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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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The Herald

Masvingo police bust $30m sugar scandal

From Isdore Guvamombe in MASVINGO
POLICE in Masvingo yesterday bust a scam in which more than 500 tonnes of
sugar worth $30 million were bought clandestinely from Triangle Sugar
Estates in Chiredzi, by a Harare businessman, at a time when the country is
hit by an acute shortage of the commodity.

If sold on the black market, the impounded sugar, is worth $200 million.

The gazetted controlled price of a kilogramme of sugar is less than $100,
but the commodity is being sold for up to $500 on the black market.

Out of the 500 tonnes of sugar bought by the Harare businessman (name
supplied), 210 tonnes had already been delivered from the estate's mill.

The businessman is believed to have been working in cahoots with some senior
workers at Triangle Sugar Estates.

Sources in the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe said 500 tonnes of sugar are
enough to feed the country for two weeks.

There was drama at the sugar mill when two 30-tonne trucks hired by the
businessman to carry the sugar, drove off in a huff after police had
intercepted a third truck carrying another 30 tonnes of the basic commodity.

Police believe that the vehicles were fitted with inter-communication
gadgets given that once police stopped one of the vehicles, about five
kilometres outside Triangle town, the other truck drivers simultaneously
drove off from the mill.

Masvingo police spokesman, Inspector Learn Ncube yesterday said papers in
the hands of the police indicated that the businessman was sold 500 metric

"He had collected at least 210 tonnes of sugar by the time we discovered
what was happening.

"One of the truck drivers is in custody and we have impounded one of the
vehicles with 30 tonnes of sugar until we see the direction of our
investigations," said Insp Ncube.

"Our investigations now need to establish how he got to buy the sugar, where
he is selling it and we want to see the legality of his deal."

Police, said Insp Ncube, believe that if the deal was genuine, his drivers
would not have fled when the law enforcement agents intercepted the first

The sugar, it is suspected, was bound for the more lucrative export market.

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The Herald

Amnesty beneficiaries go on housebreaking spree

From Midlands Bureau
At least 10 prisoners released under a Presidential amnesty early this month
have gone on a housebreaking rampage in the Midlands, stealing property
worth millions of dollars, police said on Thursday.

Police spokesman Inspector Oliver Mandipaka said some of the break-ins were
allegedly hatched while the prisoners were still in prison, and committed
hours after they got their freedom.

He said so far 10 people, who benefited from the Presidential pardon, had
been arrested in the province after being implicated in criminal activities.

"Some of them committed crimes on the day of their pardon on their way
home," said Insp Mandipaka.

He said in one case, three former convicts went on a spate of housebreaking
and theft in Kwekwe and Redcliff and stole electrical goods and clothes
worth $1,4 million.

The trio was incarcerated at Kadoma Prison where they hatched a plan to
embark on criminal activities on their release.

Insp Mandipaka said the trio broke into Club Zero in Mbizo, Express Store in
Redcliff and several houses, stealing property which included stoves, radio
receivers and video recorders.

"They were arrested in a bush near Mbizo by members of the Zimbabwe National
Army while sharing the loot," he said. After their arrest, one of the
suspects escaped from police custody and was still being sought by the

The Zimbabwe Prison Service started releasing beneficiaries of the amnesty
on January 2 and a total of 5 600 inmates would be released from the country
's jails in a bid to reduce the population from 24 500.

Zimbabwe's 40 prisons have a combined holding capacity of 16 000.

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Police recover gadgets worth $20m

Herald Reporter
Police recovered stolen electrical gadgets and bundles of copper and
aluminium cables worth over $20 million in Mbare and at a house in Hatfield,
resulting in the arrest of 10 suspects this week.

Part of the aluminium and copper cables and other stolen goods were
recovered in a hole that had been dug out in the Hatfield house.

This comes after the launch of a joint operation by police and the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority, to curb rampant thefts of Zesa property early
this month.

