English cricketers
would press on with their World Cup match, arguing the security situation
was "under control".
Peter Chingoka, chairman of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU), said: "We have
always welcomed the English cricketers", adding that his organisation was
urging all the international teams scheduled to play their matches in
Zimbabwe next month to honour their obligations.
He was speaking shortly after English cricket officials indicated they were
likely to play in a match in Zimbabwe on February 13 despite the British
government's calls for a boycott.
Pressure had been mounting on the English and Australian cricket teams to
boycott their matches.
There have been growing concerns over security following food riots last
week in the major cities of Harare and Bulawayo and the murder of an
Australian tourist in Victoria Falls last weekend.
But Chingoka stressed the security situation was not a cause for concern.
"Our security officials tell us everything is under control," he told AFP.
He added that he was confident they would be able to host the matches "very
English cricket officials have said they might revise their decision if
riots continue in Zimbabwe.
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