Mbare Police Superintendent Shakespear Marange yesterday said the operation
recovered 200 electrical switches of various voltages and nine line tapes
all valued at $10,4 million.

Aluminium and copper cables whose value is estimated at more than $12
million were also recovered.

"Police raided some cabins in Mbare at around 11 pm on Wednesday, following
a tip off from some members of the public. Eight suspects aged between 19
and 30 were arrested," Supt Marange said.

He said investigations carried out so far have revealed that there was a
gang of thieves going around suburbs stealing switches from Zesa subsidiary

Supt Marange said switches with a low voltage were being stolen from houses
and schools around greater Harare before they were taken to Mbare market for

"We are convinced that the arrests of the suspects will help resolve other
cases of theft of Zesa and vandalism of council properties," he said.

On Thursday, police officers patrolling the Hatfield area cited two men who
appeared to be waiting for a lift at midnight.

When the officers approached the two, they discovered more than 100 bundles
of cables hidden in an isolated area a few metres away from where the two

"The two were arrested and took the police officers to their hideout in
Hatfield. They were probably waiting for a vehicle to pick the loot and
deposit it somewhere," he said.

Supt Marange said upon searching the house, police discovered that there was
a big hole that had been dug out under one bed in the house, where other
stolen goods were stored.

"In most cases, the aluminium and copper cables are sold to some illegal
dealers in the country who smelt it down before exporting it to South

He said the case has since been referred to the CID Gold Squad for further

Meanwhile, two of the four criminals who stole formica planks worth $8,5
million from a Harare company were arrested at around 2 am on Thursday.

The two, who were in the company of two other accomplices who are still at
large, broke into the company building after they had threatened to shoot
security guards who were manning the premises if they alerted the police.

After what appeared to be a successful housebreaking and theft spree, two
suspects drove out of the company premises while the other two followed on

The two on foot met with police officers patrolling Hatfield before they had
got to the getaway vehicle.
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IMF Concerned With Crisis

Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

January 17, 2003
Posted to the web January 17, 2003

Barnabas Thondhlana

THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has expressed deep concern about
Zimbabwe's sharp decline in economic activity and per capital income, the
rise in poverty and human suffering, the acceleration of inflation and the
accumulation of domestic and external payment arrears, all of which gathered
pace in 2001.

In its June 2002 Country Report on Zimbabwe, which became available in
December, the IMF directors said the deteriorating situation in the country
was the result of inappropriate economic policies aggravated by violence and
disruptions to productive activity related to the government's fast-track
land reform programme.

"Directors expressed concern that Zimbabwe's economic and social problems
are having adverse spillover effects on neighbouring countries, which adds
to the urgency of taking decisive corrective action," the IMF report said.

"Directors agreed that significant changes in the government's economic
policies, together with improvements in governance and the adoption of a
transparent and orderly land reform programme, are urgently needed to
prevent a worsening of the economic crisis."

The report said the directors stressed in particular that the land reform
programme should minimise disruptions to the productive sectors and to
domestic food supply, and urged the authorities to honor commitments made in
Abuja and work closely with the United Nations Development Programme in
formulating a programme that would receive broad domestic and international

The IMF directors said bringing the fiscal deficit under control would be
crucial to restoring macro-economic stability, and acknowledged the limited
progress achieved in 2001 to reduce the fiscal deficit, but noted that the
targeted reduction in non-interest expenditure had not been achieved. They
said most of the budgetary savings were attributable to a decline in
interest outlays due to the forced restructuring of the government's
domestic debt.

"A loose monetary policy has aggravated economic imbalances and fuelled
inflation, and has increased the vulnerability of the banking system,' the
report said. "Authorities should to take immediate corrective measures to
mop up excess liquidity, allow interest rates to become positive in real
terms and dismantle the distortionary subsidised credit facilities. (There
is) need to ensure the health of the banking system by dealing promptly with
non-viable institutions, and to fully enforce prudential regulations and
capital adequacy requirements."

The IMF directors noted "with concern" that the over-valuation of the
Zimbabwe dollar had seriously hampered the country's competitiveness, and
had resulted in a shortage of foreign exchange, the exhaustion of usable
foreign reserves, a large accumulation of external payment arrears, and a
wide spread between the official and the parallel exchange rates.

"An adjustment in the official exchange rate to a more realistic level,
supported by tight monetary and fiscal policies, is urgently needed to
restore external viability and reduce the rent seeking associated with
foreign exchange rationing," the report said.

"While this adjustment could be achieved by a substantial up-front
devaluation, followed by a return to the previous crawling peg arrangement,
several directors considered that a unified floating exchange rate should be
the ultimate objective."

The report said while Zimbabwe had made a commitment to make quarterly
payments on its overdue financial obligations to the Fund, such payments
"would not be sufficient to eliminate, or even stabilise Zimbabwe's

"Zimbabwe's arrears to the PRGF Trust could reduce the availability of
resources to other eligible countries," the IMF said, urging Harare to
promptly settle overdue financial obligations to the Fund.
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Zimbabwe police accused of poisoning opposition activists

afrol News, 17 January - The Zimbabwean Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
opposition party today accuses the police of poisoning and torturing its
leaders and activists in custody. The party leadership presents a list of
several MDC activists that were "made to drink an unspecified liquid" - most
of them needing medication after their "treatment".

Revelations that MDC parliamentarian Job Sikhala, who had been tortured
while in police custody, "was also made to drink an unspecified liquid," had
been the final confirmation of the opposition's fears that something
frightening was going on. According the MDC Secretary-General Welshman
Ncube, this further proved the party's suspicions that "all MDC leaders and
activists who have been in police custody in the last few months have been

Examples of these included MDC parliamentarian Tichaona Munyanyi, "who fell
extremely ill immediately after his release from police custody as he
developed a serious headache and an incessant diarrhoea that lasted 10 days
after his release." Munyanyi had to spend 5 days at West End Clinic as a
result of his illness.

Further, Solomon Silas Chikowero, an MDC Security employee, had been "forced
to drink a substance from a bottle while he was blindfolded on 27 August
2002 after his arrest and torture at Chinamora Police Station in Domboshava.
Ever since he continues to experience an incessant diarrhoea and dizziness,"
the MDC statement reads.

Stephen Chasara and Davies Mtetwa, who were in the MDC Chitungwiza
provincial executive, were "arrested and tortured in police custody and told
of being forced to drink an unnamed substance. They both subsequently died
within 7 months." Mtetwa died on 26 April 2002, while Chasara died on 15
June 2002.

- The two had been abducted on 14 November 2001 at 3 am from Chasara's home
where Mtetwa also lived, Ncube recalls. "They were tortured the whole day
and Chasara was released the same day at around 6pm while Mtewa was released
on 15 November. They both had serious injuries under their feet and on their
backs from being beaten with sticks at Harare Central. They had also been
tortured by being subjected to electric shocks."

Also Robbie Siyanai, an MDC Provincial Information Officer, had been
abducted on 7 April 2002 from the party's provincial offices and "severely
tortured by state agents and was also made to drink an unnamed white
liquid." Siyanai was said to immediately have "felt dizzy and remains
seriously ill thereafter." He has been on medication ever since. His sense
of hearing was severely affected and now he can hardly hear.

Ex-MDC spokesman Learnmore Jongwe had died under similar circumstances at
Harare Remand Prison on 22 October 2002, "after chloroquine had been
introduced into his body. One day we will know how and by whom that
chloroquine was introduced into his body," Ncube says.

Further, last year, MDC Treasurer-General Fletcher Dulini Ncube, who also
holds a seat in Parliament, "was held in handcuffs while in a hospital bed
where he had just underdone surgery to remove his eye. His eye had developed
an infection as a result of the fact that he was denied his special diet and
treatment while in police custody." Dulini is a diabetic patient.

The MDC Secretary-General protested what he calls the "reign of terror that
Robert Mugabe has unleashed." He also used the opportunity to protest the
disputed organisation of the World Cup Cricket in Zimbabwe. "The World Cup
authorities must know that they bear the responsibility for the current
terrorization of Zimbabweans by the Mugabe regime in a last ditch effort to
silence its critics before the start of the World Cup cricket games," Ncube

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Daily Telegraph

Mugabe aide criticises land grab

By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
(Filed: 18/01/2003)

A senior figure in President Robert Mugabe's regime admitted yesterday that
the mass seizure of white-owned farms had caused a slump in production.

Peter Chanetsa, governor of Mashonaland West province, Zimbabwe's
agricultural heartland, said more than half those allocated white-owned
farms had failed to show up to claim their gains.

With fields lying empty, he predicted a fall in production. The first
official admission of failure comes amid the worst food shortages in
Zimbabwe's history. More than six million people are dependent on
international aid.

Mr Chanetsa's remarks were in the report of a committee of MPs, sent to
evaluate the confiscation last year of 90 per cent of white-owned farms.

"Some of those who took up their plots are only cellphone farmers who manage
their plots from urban centres, or visit the farms during weekends with very
little production," Mr Chanetsa said.

This week at least 10 of the last surviving group of 200 tobacco farmers
received eviction notices in the Karoi district. They have to leave their
land within 90 days, before harvesting their crops.

As the crisis deepens, Zimbabwe's seniormilitary commander has called for
the formation of a task force.

General Vitalis Zvinavashe, the armed forces chief of staff, appeared to
rebuke the government when he called for measures to deal with the economic
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The Dispatch - East London

Mugabe will have to go ­ US politician

CAPE TOWN -- The implosion of the rule of law in Zimbabwe cannot be
sustained, and President Robert Mugabe will ultimately have to go, United
States congressman Ed Royce said yesterday

"Within all civil society, even within the party in power, and opposition
parties, there is going to be the realisation that Mugabe needs to go and
the rule of law needs to return," he said.

Royce -- who was speaking in Cape Town after attending a conference on the
African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) in Mauritius -- chairs the
Africa sub-committee of the US Congress' international relations committee.

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai claimed earlier this week
that two top ruling party officials had approached him about a plan for
Mugabe to step down. This was denied by the ruling Zanu(PF).

Emphasising that recent developments in that country would not be able to
continue, Royce mentioned in this regard the high court ruling that two
parliamentary seats were fraudulently obtained by Zanu(PF), the arrest of
the mayor of Harare and an opposition party member, and widespread
starvation of people resulting from poor economic policies.

It was important for other countries in the region affected by the crisis to
begin to take on the responsibility of leveraging Zimbabwe from the brink
and on to a course to democracy, Royce said.

He said internationally there was a sense of concern and hope that South
Africa and other governments would engage with Zimbabwe and bring back the
rule of law.

Royce said the situation in Zimbabwe had impacted on South Africa through
loss of investment.

"Investors in the US and Europe are nervous about the implosion of the rule
of law. There is very real reticence about the region as a result of what
has happened there, and reports of what was happening in Zimbabwe were
disconcerting to investors," he said.

These included Mugabe "stealing" last year's presidential election; an
interview with a young woman whose husband, an opposition leader, was
murdered; food being used as a political weapon; and Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo buying food "by the trailer-load" in South Africa while his
neighbours starve.

The US had approached other governments to follow the US and Europe's lead
in freezing assets held by Mugabe and other Zanu(PF) leaders abroad, he

Bill Thomas, the chairman of the US' powerful Ways and Means Committee, said
time limits put to AGOA were identified by the Southern African government
as one of the main concerns regarding the export promotion strategy.

According to Thomas however, the crisis in Zimbabwe was wasting the
opportunity offered by AGOA.

"The fact is the Zimbabwe problem is eating up the one thing we don't have
and that is time... the longer it goes on the more difficult it will be to
respond to problems," Thomas said. -- Sapa

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Sunday Times (SA)

Late flurry fails to move cup from Zim

LONDON - A late flurry of British political pressure failed to persuade the
International Cricket Council to move World Cup games out of Zimbabwe.

Several lawmakers have written a letter to ICC president Malcolm Speed
saying it would be "repugnant" for England to play its February 13 game in

Lord Hoyle, a life peer in the House of Lords, said the games could send out
a dangerous message that the regime of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was
being endorsed.

"We respond to all letters as a matter of courtesy and we will do so with
the letter received from Lord Hoyle," ICC spokesman Brendan McClements said.

"But there will be no change in our position."

Lord Hoyle is head of the 17 member all-party parliamentary cricket group
that wrote to Speed.

He said the ICC should also reschedule the games involving Australia, India,
Pakistan, Namibia and the Netherlands.

"The unanimous conclusion of those present was that, even at this late hour,
we should urge the ICC to reschedule elsewhere the matches due to be played
in Zimbabwe," he wrote.

The England Cricket Board decided on Tuesday to go ahead with the match
against the wishes of the British government.

Lord Hoyle said that group members were concerned about the message sent out
if cricket was played in Zimbabwe.

"Mugabe operates a brutal regime and members of the group feel it is
inappropriate for World Cup matches to be held there," he said.

"I have asked (Speed) if he will meet a small delegation of members to
discuss this matter further.

"It is not too late to take action which will deal with the problem of
holding fixtures in Zimbabwe and I hope that efforts are made to rearrange
fixtures which allow us then to concentrate on cricket as opposed to
politics during the forthcoming World Cup."

The World Cup runs from February 9 to March 23, with the bulk of the
tournament held in South Africa.

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      Register-citizen, Connecticut

      Anthrax scare

            BLAINE M. SERVEN SR, Register Citizen Staff January 18, 2003

      CORNWALL -- State Police Troop B is investigating the nature of a
powdery substance found on an envelope Monday by a Cornwall resident. The
letter, sent from Zimbabwe, was not expected and was without a return
      The victim of the incident, whose name was not provided by police,
said the white powdery substance was under the back fold of the envelope on
the glue portion and was "suspiciously noticeable." Since she did not know
what to expect, or whom the letter was from, she called state police.

      After removing the envelope from her mailbox, which state police do
not recommend, the Cornwall resident said she bagged it in a sealable baggie
and waited for state police to arrive and take the envelope.

      "It really gave us a fright, it was so noticeable and we didn't know
who it was from," the Cornwall resident said.

      State police said the nature of the white residue on the envelope has
yet to be determined, but officials at the state crime lab do not believe it
contained anthrax or any other biological hazard. The envelope did not
include a threatening letter or suggest any intended harm to the Cornwall
residents, according to state police.

      "The resident thought there could possibly be something harmful on the
letter, they were uncertain about its nature because there wasn't a return
address and it was postmarked from Zimbabwe," Troop B Master Sergeant Edwin
Henion said.

      According to Henion, the trooper is investigating the origins of the
letter through the United State Postal Service.

      Taking precautions, not handling the envelope, and calling the state
police is recommended if anyone comes into contact with a suspicious white

      Since Sept. 11, 2001, Connecticut State Police were initially
overwhelmed with calls of suspicious white powders and the resources of the
Emergency Services Unit were scaled back as a protocol was established in
trooper barracks statewide. Henion said Troop B has responded to two calls
recently, which included the Cornwall incident Monday.

      Troopers responding to a call which may involve hazardous materials
take personal protective precautions before handling any items, then they
bag the envelope and spray the baggie with a bleach solution before
transporting it to a state police crime. Since Sept. 11, 2001, state police
crime labs have seen hundreds of suspicious envelopes that have not
contained biological hazards.

      North Canaan's town hall also had a recent scare when a white powder
appeared inside an envelope sent to the tax collectors office. According to
North Canaan Resident Trooper Bob Janko, the sender's name was on the
envelope and he was later contacted by state police. It was determined later
that the incident was accidental.

      "It appeared to be the result of a diet pill falling off a shelf into
the envelope or being left in the envelope used to hold the pills. It must
have been crushed as it traveled through the postal system," Janko said.

      Both incidents are still under investigation by the troop and state
police crime labs are determining the nature of the white powder residues
found in both envelopes, ensuring neither contained any types of hazards.

      "Neither incident is considered to have been a biological agent used,
at this point," Henion said. "Considering what is and isn't threatening
should be left up to the state police. Don't handle anything suspicious, and
if you have, wash your hands with bleach and water solution."
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From Business Tribune, 16 January

Mugabe exit.Gen Zvinavashe speaks out . . .

Business Tribune Reporter

Harare - Retired Zimbabwe National Army Colonel Lionel Dyke last night
confirmed he had met Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai "to sound him out on a peaceful change of government" but denied
he had done so on behalf of Zanu PF. "I am a Zimbabwean and it is in this
capacity that I approached the MDC leader to sound him on the peaceful
change of government. I was not sent by Zvinavashe or (Emmerson) Mnangagwa
to meet Tsvangirai. I went on my own to discuss with him on his views on a
peaceful change of government," said Dyke, who now runs an outfit that
uproots land mines in war zones, from Angola to Kosovo. Dyke was commenting
for the first time on the international furore that arose after an
announcement by Tsvangirai that Zanu PF had approached him with a package
for retiring President Mugabe from office before his term ends in 2006. "It
was only after I had met Tsvangirai in December that I went to see General
Zvinavashe, not in his professional capacity but as a former colleague.
Remember I am a retired soldier." He denied making any contacts with British
politicians after his meetings. Meanwhile, head of Zimbabwe's armed forces
General Vitalis Zvinavashe has denied involvement in a conspiracy to oust
Mugabe from office saying only the electorate had the constitutional power
to do so. Zvinavashe, a four-star general and hero of the 1970s liberation
war, told the Business Tribune this week that claims by the MDC that he was
part of a Zanu PF team negotiating Mugabe's peaceful exit from power were
"totally false". The general, who rarely gives interviews to journalists,
said he and his officers had made it clear prior to the March 2002
presidential elections - exactly a year ago - that no soldier under his
command would salute anyone who never fought or participated in Zimbabwe's
war of liberation. Tsvangirai, the only man to garner more than one million
votes against Mugabe, did not fight in Zimbabwe's war.

"Nothing has changed . our stance remains the same up to this day,"
Zvinavashe told this newspaper. They (MDC) together with the British and the
Americans demonised me when I made that statement. So what has changed . am
I a good guy now?" he asked. On January 9 last year, two months before the
Presidential plebiscite, Zvinavashe, flanked by commanders of the army, air
force, police, secret service and prisons declared to the nation: "We wish
to make it very clear to all Zimbabwean citizens that the security
organisations will only stand in support of those political leaders that
will pursue Zimbabwean values, traditions and beliefs for which thousands of
lives were lost, in pursuit of Zimbabwe's hard-won independence,
sovereignty, territorial integrity and national interests. Let it be known
that the highest office in the land is a 'straightjacket' whose occupant is
expected to observe the objectives of the liberation struggle. We (the
military) will, therefore, not accept, let alone support or salute, anyone
with a different agenda that threatens the very existence of our
sovereignty, our country and our people." The entire Zimbabwean military is
commanded by former war veterans.

Zvinavashe believes the reports linking him and Parliamentary Speaker
Emmerson Mnangagwa to an alleged scheme to force Mugabe to retire were as a
result of the British's propaganda machinery at work. In a story that
received worldwide publicity, Tsvangirai named in a BBC interview Mnangagwa
and Zvinavashe, as the initiators of an alleged scheme that is aimed at
paving Mugabe's smooth exit from power. But both Mnangagwa and Zvinavashe
have since denied talking to the MDC or that they were involved in such a
plot. The MDC leader said the mediator in the alleged plot was Col Dyke,
former commander of the now disbanded 6th Brigade. This week Zvinavashe said
as a soldier he supported the Constitution of Zimbabwe and would not be part
of a clandestine operation that deviated from the laws of the land. His
mandate as armed forces chief, he said, was to uphold the rule of law and to
ensure that the territorial boundaries of Zimbabwe were protected.
Zvinavashe said Mugabe would finish his term as prescribed by the Zimbabwe
Constitution and said only the ballot was the final arbiter. "I will support
what is right and I will never support anything that is wrong," the general

About four months ago, the MDC leader hired journalist William Bango to
carry out a specific task of arranging a face-to-face meeting between Mugabe
and Tsvangirai. Sources told this newspaper Bango had, over the past few
months, worked overtime frantically trying to meet influential people in
Zanu PF and those outside including church leaders appealing to them to
persuade Mugabe to meet Tsvangirai. Bango, has however, failed to meet both
Mnangagwa and Zvinavashe to present Tsvangirai's proposal. In a wide-ranging
discussion this week, Zvinavashe said he was aware that the country was in
an economic crisis but that it was the duty of politicians to provide
solutions. In times of crisis, he said, the military was always ready to
assist if given the mandate to do so. Since last year, military officers
were attached to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) to supervise the
procurement and movement of maize grain into the country. Zvinavashe thinks
that in order to get out the current crisis, a national task force involving
all arms of government, and not necessarily cabinet ministers, should be set
up urgently to deal with what he sees as an "emergency" situation. The
proposed task force would operate under the direct supervision of President
Mugabe, report to him directly and have powers to make substantive decisions
that will not be overturned by civil servants or cabinet ministers. "First,
we must admit there is a crisis. Everyone can see that . so we must do
something about it," he said. "It is important for the nation to be told
that we are facing an economic crisis and that the people should brace for
it. In my view it is not right to keep quiet and let nature take its
course." Zimbabwe is currently facing a major economic crisis ranging from
the shortage of food, fuel couple by high prices of all goods and services.
The foreign currency coffers are also empty and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
is incapable of providing any solution.

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'ICC to blame for terror'
18/01/2003 15:45  - (SA)
Harare - Zimbabwe's main opposition party linked a police crackdown on its
members to the forthcoming Cricket World Cup and said the tournament's
organisers must accept blame after allowing the country to host some

The International Cricket Council (ICC) ruled last month that it was safe to
play World Cup matches in Zimbabwe after a visit to monitor the security
situation in the light of the economic and political crisis gripping the

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has condemned
both the ICC ruling and the England cricket board decision this week to play
its Zimbabwe fixture in defiance of pressure from the British government to
boycott the match.

Zimbabweans subject to daily terror

President Robert Mugabe has attracted international condemnation over his
seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks, and his
victory in 2002 presidential elections condemned as fraudulent by the MDC
and several Western powers.

"It's a shame that there are people out there that believe Zimbabwe is a
safe country in which to play World Cup Cricket while ordinary and peace
loving Zimbabweans are subjected to daily terror and starvation by a regime
which must surely rank as the worst ever to run an Africa country," MDC
secretary-general Welshman Ncube said on Friday.

"The World Cup authorities must know that they bear the responsibility for
the current terrorisation of Zimbabweans by the Mugabe regime in a last
ditch effort to silence its critics before the start of the World Cup
cricket games," Ncube said in a statement.

Police have accused the MDC of planning to cause civil unrest ahead of World
Cup Cricket matches scheduled to be played in Zimbabwe next month in order
to force a change of venue. The opposition has dismissed the charge.
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Cricket crisis takes the heat off Mugabe

      January 17 2003 at 08:15PM

By Alistair Thomson

To play or not to play?

That is the question English cricket chiefs had to face ahead of next
month's World Cup match in Zimbabwe, but the real poser is how the world
should deal with President Robert Mugabe as his country slides into economic
and political chaos.

The furore in London, where the opposition Conservatives have traded insults
with Tony Blair's government over Zimbabwe, has only been exceeded by the
increasingly vitriolic debate in South Africa over how to treat its wayward

South Africa's government has long espoused quiet, behind-the-scenes
discussions to encourage reform. But with economic refugees flooding across
the border and famine threatening half the 14 million people of the region's
former breadbasket, the chorus of disapproval is growing.

"He's a war criminal and should be treated as such," one caller to a South
African radio show said of Mugabe.

"He should be had up for murder and the ruin of his country," said another.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) defied pressure from the Blair
government and placard-wielding anti-Mugabe protesters on Tuesday and said
it would play in Zimbabwe. The Australian Cricket Board had already
indicated it would play despite Mugabe's branding of its people as former

ECB chief Tim Lamb accused the government of using sport for political ends
against a country where British firms still trade and with which Britain
maintains diplomatic relations.

"There are so many more meaningful ways in which the British government, the
Commonwealth and the international community could express its displeasure
at what is happening in Zimbabwe," Lamb said.

Zimbabwe has split the Commonwealth on loosely racial lines when it comes to
cricket: England and Australia came under heavy government pressure to
boycott their matches but there was barely a comment about planned matches
by Commonwealth allies India and Namibia.

In South Africa, the main World Cup host, the outcry over the crisis in
Zimbabwe has intensified ahead of the tournament.

"No games should be played in Zimbabwe, as they will be viewed as a vote of
support for the Mugabe regime," said the Democratic Alliance. "It will also
shore up Mr Mugabe in much the same way as the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin
were used to build Adolf Hitler's profile."

Despite rumours of a plan to ease Mugabe into voluntary exile, President
Thabo Mbeki's opponents say quiet diplomacy has not worked and South Africa
cannot stand by while its neighbour slips into ruin, threatening its own
economy in turn.

Critics point to the international sporting ban which contributed to ending
South Africa's racist apartheid rule in 1994, but Mbeki's ministers say the
situation is different - especially after Britain welcomed Zimbabwean
athletes at last year's Commonwealth Games.

Nevertheless, England's footballers this week turned down an invitation to
Zimbabwe, deeming it "inappropriate" and perhaps mindful of the no-win
situation of their cricketing compatriots.

Millions of people face starvation across southern Africa due to drought,
but Mugabe is blamed for making the problem worse in Zimbabwe through
mismanagement, in particular by his seizure of white-owned land to hand to
landless blacks.

Mugabe says that is why Britain is waging a campaign against him and backing
his main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), in a bid to
force him from power.

Police accused the MDC on Tuesday of plotting violent protests to disrupt
the World Cup matches to be played in Harare, a charge dismissed by the MDC.

But Harare's MDC mayor, detained by police at the weekend, has said the
matches should not go ahead due to safety fears.

"How can I stand up and guarantee the safety of these visitors? I can't," he
told the Star.

Well founded or not, such fears may play into the hands of would-be
boycotters by calling into doubt the International Cricket Council's
December decision that Zimbabwe was a safe venue for matches. Officials are
monitoring security daily.

That would at least remove any threat of England captain Nasser Hussain
being confronted with a hand-shaking Mugabe on the outfield, a danger which
has preoccupied the British media.

But it would not answer the wider question of whether the world can deal
with Mugabe, or should isolate his country to induce a crisis which might
force him from power.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan spoke out on Tuesday in favour
of co-operation, but even he accepted mismanagement was partly to blame for
Zimbabwe's woes.

"The challenge now is for all Zimbabweans to work together, and with each
other, and with the international community, to find solutions before it is
too late," he said.
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